25 February 2015 | 0
It’s interesting to find an example of how the relationship between a vendor and partner can change virtually overnight. Peter Bergin, managing director of Envisage Cloud, knows exactly what that feels like.
Bergin was previously a director at ADP Business Solutions which merged with Advent Processing Solutions, a much larger Sage partner than his own company, to form Envisage Cloud.
At his previous company, there was very little engagement with Sage, as much through choice as anything else. “When I ran ADP Business Solutions, we were a small partner in Sage’s world. The relationship ran along quite happily in the background and we engaged with Sage when we had to. That worked for us,” Bergin says.
Things changed dramatically with the formation of Envisage Cloud which is now Sage’s biggest partner in Ireland with a turnover of €2 million and 20 employees. “It’s hugely different,” Bergin remarks. “We have access to the executive team in the UK and in Dublin, to the business development team, the account team and the marketing team.”
The company is also getting a level of insight into Sage’s strategy and being given much more assistance at a marketing level by the vendor. “The current level of engagement is working better for us now,” Bergin comments. “Having had the benefit of six months engagement at this level, I think it would have been very useful in our earlier days.”
There is a different dynamic to the relationship too. “We depend a bit more on each other,” Bergin observes. “Before, we were very much independent of each other. It’s certainly focused Sage’s attention a bit more on us.”
As a company, Envisage Cloud has been able to have more engagement with larger customers and to compete for bigger business than the two partners it emerged from, Bergin says: “Separately, we would have missed out on opportunities with bigger customers.”
In addition to going from a small partner to Sage’s biggest, the company has also gone through a rebranding to position itself as a cloud partner for the vendor, which Bergin admits was “a challenge”.
If nothing else, the changes in the relationship between Envisage Cloud and Sage demonstrate the flexibility in the dynamics between vendor and channel partner that allows either party to move up and down the scale when circumstances dictate. Of course, it’s bound to be a more positive experience if the partner is going up the scale rather than down.