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AtTask opened two channels Oct. 17 for its project and portfolio management application, designating separate programs for VARs and business consultants.

The software maker expects the separate channels to hit different soft spots at businesses in the same market, said Chad Perry, vice president of channel sales at AtTask, based in Orem, Utah.

“We see it as to routes to different parts of the market,” Perry said. “The VAR community has the ability to resell the resources to the same companies. But [consultants] talk to a different set of individuals and have a different conversation.”

The VAR program features standard partner program resources—pre-sales and technical support, sales leads, a partner locator and market development funds.

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The Consultant Partner Program line of business and project management consultants offers free partner licenses and pre-sales support as well as commissions for recommending the software maker’s @Task application.

“The firm expects to rely on the consulting communities’ trusted advisor role to wedge the product into markets into otherwise wasn’t reaching,” Perry said. The new partner designation should complement and not injure the company’s existing channel of resellers.

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“For many companies, the selection of PPM software has been based largely on how closely an application’s architecture matches their current business operations and IT infrastructure,” Perry said. “This defies what every good business consultant knows—technology should never dictate sound business practices. Consultants are trusted advisors, and know what products and services are the best for their customers. Good project management software should be easy to use and easy to integrate into a company’s existing network.”

Many VARs run consulting practices and will likely benefit from both tracks, he said.

Microsoft employed a similar strategy with the Microsoft Professional Accountant Network in the fall of 2005, deputizing Certified Public Accountants to push Microsoft Small Business Accounting.