VAR 2013

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With respect to the installed base orphan market I think we will see partners stop one-off consulting and quotes unless the orphan is on a support plan with the partner and has gone through a pre-paid review process.

There are far too many orphans who are marginal/poor quality and it is not profitable to chase them for one-off work that requires 4-6 hours to quote, 4-6 hours to project manage and then 25% (or worse) chances of “winning” the work.

Increasingly the orphans that I’ve seen are on outdated (unsupported) versions of ERP software, have no real idea what they’re running and often have one more quotes that they ask you to bid against. In some cases the orphans have even provided the competing quote detailed work plan.

There are always going to be sole proprietor consultants working from home who offer one-off consulting at hourly rates that are no higher than what they charged in 1986. Don’t base your business on the poor practices of other consultants unless you want to wind up like them.

Orphans on versions outside of the Sage support window should also be subject to a higher fee schedule.

Never be lulled into thinking that an orphaned user who “found you in Google” is going to become a loyal paying customer for years to come. Most pure “Google Search” inquiries are from users opposed to paying for support, maintenance, consulting or quotes. Ask yourself – what opportunity do these types of inquiries offer? Answer: Generally none.

There needs to be a greater willingness on the part of all VARS to walk away from low quality prospects. There’s always going to be a VAR in this market who will think these types of rules don’t apply to them — I say enjoy making $40/net an hour pursuing low quality and extremely  non-loyal orphan work.


TL;DR: If an existing user of Sage (or any) software won’t pay to go on a recurring annual support plan with your company – walk away.

Wayne Schulz is a consultant who writes about the ERP industry and technology related news.

Sleeter Group Turns Up The Heat With Summer Small Business Technology Roadshow

The Sleeter Group, a national  provider of technical reference materials, software expertise, and QuickBooks training materials for accounting solutions consultants, is hitting the road this summer for a 9 city tour kicking off on July 17, 2012 in Tampa FL and ending 8/2/12 in San Francisco CA.

Continue reading “Sleeter Group Turns Up The Heat With Summer Small Business Technology Roadshow”

How’s Business For You?

Periodically I like to check with my 90Minds group to see how their business activity is going. I find that if I ask people who I don’t know well that I’m usually met with dull platitudes like “it’s great”.

Then the next year I can’t find the people at the Sage conference. Shortly after I usually hear that they’ve either sold their business or merged.

So I pretty much have stopped asking “hows business” to  people who I don’t know well. But I’m still pretty open to providing my feedback on the market. Below is my observation from the past six to nine months.

We are seeing great results from fixed pricing. Clients and orphans seem to have put off upgrades — some as long as 10 – 12 years — and are now looking to upgrade in conjunction with new Window 7 workstations, etc. If you haven’t picked up on fixed pricing – and you’re a Sage partner – sit in on Ed Kless’s group sessions.

Attend the classes like I did. Make fun of the concepts (like I did). Then implement them. You’ll be glad you did.


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The Sad Depressing State Of ERP Prospects

Click the image at left for a full sized version of an email that I just received not 10 minutes ago.  Here’s another from July 1, 2010 where the sender was kind enough to leave in the names of all the consultants that were emailed the RFP (Tip: Never think you’re the only one).

It illustrates part of that’s wrong with the ERP marketplace.

Don’t misunderstand me – it’s not that I think it’s wrong for a prospect to send around this email.

What saddens me is that the prospect likely has at least in part mis-diagnosed their needs —  and probably will receive two or three sight unseen quotes from other VARS.

Be Where The Ball Will Travel – Not Where It Is Now

As a group ERP consultants and Value Added Resellers (VARS)  flock around the same tired concepts. They tend to have one method of billing, one method of providing support, one method of marketing services.

Change doesn’t come easy to the group.

The problem is that the demographic of clients is changing – even when the VAR community struggles to keep old outdated practices in play. Continue reading “Be Where The Ball Will Travel – Not Where It Is Now”