Sage is leading its VARs on an assault into the vertical sectors to win customers that are cash-strapped and saturated with general-purpose business software.
It plans to double the number of vertical specialists in its channel by pumping more money into channel development.
The software giant also plans to swallow more vertical software houses, following last week's acquisition of George Stamford Ltd, which gave it an electronic point-of-sale software arm and a deeper offering in the retail sector.
Paul Stobart, managing director of Sage UK, said one-fifth of its 500 core UK VARs are vertical specialists. "I hope another 100 of those will come on board over the next couple of years," he said.
Having completed its vertical expansion into manufacturing, construction and retail, Stobart said Sage's next acquisitions will be in distribution, services and the public sector.
Sage's vertical strategy was reinforced by the latest economic indicators from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has given further evidence of a tough business climate and signified the need for IT suppliers to tailor their offerings for different vertical sectors.
Paul Robinson, marketing manager at manufacturing software specialist Cincom, said: "We're seeing more verticalisation because firms want to buy from people who know their sector."
The CBI revealed that manufacturers cut investments because a year of high input costs left them short of cash and worried.
Other recent CBI surveys have shown that IT spending in financial services is at its lowest point for 12 years, and that retailers are feeling pessimistic.
On the up side, the consumer and professional services sectors both intend to increase spending on IT over the next 12 months.
Telco also announced series of initiatives to drive digital growth in the UK
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