Sage resellers could be left out in the cold if they fail to qualify for the company's new UK accreditation programme.
All 1,500 Sage channel partners will be required to take accreditation tests if they wish to continue selling Sage products.
Should any reseller fail the tests, they will no longer be able to sell Sage software, said Nigel Hudson, managing director of Sage's New Business Division. The tests will apply to all Sage products from Sage Line 50 upwards.
The programme will start next month and will apply to all resellers, regardless of size.
"We are not having different levels of accreditation for our partners; either they are good enough or they are not. Only resellers with the new Sage Solution Centre branding will be eligible to sell Sage software," Hudson said.
Resellers will sit the tests, which are being subsidised by Sage, on their own premises. Each VAR will be required to bring sales and technical staff up to a certain level of competence, he added.
"Our resellers have been crying out for this for some time. All it takes is one bad installation to ruin our reputation. Once the accreditation programme has been completed, this won't be an issue."
Mark Joynson, joint managing director of Sage reseller Joynson, welcomed the initiative.
"This is a breath of fresh air and will certainly root out all the chaff," he said. "It will mean that customers will deal with channel partners who are able to consistently provide the right skills and support for all Sage products."
Analysts are also in favour of the move. "It is very much needed," said Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst firm Quocirca. "One thousand five hundred resellers are far too many for one vendor, and there are too many that cannot provide the right support for customers," he said.
Longbottom added that Sage should consider some kind of tiered system to ensure all aspects of implementation are covered, rather than just one blanket certification level.
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