Sunil: So today there are quite a few companies in the accounting and ERP space, would they started just about then too in other parts of the country and then now they are called by different names obviously; just like platinum became Epicor, Peachtree software became Sage, and Act-fact became Sage.
Real business became Solomon and there was quite a few of these small startups that they build some nice customer bases. and i think Microsoft and sage bought a number of them over the years. And Platinum, we built up our own user base and then when client-server started getting popular we did the next technology.
Sunil: The next change in technology
Kevin: That’s right. And so we went to a simple database and the windows front end. we made a true client-server product and it was about this time that we took Platinum public. And this was in 92 we went public. We did a fairly large deal with MS in the late 90’s and had a good reputation from that. It was phenomenal marketplace
Sunil: and so you took the company public and then you stayed for a few years after that as the company expanded globally. What was, how did you expand globally? Can you talk a little bit about all of the different thing you had to do; different partnerships, etc.
Kevin: Yeah. Initially the expansion was just in the english speaking outpost of the world, so of course England Australia New Zealand, Hong Kong and so forth. and then we started looking at partnerships in certain of the geographies to help us create a translation and a localization. So a lot of the accounting rule are different in different geography so it wasn’t just pure translation, we had to adapt to the accounting principles. So we always would together with partners. We had early partners in Russia expanded the product. Early partner in China, we ended up with probably 500 customers in mainland china. some in Taiwan. we had all throughout Europe we had different relationships where we were creating the product for those localized markets.
Kevin: So in the early days all the expansion was about getting a partner that understood the marketplace there and could do translations and localization so we could add-on to our package together and either they would be the distributor there for us or we would set up and officer there and we would start selling for ourselves.
Sunil: So the role of the partner in those days was to localize the product for you, but then also get you customers and once they got you customers they had to put the software in for them, train them, and perhaps even support them locally.
Kevin: Yes. again there are really two types of partners at that point in time. There was, let’s call it the distributors, would do localizations and translations and then would have to sell on support in the local language. Because at that time we didn’t have the capacity to have local-local language people. And then there is the typical reseller, or VAR, that typically in the US the VAR would sell the product. Maybe it was a local account and maybe it was a local, l very early days, like a computer land store, store, these changes that would sell microcomputers and maybe they would sell it and actually support it if they understood accounting well. So really two tiered viewpoint on the partners. Either a reseller, just pure reseller implementor. And then the distributors that did much more in terms of localization and on premise.