If you’re a customer of the recently closed MIS Group you should contact Sage for additional assistance with support or any questions on your next steps for finding a consultant. Sage’s phone number is 866-996-7243.
According to a report by Computer Reseller News Sage is offering 30 days of free support to any customer who did not already have a Sage support agreement.
Here’s What We Know or Have Heard
Over the July 4th holiday we received information that MIS Group was going to close on Monday. At first we thought that meant each of the management level employees would leave with their respective customers. Instead what happened is the MIS Group itself closed for good. The doors were locked and phones were placed on auto-attendant with a message that callers should contact Sage for assistance.
The MIS Group was a big reseller. And they were well respected too. So far I have found nobody to tell me a bad thing about any of the people that work there – and that’s rare.
The last estimates of their revenue that we’d seen was approximately $30 million. They had been twice awarded (2007 and 2008) Sage’s Business Partner of The Year. This means they sold the most product of anyone in the Sage NA channel. They were also number 6 on the Source Media VAR 100 with estimated 2007 revenues of $30 million.
If They Sold So Much Software Then Why’d MIS Group Close Their Doors?
Based on discussions with several different people it seems there had been ongoing issues with financing. This much was also confirmed on the company’s own web site when they closed July 6, 2009. At the recent IT Alliance conference in Atlanta the group was notably absent and rumors where openly swirling that there may be some type of cost cutbacks or financial issues.
Some estimates place MIS Group’s share of the entire Timberline installed base at 40% (a number we’d happily update is someone had better information). If this number is accurate, then the firm had a large exposure to the declining construction market in the United States. To a large part it seems the demise of MIS Group was due in large part to the economy.
Why Not Reorganize Under Bankruptcy?
Good question and we don’t have the answer. Though we can speculate that one possible reason they did not choose to reorganize under bankruptcy may have had more to do with large debts owed to software and hardware vendors.
Let’s just assume that a large debt was owed which a bankruptcy was able to erase. That debt erasure would not assure that a newly re-organized entity would be re-authorized for software or hardware products they formerly represented. Especially not if the vendors lost a great deal of money in a potential bankruptcy.
So, again hypothetically, what could happen is that the parts (individual consultants) becomes greater than the whole (a potentially bankrupt entity that possibly has trouble becoming re-authorized for products they used to sell).
Individual consultants (the real assets of any consulting firm) could take their existing “book of business” with them to a new consulting firm and start anew. An option that might not have existed for a reseller emerging from bankruptcy with a potentially bruised relationship with key suppliers.
What’s Sage’s Reaction?
Sage is in the process of emailing impacted customers and promising that within 30 days they will have some options as to who they obtain as a business partner to manage their accounts. (Update: Read the statement Sage provided to us here).
At Schulz Consulting we’ve reached out twice to Sage offering to help spread the word on what customers of MIS Group can do. If Sage takes us up on our offer we’ll have more to post on our site.
If you’ve been in contact with a former MIS Group consultant then chances are good that you may form a new relationship with that person for support or ongoing consulting. We’ve heard that the consulting staff were invited to contact former clients of MIS Group so long as they do not mis-represent themselves as being from MIS Group.
How Do You Prevent Signing Up With “Another MIS Group”?
One question that we think will arise from the ashes of the MIS Group is how a company can prevent signing on with another reseller only to have them go away without notice.
Short answer is that you can’t.
What we think will evolve from the ruins of MIS Group is that bigger isn’t always better. Simply signing up with the biggest reseller has been demonstrated not to be a safeguard against that reseller unexpectedly going out of business.
Instead we think it makes more sense to select consultants by:
-Years of experience in the business
Place less emphasis on fancy offices, pretty brochures, extravagant user group meetings, etc.
Will Sage Re-Assign All of MIS Group’s Customers To Another Consulting Firm?
As of now nobody knows. We hope that MIS Group’s customers will be offered a fast response and the ability to select whatever consulting firm they would like. As we learn more we’ll update our web site.
UPDATE: Sage has provided us an official statement on how they are managing the notification and assignment of MIS Group clients. You can read the full text of it here – including the email message that was sent to all known customers.
Based on conversations within LinkedIn we expect within 30 days most of the customers will have been contacted (or have already arranged) to work with the same consultants that they had a relationship with at the former MIS Group. Many of these consultants appear to be in the process of either setting up their own consulting firms or joining already established organizations.
Does This Mean Sage Or Their Products Are In Trouble, Not Selling Well, Etc?
Not from what we’ve seen or heard. The closing of MIS Group seems to be a case of a company with heavy exposure to construction clients and what appears to have been a high overhead that drained their financial resources. We’re sure that in the coming days more information will come about regarding the firm. For now we see no indication that lack of demand for Sage products specifically played any role in this. A study by AMR actually ranks Sage at #3 world wide in terms of revenues – while Microsoft trails farther behind in #7 place.