Avnet Partners With Microsoft


The solutions available to resellers will integrate EnterpriseOne software with Microsoft products including SQL Server 2005 and 2000, Microsoft Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. Avnet also plans to offer partner education, sales and marketing support, financing, managed services and implementation services. For more experienced resellers, Avnet will offer marketing, integration and financing support. For the ERP novice, the distributor will do more integration work to bring ERP to the solution provider's customer base.

"It's just a natural evolution of the value model we have on behalf of our partners and helping to make everything more simplified and to give them choices that are consistent and reliable and that they can feel good about," said Scott Abbott, vice president, enterprise applications, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. "What's nice is that our reseller partners, both the ones that are currently reselling JD Edwards [and new ones], is that they have a more specific solution thanks to the Microsoft partnership we're bringing about," he said.

Microsoft has been an Avnet partner for about five years, while Oracle's acquisitions of business application software makers, such as JD Edwards, have given Oracle a number of customers with Windows environments.

"On the relationship we had with Microsoft before, this is a natural and nice evolution," Abbott said. "This is really what I call a more formal initiative to bundle the Microsoft platform with the JD Edwards application, and then we'll fit them to the reseller and end-user technology."

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Tony Brackett, president of The iConsortium, a JD Edwards EnterpriseOne solution provider in New Boston, N.H., said the deal makes a lot of sense. Midmarket customers who come looking for Oracle's ERP software are typically running Windows platforms in their computing environments.

If they aren't, iConsortium usually recommends migrating their databases to SQL Server, he said.

"[The customers] realized that their internal skill sets are better suited for SQL because so much of their business is running on it," Brackett said. "For us this is fantastic, not so much for opportunities to implement, [but it] gives us six more items on our menu list for the customer to take advantage of. It's what we've been looking for in that sense."

The agreement with Microsoft comes about a year after Avnet began offering JD Edwards EnterpriseOne to its customers.

"When we decided to go into business together we knew it would take us a few months to really button things up," said Avnet's Abbot. "ERP is a hard sale. It takes time. We're not kidding anybody. It's the most important decision that any enterprise makes, SMB or not."