ISVs Help To Bridge The Platform Gap


So, to get its product into the hands of users and generate revenue for both itself and its partners, Progress Software, maker of application infrastructure software for business applications, relies on partners like Adaco Services, a Williamsville, N.Y.-based ISV that designs IT products for the hospitality industry.

Adaco made the decision to develop its Eclipse, Emporium and Work Order System products on Progress' platform when the ISV was founded in 1985 and has continued to evolve its products—through 11 versions over the years—hand-in-hand with Progress.

Adaco's products serve as ERP systems for hotels and hotel-based restaurants and retailers. Its flagship Eclipse product manages supply chains for hotels, and Emporium is used in hotel gift shops. Hotel chains like Sheraton and Marriot International use the software, as does Cornell University in its curriculum at its school for restaurant and hotel management.

"We originally chose Progress 21 years ago when we started developing the product, and we've continued with it and grown up with it," said Mark Pinsley, president and CEO of Adaco. The software products have evolved together from a character-based system to a visual one.

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The stability of Progress' database is a plus for Pinsley.

"If you think about the hotel world, you have different clients—you have the Starwood Hotels, which is a huge chain, and then you have the mom-and-pop hotel. The mom-and-pop hotel doesn't have a database administrator in the office and a technology staff. You don't want to be on the phone all the time fixing database problems," he said. "The installation is easy. It's easy to maintain. We just don't get many calls about the database going down. Typically, we get calls about user application problems."

The speed with which Adaco's developers can create applications on Progress also is an advantage.

"You can truly develop faster than your competitors. Microsoft is a great solution no doubt about it, but Progress' tools are fourth-generation tools. The client/server solution can definitely be built faster than a Web solution today," Pinsley said. "You've got to be able to stay ahead of the competition. That, to me, is a critical element. [Progress is] fast to program in and easy to get people up and running on."

On the downside, Progress isn't as widely known as Microsoft, for example, and Pinsley said that Adaco would benefit from additional marketing on the part of Progress. Hotel chains that do have database administrators are slow to accept Progress, but after evaluating the product, customers have no problems managing the Progress environment, he said.

"We have never lost a deal because of it, but I'd like to see [Progress] increase their marketing effort. They're not the underdog, but it's something along that line. Microsoft is such a presence out there that they need to get out above that noise," Pinsley said. "[Sometimes] I have to sell my product, and I have to sell their product."

However, underdog status hasn't kept Adaco from continuing to use Progress. Two years ago, the company evaluated its options and decided to stick with its platform. While its had its ups and downs, the partnership between Adaco and Progress is going strong, Pinsley said.

"Our technology is based on them, so every day they're helping us make money," he said.