Best-Case Scenario: ACCPAC Deal Could
Create Channel Powerhouse in SMB Arena
By Rochelle Garner- CRN Magazine
New York, NY, January 02, 2004 - When Best
Software absorbs the products and operations of Accpac International,
the combined company could become the product and channel powerhouse that
finally gives Microsoft some real competition in the small- and midsize-business
The prospect could mean a happy new year for solution providers from both
sides of the channel.
"We've been hoping this would happen,"
said Alex Solomon, co-president of Net@Work, a New York-based solution
provider that offers product lines from both Best and Accpac.
"Now Best can tell customers they can have hosted or not-hosted applications,"
Solomon said. "Database? You pick it. And you can pick the [operating
system]. This puts Best on an equal,if not better,footing than Microsoft."
The combined company will boast more than 13,600 solution providers, including
Accpac's worldwide network of 7,000 business partners.
Both Irvine, Calif.-based Best and Pleasanton, Calif.-based Accpac offer
business software aimed at SMB customers.
Best's portfolio includes stand-alone applications, such as its SalesLogix
CRM software, as well as its MAS 90, MAS 200 and MAS 500 back-office suites,
which include capabilities for accounting, inventory management and wholesale
Accpac's integrated, end-to-end product line includes applications for
accounting, CRM, human resources, warehouse management, manufacturing
and point of sale. Accpac's products run on either the Linux or Windows
operating systems, work with a variety of databases, such as Microsoft
SQL Server and IBM DB2, and can be delivered as hosted services over the
"I can tell you from my perspective, [the acquisition] is intriguing
primarily because of [Accpac's] hosting option," said Wesley Snow,
president and CEO of Ascendix Technologies, a Best solution provider based
While Accpac and Best deliver applications with similar capabilities,
such as CRM and accounting, the two companies claim to have "very
little" overlap in their products or their channel. Perhaps more
important for partners, the two product lines already appear to work well
together, solution providers say.
Solomon, for example, said he took on
Best's products because its high-end MAS 500 system provided an easy transition
for customers who had outgrown Accpac's Advantage software for the back
But some solution providers question the assertion that the companies'
different products don't cover the same territory.
"They claim there's no overlap in the products, but there really
is," said Manny Buigas, vice president of sales and marketing at
NextLevel Information Solutions, an Accpac reseller in Miami.
"It will be important for them to define early on how the two lines
are distinguished so they can attract the high-end resellers," Buigas
said. "I think the smaller resellers will be on the outside, looking
in with this sale. They're worried that the lines are too large for them
Buigas touches on what could be perhaps the biggest concern among Best
and Accpac partners: How will the smallest providers handle the expense
of hiring and training new staff?
On the day of the announcement, for example, Buigas said he had already
fielded two calls from small Accpac resellers broaching the subject of
being hired by NextLevel.
"It's an opportunity for us because our biggest challenge as business
owners is finding the skills we need for growth," Buigas said.
Added Solomon: "All of the smaller
dealers are calling us,some are nervous, and some are excited. I think
we will see consolidation in the dealer network now. You need size, you
need a critical mass of people and knowledge for this number of products."
Executives from Best and Accpac hope to calm any such fears within the
channel. "It's not like all 7,000 Accpac partners will pick up our
products," said Ron Verni, CEO of Best.
Added Accpac CEO David Hood: "Just as buying decisions are customer-driven,
the decision to take on additional products has to be the partner's decision.
The net is they have an expanded list of products they can offer."
Verni and Hood said they expect Accpac to operate as a separate business
unit within Best. Hood's role in the new company will be announced after
the acquisition is complete.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by
the end of February.
BEST'S PRODUCT LINEUP INCLUDES: