In just a few months, Erply launched a partner program, which essentially brings the franchise business model into the lucrative world of ERP software suites. A growing number of companies are hopping on the bandwagon that already has solid traction.
The idea is dead simple. If you’re an entrepreneur or a company with software development experience, you can get all the ERP tools, training and 24h customer support from Erply, and can start selling a ready-made set of retail software products without vesting years on development.
We had the extraordinary honor and privilege of meeting with Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Republic of Estonia. (Washington, D.C., October 2, 2015).
“Erply is a model example that to be successful one needs a good idea, an effective team, and courage to take an idea to a large market such as the United States of America,” said the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Here’s what Mr. Sander Sebastian Agur, the guy behind ERPLY’s partner program, has to say.
Mr. Agur, could you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m an aviation manager. I graduated from Flight Academy and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Aviation management is what is majored in. I was warned that managing an airline company is the toughest business in the world. So I thought this is exactly what I should do because everything else is much easier compared to that.
For years, I was building the Estonian national airline. The process goes far beyond timetables and fuel expenses. An airline has to work like a Swiss watch, the difference being it’s really about the masses of people who just cannot be late.
So you have been developing airlines. How come you joined ERPLY?
I was looking for a challenge to take a business globally. An airline can grow five, ten, maybe hundreds of times, but the market has physical limitations. Retail software and business software, in general, can be scaled million times, and there still will be space left for growth.
I had worked a bit with people from ERPLY, so I know they really know what they are doing, and that the product is the best that there is. I immediately felt a rush of adrenalin, when the idea came to my mind – why not take this business globally, why not make everybody talk about ERPLY.
It’s not just about business. I don’t fancy the word. What ERPLY offers, is a tool that will make all the enterprises, small or large, much more productive. A world that is more productive and wastes fewer resources is what we are aiming for.
I have always relied on information technology and cloud services. Fine calculations help us become more effective, and focus the efforts on the right issues. I think the full power of IT has not yet been realized.
Still, many companies are building enterprise management software applications. Not all of them succeed. How come?
Well, even though millions of companies in the world could benefit from business software, the problem is that we need sophistication. This can only come from experiences. So we’ll see a lot of consolidation in the software market.
It’s a 99% chance that building your own application or environment with a small team is a waste of effort. Think of webstores, which is a small yet visible part of ERP applications: Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, Prestashop, LemonStand, WooCommerce, OpenCart… Would you really build one more? Or, coming to full ERP software solution, play David and Goliath with SAP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Oracle, Netsuite, Sage 100 or Erply.
Building one’s own successful software environment becomes less and less conceivable. And it’s not really feasible to code for a wide range of business software, as sophisticated systems need experience and deep knowledge. Better focus on one.
You mentioned a few companies. Of all of them, why should I pick ERPLY?
What ERPLY has to offer, is kind of software franchise. The difference is that it immediately gives you a nice share of a subscription fee, plus the consultation, implementation and support fees your clients pay you. Partnering with an existing software platform lets you grow your business much faster than alone, with the minimal risk of failure.
ERPLY’s business model emphasizes scalability, which means the company is not afraid to share the profits with partners. It’s pretty much like McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken, with the exception that reselling the ERP software package brings dollars, not cents, and you have a real chance to be the number one ERP provider in your home territory.
Well, if you’re a true entrepreneur, you must have to start to doubt now. Is there a Catch 22? What should I fear if my business partners up with a fast-growing international ERP provider? What are the risks involved? How big is the effort I have to make?
So tell us, where’s the catch?
There’s none really. The only risk for a partner is that if they drop out, they lose the one-time commitment fee. It’s the first year of operation and we haven’t had cases like that.
The commitment fee varies according to the partner exclusivity requested. We see a huge value in ERPLY’s products, especially in emerging markets, where our partner can instantly become the market leader.
Imagine you’re bigger than Oracle in a region where millions live. We are already very happy to work with partners in Mexico, India, and Australia. These are huge markets, where modern cloud-based ERP systems have just now started to gain a foot.
The commitment fee is several times lower than the startup fee of a McDonald’s restaurant. Unless the partner wants the exclusive right for a large region, the fee can easily be just a few thousand bucks. Basically, we just charge for the time we invest in partner training. So the commitment fee and working hours is the only possible loss if the partner does not make it.
Which kind of background do you expect from ERPLY Partners?
We haven’t prepared a compliance list. Experience in the field of software retail or development is expected but not compulsory, if the partner knows how to engage experienced staff.
