ECi to expand reseller and OEM channels of newly-acquired Vineyardsoft

ECi, which acquired ERP vendor Macola last year, has made another acquisition relevant to their Manufacturing Division, purchasing Vineyardsoft, whose KnowledgeSync product was already being used by Macola and every other member of the Division. Vineyardsoft sold entirely through channels, and the plan is to expand those channels further.

Jeff Ralyea, ECi Manufacturing Division President

Fort Worth TX-based ECi Software Solutions has announced the acquisition of Business Activity Monitoring software vendor Vineyardsoft. Vineyardsoft’s KnowledgeSyc alert and workflow solution is widely used in the SMB space, for which it has a great deal of custom-designed content. It is used in over 10,000 organizations worldwide, including all of the ECi Manufacturing Division companies.

“We completed the acquisition on August 31, and announced it now,” said Jeff Ralyea, ECi Manufacturing Division President. “We bought the business in its entirety and absorbed all its employees, as well as all its reseller and OEM contracts. No pieces or parts were left out or behind.”

ECi has been using Vineyardsoft since 2014, as did Exact, from which ECi acquired Macola.

“We were in their top five of OEM partners already, and they were already integrated into our flagship product,” Ralyea said. “All our companies have an OEM relationship with them. It’s rare that you get to acquire an asset that has 100 per cent applicability to your entire customer base. It’s a really good fit that can drive more value.”

Vineyardsoft provides the same kind of automated event management and alerting that companies like Oracle or TIBCO provide in the enterprise, but Ralyea emphasized that Vineyardsoft is specifically customized for the SMB companies ECi serves.

“Larger companies will use a platform like TIBCO as an enterprise bus and they have to learn how to use TIBCO to do that,” he said. “Vineyardsoft is also a platform, and listens to the database, but it prebuilds the content that is most important to the SMB. They buy it with event packs with the most important events for SMBs, depending on their business. Manufacturers, for example, have critical stock levels to alert purchasing agents so they don’t run short. The customer doesn’t have to do anything with these. They are pre-built. They install the software, connect it, and the packs are up and running. In our space, unlike TIBCO’s space, it’s about the prebuilt content. That’s what makes it unique for our market. In the enterprise, with this kind of solution, everyone is focused on Big Data, but we think that in the SMB space, customers want something really simple that allows them to understand their business better.”

Vineyardsoft’s extensive OEM business emphasizes the pre-built event packs as well.

“That’s how we partner with them,” Ralyea said. “We work with Sage and build event packs for different offerings of Sage. We work with Infor in a couple different areas around CRM. It is very much a partnership model.”

VIneyardsoft is unusual within the ECi family in that they have never sold direct at all, and have had a channel-only sales model, with over 150 reseller and OEM partners. Even Macola, which had been moving more of its business to the channel side, had a hybrid model. The legacy ECi companies have been largely direct. Ralyea said that the basic channel go-to-market strategy for Vineyardsoft will not change, and that in fact, the plan is to extend the channel further.

“We will focus on that and grow that,” Ralyea said. “I have had conversations with about 20 of their largest resellers and OEMs. They are really all over the board. There are some in manufacturing, distribution, HR, banking, hospitality, and niche solutions, among others. They are mainly in North America. We also sell in Europe and APAC. and we have talked how we can broaden out our go-to-market there.”

ECi strongly encourages cross-selling between their component companies, and Ralyea said that Vineyardsoft is ideally positioned for this.

“Vineyardsoft is system-agnostic,” he stated. “A Macola reseller could have sold this as part of a Macola solution, but their customers also have other solutions and there is critical data in all of them. Now that we own Vineyardsoft, we have the rights to extend it to other solutions, something that neither we or our resellers could do when we just OEMed them. We can definitely better penetrate our 14,000 customers with this, and expand what we are doing from a reseller and OEM perspective.”

The plan is to sell Vineyardsoft direct only to ECi’s direct customers.

“We will sell it direct into those bases where we have direct sales reps, but we will also continue to sell through existing reseller and OEM channels, and we will expand both of those going forward,” Ralyea said. “We have a number of additional OEMs in the pipeline as well. Resellers will see value in increased services opportunities to build more alerts and events, or through the license developer aspect of the program.”

Ralyea also provided an update on the status of the Macola go-to-market, which he indicated he was evaluating back at the Macola customer event in April.

“We are still in evaluation there, and nothing has been determined,” he said. “We did not renew some partners, but those were for performance reasons. We didn’t attain our goals, so we parted ways.”