The VAR Guy Blog

Partnerships: Compelling Is As Compelling Does

Can you name a recession-proof industry? If you said "chocolate," then you’re right. Believe it or not, the business of selling chocolate has grown consistently, through good economic times and bad. Chocolate sellers' secret has a lot to do with something what’s called NPD, or new product development. The idea is similar to what happens in the IT industry, which also succeeds through its own kind of innovation.

It’s actually not surprising that chocolate sales continue growing -- it’s easy to change from a fancy, expensive chocolate to something a bit more mainstream and still get your chocolate fix. But when it comes to IT spending, that’s where any similarities end -- downgrading an IT investment to save some money can leave consumers with the worst stomach ache they’ve ever had.

Take, for example, the pressure on the chain of IT professionals from engineers to IT managers: Each is fighting to stay relevant because, in the new service-led model, the stakes have never been higher, the need to innovate never greater and the speed of change never faster. Even VARs, who always have been indispensable in this process, have to consider how it’s affecting them. At a time when ‘all-in-one’ solutions are trending and free web content offers step-by-step "do it yourself" instructions for migrating an old physical environment to a new service one, VARs must re-establish their value proposition to their customers to stay compelling.

It’s important that VARs continue emphasizing their core strengths of partnership, accountability and eliminating long term risk to the end user. VARs also have to stay ahead of customer needs by accelerating both their knowledge base and their service approach upmarket to sought-after models such as cloud computing. This is an important step from the physical, old economy structure with its increasingly diminished margins.

Partnership: Zero Calories Yet Fully Satisfying

Whether you’re beginning something new or beginning as if it were new, you’re innovating. For the IT vendor, innovation can be as subtle as changing the business model.

In fact, cloud storage vendors are a good example of a community undergoing these "back to basics" business model changes. As they refocus efforts to innovate for the dynamic data management world, they are relying heavily on sales partners with the desire, customer relationships and vision to join in helping them capture market share.

The partnership models between vendors and the channel can be as sophisticated as the technology itself. Vendors who understand the resource constraints of ramping up to a new service model are offering guidance from their team of experts to help VARs speed up their learning curve and route to market. A reseller's partnership, where every business focuses on their area of expertise, is a compelling idea.

John Gorsin is manager, North American Channel Sales at EVault, the online backup company. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all EVault guest blogs here.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Nikki Naiser (not verified)
on Apr 12, 2012
So right, John. In our work we see a lot of VAR success stories that spring from the right partnerships. Recently we've seen a growing interest in partnering with cloud service providers, in particular. In turn, those service providers can get a real benefit by partnering with VARs who are addressing needs of vertical markets. The cost and ramp-up time of providing new services without partnering can put VARs behind in the competitive race.
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