How To Succeed In Business Software


Ambitious solution providers are eyeing ERP, CRM and other business applications as areas for growing their business. Yet, hurdles such as lack of expertise and high training costs stand in their way. And when you throw Software-as-a-Service into the mix, solution providers are all over the map as to their plans for adding these on-demand apps to their offerings.
 
Those are some of the insights provided by the VARBusiness 2007 State of Technology Survey: Business Software, which provides a snapshot of the opportunities and challenges facing solution providers in the rapidly changing business applications market. The key question the survey addresses is this: How is business software evolving and what do solution providers need to know to be successful in this area?
 
For Eric Berridge, co-founder and principal of Bluewolf, a New York-based consulting company, the road to success in business software heads straight through on-demand apps. Working with Salesforce.com, Oracle and other vendors, Bluewolf provides a range of consulting and deployment services, including helping companies define their business processes and match them to on-premise and on-demand applications.
 
As on-demand technology alters the landscape for traditional VARs, Bluewolf is frequently seen as one of the new breed of solution providers that's breaking the old models. "We've never resold a nickel's worth of software," Berridge says. "I think more customers today expect [solution providers] to walk in the door with business knowledge rather than just providing them with another way to buy software."
 
Bluewolf and this new generation of solution providers now find that their core expertise is helping clients define their business processes and then getting business applications to match those processes, according to Berridge and Bluewolf co-founder Michael Kirven. That's made them evangelists for on-demand applications from such vendors as Salesforce.com and Google, which Berridge says require only 5 percent of the coding and technical work of on-premise software. The two have even written a book, due out later this year, on how they see the channel evolving, called "Iterate or Die: Keys to Success in 21st Century Consulting."

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