ICL yesterday launched Counterpoint – a business scheme designed to help UK software houses improve the sales and marketing of ICL-based office and departmental systems – as part of a five year promotional programme, the Orchestrated Office, to be announced officially next month. The company claims that UK software houses spend about 90% of their resources developing products and only the remainder on sales and marketing whereas their US counterparts do the opposite. So ICL has decided that it can add value to the endeavours of software developers by offering sales and marketing services such as advice on the positioning of products, pricing, and sales and marketing plans. In return ICL expects to provide the hardware, operating software, service contracts and any project management contracts arising from business generated under the Counterpoint scheme. Counterpoint was launched by ICL’s financial services division but it will be extended to the company’s other four vertical market divisions in April. ICL refused to disclose how much money has invested in the project which will run in tandem with its Traderpoint scheme for third party software developers. The financial division says it has already signed up four UK software houses including supplier of Financial Services Act compliance software Solvit. According to Solvit, Counterpoint offers software houses credibility because of the association forged with ICL while enabling them to gain access to ICL accounts and benefit from its sales and marketing muscle. But the firms signed up under the Counterpoint scheme may have to compete against each other because ICL insists that it will not sign any exclusive deals with software houses.