TPAC (Third Party Advantage Conference, http://www.tpac.biz/) is a conference for Sage ERP Accpac third party developers, that is held yearly in Vancouver, Canada. This year it was held at the River Rock Casino Resort (www.riverrock.com). The idea is that this gives a venue for all the Accpac ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) to showcase their wares to Accpac Business Partners. There is a trade show where everyone gets a booth and each vendor gives a presentation on their products. Then there is plenty of time for networking and education (including a dinner boat cruise). This year there were 32 exhibitors and around 150 attendees. This show is run independently of Sage, though Sage is a sponsor.
Sage’s big North American conference is Insights (http://www.sageinsightsconference.com). This conference highlights all of Sage’s many products, and although the ISVs have booths and presentations, the main focus of the show is Sage, its direction and announcements. TPAC is nice because it is a more intimate affair with only Accpac partners and ISVs, many who have known each other since the Accpac Plus days. The focus in on the ISVs and they have the spotlight. This makes it a very focused and valuable conference for everyone that attends.
The main development center for Accpac is in Richmond, B.C., only a 10 minute drive away from the conference. This meant that many Sage Product Managers and Developers could attend either the whole show, or at least attend for part. Business Partners also have to option of visiting the Sage development center as part of their visit to Vancouver if they want to.
Pre-conference we ran SDK training for 24 or so ISVs on how to develop Accpac 6 Web Based User Interface programs for their applications. This training ran over 2 days and was held at the Sage Accpac development center in Richmond. The training was very successful and a couple of Web Based UIs based on this technology were being displayed at the TPAC tradeshow.
Although Sage isn’t the focus of the show, Sage people give a few presentations including a Sage ERP Accpac 6 roadmap presentation to highlight the road ahead. Sage ERP Accpac 6 is now in beta, so promoting the beta program, highlighting the marketing plan being put together for the release and showing what comes next. There was also a town hall session given by Laurie Schultz, Accpac’s General Manager. There was generally a very positive reception for version 6.0A and a lot of positive feedback on the current version 5.6A.
ISVs are of crucial importance to any ERP software vendor. No vendor can do everything on their own. The key goal of each vendor is to provide a compelling software development platform along with a core set of applications developed on that platform. This is a huge undertaking. Then the ERP vendor relies on ISVs to take the platform and develop all sorts of vertical applications for specific industries, useful add-on programs or integrations to other stand-alone applications. For Accpac, the System Manager is the development platform that provides the frameworks, structure and supporting APIs for developing ERP modules. The System Manager is the runtime component and the Accpac SDK contains all the samples, documentation and tools to develop ERP modules to run on SM. Then Accpac provides the core accounting applications including General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Inventory Control, Order Entry, Purchase Order, Payroll, and Project and Job Costing. Then we rely on ISVs to fill in other industry specific modules like POS (Point of Sale), Manufacturing, Service Management, etc.
To provide some concrete examples of Accpac ISVs, here are the ones that exhibited at TPAC. This isn’t an endorsement of any particular vendor; it just means they exhibited at TPAC. This isn’t meant to exclude anyone, if an ISV isn’t on the list it’s only because they didn’t exhibit at TPAC or I made a mistake. Many of the ISVs below have more products than I list, these are just a sampling.
- Altec (http://www.altec-inc.com/): Provides an integrated document management solution.
- Norming Software (http://www.norming.com/): Provide Asset Management, International Payroll and Timesheet entry.
- Orchid Systems (http://www.orchidsystems.biz/): Inter-entity transactions, Information Manager and Info-Explorer.
- Smart Hotel Software (http://www.smarthotelsoftware.com/): A Hotel Property Management System.
- Accu-Dart (http://www.accu-dart.com/): Warehouse Management.
- Accellos (http://www.accellos.com/): Warehouse Management.
- AutoSimply (http://www.autosimply.com/): Manufacturing.
- Avalara (http://www.avalara.com/): Sales and Use Tax Management.
- BI-Metrix (http://www.bi-metrix.com/): Business Intelligence.
- CGS Datapool Services (http://www.cgsdatapool.com/): EDI Services.
- Configur8or (http://www.configur8or.com/): Product configuration software.
- DataSelf (http://www.dataself.com/): DataHabitat Business Intelligence.
- EDISoft (http://www.edisoft.com/): EDI Software.
- Enabling (http://www.enabling.net/): QuickCost Time Billing Management Software.
- Escape Velocity Systems (http://www.evs-sw.com/): zFind Enterprise Application Search.
- Iciniti (http://www.iciniti.com/Home.aspx): Iciniti Store, Credit Card and Order Reader.
- Industrios (http://www.industrios.com/): Manufacturing.
- Liaison Software (http://www.liaisonsc.com/): Business forms distribution.
- North49 (http://www.north49.com/): Webtelligence eCommerce software.
- Pacific Technology (http://www.pacifictechsol.com/): AuditLogger, Commitment Accounting, Purchasing Workflow.
- Paperless Business Systems (http://www.paperlessbusiness.com/): Consulting Services.
- Red Tail Solutions (http://www.redtailsolutions.com/index.asp): EDI Software.
- RockySoft Corporation (http://www.rockysoft.com/index.php): Inventory Management.
- Stonefield Software (http://www.stonefieldquery.com/Solutions/SageAccpacERP.aspx): Business Intelligence Reporting.
- TaiRox (http://www.tairox.com/): Advanced Financials, Backup, SOX Compliance.
- Technisoft (http://www.technisoft.com/): Service Manager.
- TelPay (http://www.telpay.ca/): Payment Technology Solutions.
- V1 Document Management (http://www.v1documentmanagement.com/): Document Management and Imaging Software.
- Websitepipeline (http://www.websitepipeline.com/): Web Site Development.
- Wellspring Software (http://www.wellspringsoftware.com/): PrintBoss
- XM Oxygen (http://www.xmdevelopments.com/): eCommerce Solutions.