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The rise in oil prices has triggered an uptick in energy industry IT projects, according to executives at EnterSys Group LP, an IT services firm based in Houston.

EnterSys’ global SAP practice—which is focused primarily on energy companies—is growing revenue at 20 percent to 30 percent per year, a rate that may edge higher still, according to Rob Roberts, a managing director in the company’s Global SAP Practice.

EnterSys specializes in enterprise resource planning system design and implementation, among other areas.

Energy companies, Roberts said, “have taken projects off the shelf that they shelved six months to two years ago.”

Roberts said he sees a growing market among oil field services and third-party drillers that support the major oil companies.

Mergers and acquisitions in the market have sparked a wave of integration projects.

In one case, EnterSys took on a SAP implementation for PowerWell Services, a new company that was established in 2004 from the acquisition of two others.

PowerWell tests wells and provides other services to the oil and gas industry.

The company’s SAP installation spanned 20 countries and 500 users, Roberts said. EnterSys did the job in 60 days.

“There are no projects that are that long anymore,” Roberts said.

That project, completed in mid-2004, has become the model for a new service line.

EnterSys now provides a quick-implementation SAP offering for oil field services companies.

Roberts said EnterSys will roll out additional services along those lines throughout the summer.

“We have seen the SAP market just pick up in all industries,” he said, not just oil and gas.

EnterSys also operates in such verticals as chemicals, financial services, and manufacturing.

In oil and gas, Roberts said the company’s SAP growth pace may get a further boost as second-tier oil companies continue to merge.

And as the company’s SAP practice expands in revenue, staff grows as well.

EnterSys recently hired Frank Snyder, former vice president of Covansys’ SAP practice, as a managing director.

Other companies are maneuvering for a piece of the oil and gas opportunity.

On Monday, BroadVision Inc. and eForce Inc. announced they will coordinate prospecting activities at Digital Energy 2005, an energy industry IT conference this week in Houston.

Based in Hayward, Calif., eForce provides software integration in customer relationship management and other application areas.

In addition, Wellogix Inc. and SAP earlier this month disclosed a joint-marketing arrangement, which targets the energy industry.

Wellogix provides software and services to oil and gas companies.

The company focuses on the planning, procurement and payment of oil field services.

Click here to read more about SAP America’s plans to expand its push into the small and midsize business market.

Beyond SAP, Wellogix also partners with such integrators as Accenture and Deloitte.

Postini Taps Channel For SMB Offering.

Postini Taps Channel For SMB Offering

Postini Inc. on Monday unveiled a small-business version of its managed e-mail security service.

Resellers will serve as a prominent channel for the product, company executives said.

Postini Perimeter Manager Small Business Edition provides spam and virus protection.

The company designed the service for smaller businesses that don’t need all configuration options of Postini’s Perimeter Manager Enterprise Edition.

“We get feedback that runs along the lines of, ‘We love the service, but it was a little complicated to set up,’” noted Andrew Lochart, director of product marketing at Postini.

Lochart said Enterprise Edition has numerous configuration steps that don’t apply to small businesses.

While Enterprise Edition requires 15 sets for activation and configuration, the Small Business Edition can be activated and configured in two steps.

That simplification, according to Lochart, makes the service more convention for small business, many of which lack a full-time IT support.

Postini has expanded its indirect channel, in an effort that parallels the development of its small-business offering.

“It is our indirect channel that is really going to be fulfilling most of the deals,” Lochart said. “Resellers already serve small businesses.”

In the United States, Postini has signed 120 resellers and VARs.

Those partners occupy two tiers: Partner Affiliate and Partner Select Plus.

Affiliates are typically smaller VARs, while select partners have a national or international presence.

Examples of select channel partners include Insight North America and Software Spectrum Inc.

In the United Kingdom, Postini works with Integralis Ltd., which describes itself as the largest security systems integrator in Europe.

Lochart said Postini’s services, sold as annual subscriptions, offer resellers a “predictable revenue stream.” He said the customer renewal rate is 98 percent.

Customers for Small Business Edition will find a number of small-business features, in addition to simplified configuration.

The service automatically creates user accounts, so small businesses don’t have to provide Postini with a list of e-mail addresses.

In addition, Small Business Edition’s e-mail quarantine management approach lets users click on a delivery button to receive a quarantined message.

In Enterprise Edition, the user clicks on a quarantined message, opens a browser and logs into a personal quarantine area.

The user then can click to retrieve the message.

“That was a couple of steps to many” for small businesses, Lochart said.

Lochart noted that the quarantine feature and automatic user account creation may migrate to Enterprise Edition.

He added that growing small and medium business using Small Business Edition may readily migrate to Enterprise Edition, should they require the latter service’s configuration options.

Matt Cain, senior vice president at Meta Group, earlier this year reported increased demand for the hosted e-mail security approach.

He said hosted services and e-mail security appliances are taking market share away from software solutions.

Acxiom Extends Providian Deal

Acxiom Corp. on Tuesday reported a two-year renewal of its information management services pact with Providian Financial Corp.

The deal dates to 2001. At that time, Acxiom began working with the credit card provider to help build analytical tools and a prospect marketing database.

Acxiom focuses on customer and information management solutions.

A company spokesman declined to provide further details on the expanded agreement with Providian.