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Dec 24 2007   11:56AM GMT

Diamond steps down from top ePartners slot

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Howard Diamond, who has been CEO and chairman of ePartners, is relinquishing the CEO post.  Michael McCarthy has been promoted from president to CEO, according to  a  company statement posted last week. 

It was unclear from that release whether Diamond would remain chairman. A spokeswoman was unsure about the chairmanship.

McCarthy and Diamond have worked together for years, at the old Corporate Software and then at Level 3 Communications, which bought Corporate Software in early  2002. A few months later, Level 3-with Diamond-snapped up Software Spectrum, another big LAR, and merged its operations with those of Corporate Software.

At one point, Corporate Software was the largest of the Large Account Resellers or LARs selling Microsoft, Lotus and other software to big  companies. Software Spectrum was one of its biggest rivals.

Diamond has been chairman and CEO of ePartners since 2005 when he came out of retirement to manage  the merger of EYT and ePartners, two large Microsoft Business Solutions partners.

Howard has been an articulate champion of the value that software partners can bring customers. For example, last year he spoke to me about how ePartners derived the bulk of its revenue from its own customization and specialization work atop the Microsoft stack, not from reselling the stack components themselves. As we all know, those margins are mighty thin.

In this age of Web-enabled software distribution, it’s more  important than ever that software partners continually build and bolster their vertical and domain expertise.

In other words, don’t rely on your vendor partners to provide you with the margins needed for survival. They’re fighting the same battles you are, so if you want a friend, get a dog. If you want to survive, make sure your value stays current and, well, valuable!

Barbara Darrow, a Boston-area reporter, can be reached at badarrow@comcast.net

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