To start up the business, a partner could have just a few employees, because we offer customer support, too. Sure a partner who already has clients has a head start but success really depends on the ambition.
In Mexico, we teamed up with an experienced company who had released their own accounting software. They want to expand their services and instead of spending a whole lot of effort on building new tools, they just built an integration with ERPLY suite. ERPLY has invested 10 years and millions of development and live testing hours into the products, and a partner has these practically instantly.
One of our largest partners is Elisa, a huge telecom company covering Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
They offer our Point-of-Sale, rebranded as Elisa Kassa, and of course ERP and backend software. We’re really open to partners of any scale, as we want the business to scale up, and this can be achieved by SME-s, too.
How will the relationship between the partner and ERPLY look like?
An ERPLY partner can simply be a distributor, who integrates and implements our retail software. We also like third-party software that can enhance or extend the capabilities of our retail software. So a software company that has built its own products is very much welcome to team up with ERPLY.
We see two types of partnership:
Reseller and Master Distributor.
Reseller is non-exclusive, so there can be several in one region.
A Master Distributor is an official partner for distribution and sales of our standard software, and thus get exclusive rights to operate in a country or a region.
Exclusivity strongly affects the commitment fee. Then there are three tiers that determine how the profit is shared between ERPLY and the partner. So it’s possible to start small. It’s a flexible program.
Won’t the Partner lose its independence?
I can’t see how it could happen. ERPLY wants to grow fast and be flexible. This is the whole point of building a network or partner companies, a flexible consortium of independent partners, not a multinational corporation.
Partners are welcome to continue developing their products and services in any direction they think it’s best. Their management decisions and payrolls are not anybody else’s business, and they can continue developing for other retail software if they find it productive.
What makes ERPLY so appealing to end users?
ERPLY is a cloud-based enterprise resource management and Point-of-Sale suite, which owns its international triumph to a multifaceted and evolving set of features that cover just about every need that a retailer or a manufacturer might have. What makes it really special, is all the data is synchronized and backed up in cloud servers. This means real-time view and actions from any location. You can really do business on a local and global scale simultaneously.
We in ERPLY kind of feel cloud-based system is essential for ERP, but in many regions and companies cloud is still considered futuristic. ERPLY is built around cloud tech, so the integration is seamless. And it works offline, too. In developing economies this gives a solid advantage.
So what exactly comes with ERPLY Partner Program?
We don’t just provide tools, we get the business rolling. Training for the core team, usually on-site. We help to set up ERP for the initial round of clients, let’s say ten cases.
And we provide customer support, too. I mean, the partner can use our customer support people, until there are resources to keep up local support. We have all the time zones covered 24/7.
What I’d like to emphasize, too, is the zero maintenance cost. With ERPLY, you don’t get a certain software version, as with most of the solutions. You get ERPLY that is constantly and seamlessly updated. It’s a cloud-based software system, so the updates are done by our tech people. No extra payments, no additional fees. Again, there is no catch hidden in the partnership offer.
Oh, and did I mention marketing tools? We can help in setting up a local customized web page. Branding, logo, tips, and idea how to get to the clients. The technology itself is amazing. Reports that used to take a couple of months to build, now take just a few clicks. E-Commerce platform, a very wide range of integration with third-party software. To be honest, we haven’t had to advertise the Partner Program much.
How Long Does It Take until the Partner’s Business Can Operate On its Own?
It really depends on the experience and contacts the partner has. Based on what we’ve seen, it takes a couple months only. Cloud-based ERP is a very much needed novelty product, and the market is hungry for it. It’s not like selling shirts or vacuum cleaners. There are high-profit margins in the business.
What’s In It For ERPLY? Why Don’t You Just Open New Offices?
The answer is in scalability. Local partners bring in their experience and contacts, so the business grows at an amazing speed. ERPLY went global quite a few years ago, and we know how much value is in deep knowledge of the market. The services must be top notch for the end users, and this demands personal approach.
We cannot spend time on entering new markets the classic way, by opening a local office, hiring people. We want to works with people who already know how to do business in the particular environment. This is the value we are looking for, and that is why we are keen to share the profits.
ERPLY is a Web-based ERP application with support for accounting, inventory, invoicing, CRM, e-commerce, POS and more, offering retailers a complete IT solution that can be adapted to meet unique requirements.
With offices in London, New York, and Sydney we aim to access to a global client base and combine all sales channels for retailers (B2C, B2B, Web).
Erply Partner Program is designed to assist your business in creating additional revenue streams by providing a comprehensive range of retailing services.
Contact Sander Sebastian for more information.
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