Hightower Principals Back In Business

Looks as if the former Hightower Inc principals  are reforming under a new company name – erpdevelopers.net.

Just moments ago I received an email (scroll down for the full copy) advertising this new entity with indicates that they are a “Chicago based Master Developer for Sage Software’s MAS 90 and MAS 200 ERP Solutions”.

Rob Nordin , formerly the President of now defunct Chicago IL based Hightower Inc and Jeff Rosengarden, formerly the CEO of the same firm , are both listed on the email as contacts for this new entity.

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Block Heads

Someone in my 90 Minds group  pointed out the irony of this update announcing the release of the former Hightower Inc Sage 100 ERP enhancement for Professional Retainer Control.

As you may know, Chicago IL Hightower Inc, once a top Sage partner, closed suddenly in March 2012. Their enhancements and customers were  acquired and are now developed by Sage partner SWK Inc.

There’s something a little ironic about a portion of the notice just sent to the channel.

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Hourly Pay As You Go Firms: Meet The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come

If you are a Sage partner and you are still clinging to hourly billing and “pay as you go” – then meet the “Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come”.

What does the Ghost see? Go review the fire sale price that leading Sage partner Hightower Inc (apparently $3 Million revenues in 2011) commanded.

$350k plus $65k for delinquent IRS taxes. That’s the end result of 24 years of toiling to build a business.

The only price someone was willing to pay for 850 customers and 700 custom enhancement customers was a little over $200 each.

If this is not a wake up call and you start making plans today (assuming you have not already) to move off the billable pay-as-you-go business model — you should get out of the business while you still can.

Totally serious.

Hightower Inc Fire Sale

Hightower Inc. Sells for $410,005.96 in cash

After 24 years in business, leading Chicago IL Sage partner Hightower Inc. suddenly closed their doors in late March 2012.

The remains of the company appear to have been actively shopped with the winning bidder being Livingston NJ based  SWK / SilverSun Technologies.

Because SilverSun (corporate parent of SWK) is a public company we get to peek at the exact price a 24 year old one-time industry leading Sage partner such as Hightower Inc. fetches on the open market.

Based on the press release by SilverSun (the acquirer and corporate parent to Sage partner SWK) the 2011 Hightower revenues appear to have been about $ 3,000,000.

Other goodies disclosed in the purchase agreement?

How about an apparent IRS liability of $120, 011.92 (of which 1/2 seems to have been paid by SilverSun and 1/2 by Hightower Inc shareholders as part of the purchase agreement). Consulting agreement for shareholder Robert Nordin stipulating that he will consult for up to 8 hours a month at no cost (with his rate being $150 for excess hours).  Shareholder Jeffrey Rosengarden snagged a $1,850 monthly consulting agreement terminating in June 2015. The third shareholder, Brian Dunn, is not mentioned as receiving any consulting contract.

Full details follow.
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Hightower Inc. Post-mortem: 850 Sage customers, 700 Enhancement users

The obituary for Sage Partner Hightower Inc just appeared online in the form of a press release announcing the closing of a previously announced deal to purchase Hightower’s assets by New Jersey based SWK/SilverSun Technologies.

According to today’s press relase at the time of Hightower, Inc.’s death in March 2012 the company had:

..  approximately 870 additional Sage ERP customers, an impressive suite of proprietary enhancement software solutions (with approximately 700 users)..

As with most ugly deaths suspected to be largely self-inflicted, the cause of death was not disclosed.

Selling price will be out shortly in an anticipated 8-K filing by SilverSun which is public and has to disclose these types of things.

Full press release after the break.


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Hightower Inc Winding Down?

Lots of speculation over what has happened — and is happening — at ERP VAR Hightower Inc of Skokie IL.

It’s been almost a week since reports surfaced that employees were sent home with their belongings in a box and told to await further word. Everyone involved in the company – and what I presume are negotiations over what to do with customers and intellectual property – have been silent.

Unlike seasonal businesses such as landscapers and house painters – consulting is not usually one where you can lay off crews of employees for large gaps of time.

In the consulting world appearing to disband your business prior to having a deal for someone to take over servicing the customers doesn’t exactly put you in a power position for negotiating any potential sale or transfer.

I don’t expect the sounds of silence to continue much longer. Either Hightower is going to need to announce something or Sage likely will do it for them.

This report from Bob Scott last night indicates New York based Net@Work may have a deal for the customer base although nothing officially has been announced as of yet,

UPDATE: March 23, 2012  9:00AM ET – Hightower’s Blog Site has been updated to indicate that “Effective today, Friday March 23, 2012, SWK will be handling all HighTower client support, as well as supporting resellers of HighTower enhancements“.


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Hightower End Looming?

Sage Master VARS?

While browsing the Internet I came across this PRO Partner Program from Illinois Sage VAR Hightower Inc.

According to the brochure the PRO stands not for professional but for:


What’s interesting about this program is the terms of their PRO Partner Program (Profit, Resource & Opportunity) appear to create an easy environment for Sage partners to dodge the new certification requirements while still retaining a variable level of commission on both new product  and maintenance sales.

Other VARS have worked to consolidate smaller Sage partners though in most cases it appears that Sage have required the remote offices to toe the line with respect to continued certifications to ensure quality implementation and support.

In short my impression is that Sage have been discouraging the creation of buying pools or Master VARS which might be created for smaller VARS to combine their purchasing power and avoid any increasing tier or program requirements introduced by Sage.

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