Access Distribution is partnering with Vignette Corp. in a deal to add the software company’s portal and collaboration solutions to its portfolio of enterprise application software products.

However, only a limited number of Canadian VARs will be allowed to carry the line.

According

to Grant Hunter, vice-president of Access’s enterprise solutions group, the company will target eight to 10 of its resellers in Canadian metropolitan areas in an effort to drive the business. Access, a division of General Electric, has approximately 100 reseller partners in Canada and a total of 750 in North America.

“”We are going to focus on quality of VARs versus quantity of VARs,” he said. “We’re going to find the right people who understand the value of professional services and delivering a solution.”

The company said the deal is a response to increased demand from its VARs to provide enterprise-class content management applications, in addition to document and records management apps. Access also plans to offer service, education, and maintenance programs to resellers as part of the distribution relationship with Vignette.

Vignette, which specializes in content management and collaboration applications, is based in Austin, Texas.

“One of the strategies that Access has gone to market with is going into the application software space. What that does is sort of create more of a focus on the professional services side of the business,” Hunter said. “The margins VARs make on hardware or even the margins they’ll make on software don’t really compare to the margins they can make on the services side by running their businesses properly.”

Hunter added that margins will very from VAR to VAR, adding that if resellers manage properly they can expect at least 35 per cent on a growth-margin basis, but only if they are a gold or platinum partner with a hardware distributor.

The distribution deal between Access and Vignette revolves around the companies’ shared relationship with Sun Microsystems. Access is Sun’slargest North American channel development provider, supporting 70 per cent of Sun’s channel partner revenue. Vignette and Sun have strong customer adoption with joint solutions such as Sun’s Reference Architecture for Portal Infrastructure. In addition, there is strong integration between Sun’s newstorage solutions — based on compliance and content — and Vignette’s Records & Documents product.

This deal will benefit resellers in the marketplace, according to Mark Belles, Vignette’s vice president of strategic development and business alliances.

“As you look at this whole space of information delivery and information management starting to converge, you’ve seen collaborations becomemuch more intertwined into portal opportunity and even document and records opportunities,” he explained.

“So we really feel like collaboration is a fantastic lead for a number of these (resellers) and given the reference architecture that Sun has published . . . will be very appealing to a number of the VARs, and ultimately a number of the prospects,” added Belles.

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