Infor Begins North American VAR Recruitment Drive
January 6, 2009 Alex Woodie
Infor, the kingpin of the AS/400 ERP software industry, recently put out the word that it’s looking to expand its channel of value added resellers (VARs) on the North American continent. That’s good news for VARs looking to expand their business coverage during uncertain economic times.
Since Infor acquired SSA Global in 2006, it has become the biggest provider of i OS-based ERP software on the planet, by a good margin. The Alpharetta, Georgia, software company owns ERP products that are well-known in the System i industry, like MAPICS, BPCS, PRMS, System 21, Infinium, PRISM, and daly.commerce (which mostly go by different names now), as well as successful ERP products that run on open-systems platforms, like Baan, Syteline, Optiva, Epiphany, and Visual ERP.
Supporting Infor and its amalgamation of products is a community of 1,400 VARs around the world that market and sell Infor software, conduct installations, and provide ongoing maintenance. That number has grown tremendously over the last two years, when Infor reported just 500 channel partners, which drove about 20 percent of its $2.1 billion in annual sales.
Ironically, at that time, Infor was looking to cull its channel by mandating that the partners only sell Infor products. Partners that insisted on selling products that competed with Infor would be dropped from the program, and would no longer be allowed to sell Infor products. The approach was seen as a way to prevent the watering down of the Infor message, and boosting competition among the remaining VARs.
It’s unknown whether Infor is continuing that requirement for exclusivity with the new VAR drive. The company did not have an answer to the question by the time this story went to press.
VARs that participate in the Infor channel gain access to various resources, including marketing collateral, marketing funds, a Web portal for partners, a monthly newsletter, Web seminars, free admission to the Infor university, the annual channel partner summit, and access to discounted or free Infor software. Additionally, each VAR gets a dedicated channel manager from Infor.
The ideal VAR, according to Mike Gadow, vice president of channels for Infor, possesses “deep industry knowledge coupled with expert implementation technique. The company is looking for VARs that specialize in the manufacturing and distribution industries. The new North American VAR drive comes on the heels of similar VAR drives in EMEA and South America over the last year.
Infor says it’s the third-largest business software company in the world, a claim that would put it behind Oracle and SAP. (IBM probably sells more software, but it doesn’t call itself a software company, while Microsoft–which has a strong and growing ERP business–is still widely considered to be a consumer-products company.)