Unified 'Under the Hood'
ACCPAC taps VAR partners to deliver eCRM solutions.
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Although known as one of the largest midmarket accounting vendors, ACCPAC International is expanding its focus to business management software, including CRM. ACCPAC may not appear high on analysts' CRM market share lists, but with 5,000 solution-provider partners worldwide, the company is quietly gaining ground on its CRM competitors.

ACCPAC has already certified 63 eCRM consulting organizations on its ACCPAC eCRM solution. And there are more at the door. "There's a waiting list to get on our Webinars to show resellers what's under the hood," says David Hood, ACCPAC's CEO.

Partnering with a large number of solutions providers typically has been considered taboo in the CRM industry. However, Hood says, they are a natural fit for ACCPAC's midmarket customers. "If you deal with Fortune 500 companies, you don't understand the channel. It's a psychological issue," Hood says. "If your system is extremely complex and not easy to use, like a Rolls-Royce with three different engines, then maybe you're not in too great a position to train hundreds of partners. If you have a system like that, you're only going to get your channel partners mad at you."

For ACCPAC and its partners, there's beauty in simplicity. "Our products are not a hodgepodge. They are unified," he says.

But to accomplish that unified approach, ACCPAC needed some outside help. "We did not create ACCPAC eCRM in-house," Hood says. "Since we didn't have the expertise or the resources to start it from scratch, we had someone else develop it." ACCPAC eCRM also includes self-service and global deployment features.

"We looked at Siebel, Pivotal, and Onyx, but they had taken the approach of being a contact manager to sales force automation. The user experience wasn't the same," Hood says. After kicking some tires, ACCPAC turned to eWare, a Dublin-based vendor of an Internet and mobile-enabled product that was being used in-house by Computer Associates International(CA).

CA licensed eWare's modules to integrate them into its business analytics and predictive customer intelligence technologies for its own customer base, Hood says. His development team "fell in love" with eWare's technology, which is based on JavaScript and Delphi and runs inside a Web browser over a mobile device.

ACCPAC's eCRM solution integrates with its existing customers' accounting systems. But ACCPAC has not yet tapped into its own database of 65,000 accounting customers, which Hood considers "low hanging fruit."

"Before we go out to our trusted customers we want to make sure all of the glitches are gone. We're going out to our entire install-base with a call to action to show them how it works," Hood says. "If you want sales force automation, we've got it. It works with your accounting system."

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