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Vendors, their suppliers and resellers can use Partner Relationship Management systems to track inventories, sales performance, marketing funds and incentives. The goal is to see how partners are performing and better allocate resources for them.

The market was pioneered by players like ChannelWave and Partnerware, many of which were bought or disappeared.'s new PartnerForce service has been in pilot for months and will be broadly available July 12, executives said.

The service requires use of's Enterprise or Unlimited Edition, and costs $1,500 per partner per year above those licensing costs. Each partner's license covers five partner employees. ( Enterprise Edition is $125 per user per month; Unlimited Edition is $195 per user per month)

Dean Darwin, vice president of channels for Seattle-based F5 Networks was an early adopter. Many of its partners already used the vendor's portal, which was then integrated into PartnerForce, he said.

"I wanted to create an entire cradle-to-grave system from the opportunity creation to deal close and after care. A seamless thread," he noted.

"Vendors want a consolidated view of their channel, and PRM is a route to that," said Kendall Collins, vice president of marketing for San Francisco-based

The company's infrastructure lets vendors manage different tiers of partners. "Gold partners get this level of benefits, silver this level," said Elay Cohen, another vice president

F5 was already a CRM customer, and decided to add the PRM capability, Darwin said.

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