Consona, Compiere, and VARs
Consona recently acquired open-source ERP provider Compiere (press release). This post will examine the merger from the perspective of ERP VARs (value added resellers).
What’s Missing – the Value Added Reseller
As an open-source company, Compiere was predisposed to work with the community including value added resellers that could profit from configuring ERP to customer needs. Consona, on the other hand, has a “services” menu on it’s web-page menu instead of a “partner” menu.
It will be interesting to see how the transition from a community of partners to a single partner unfolds. The press release did not mention how existing partners would fit into the Consona plan.
VARs do not work for Free
Today’s vendors are scrambling to enroll value added resellers. The fact that Compiere was not able to obtain a large number of paying customers may have had to do with its partner channel. While many customers were willing to download the solution (company boasts millions of downloads), few (130 customers) actually pay for it.
For VARs who receive income by receiving discounts on vendor software, Compiere offered little incentive. If VARs are operating on thin margins, they will certainly not expend the time and effort to adopt and sell a product which can be downloaded for free.
With complex software such as ERP, VARs provide business process expertise as well as accounting and industry specific expertise. Without VARs, many small and medium sized business customers probably struggled to implement the software to match their business processes. Mid-sized and larger customers that could afford consultants were probably aligned with VARs that offered other solutions.
Certainly VARs were not the only factor in the lack of Compiere customers. Other authors have already written on the topic – including providing a good history, perspective, and other theories.