Sage is to officially launch its channel training and accreditation programme this week. Resellers must complete the scheme if they are to continue selling Sage software.
A pilot scheme, launched almost a year ago (CRN, 3 December 2001), gave Sage a chance to get feedback from resellers before officially launching the programme, said Phil Gordon, channel director at the vendor.
Partners will be divided into two levels of accreditation: those qualified to sell all Sage products - to be known as Sage Solution Centres - and those specialising in just one product.
"If VARs want to continue being Sage partners they have to be accredited," said Gordon.
Sage will also concentrate more significantly on its top 200 UK resellers in future because they bring in the lion's share of channel revenue, Gordon said. He added that the channel is the core part of Sage's business.
However, with about 2,500 UK resellers, it is inevitable that some will cease selling Sage products. Some partners feel this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Angela Mackay, Sage business manager at Sage Solution Centre Joynson, said the accreditation will help qualified resellers stand out when vying for business.
"In the past there have been no regulations for installing Sage software, and it's not just a boxed product - it needs support and services around it. This means some resellers have given others a bad reputation by not installing it properly," she said.
Another VAR, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "A lot of small resellers sell Sage products only intermittently, and it is a good thing for them to have training and accreditation to ensure they do it properly."
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