In our last blog post, we began delving into the ways VARs are well-positioned to take advantage of the Big Data trend, which research firm IDC predicts will hit $23.8 billion in 2016, an annual growth rate of 31.7 percent, according to GigaOm. Now let's delve more deeply into some of the ways VARs can help their customers build out an effective Big Data solution.
1. Integration Planning
Big Data deployments are no simple matter. They touch nearly all aspects of an organization's IT infrastructure, as Michael Vizard pointed out on Channel Insider. A Big Data solution will affect compute, storage, and networking infrastructure; it isn't a just matter of a few dedicated servers. To get things integrated in the data center and up and running without breaking anything will take experience and expertise, which VARs can provide throughout the planning stages.
2. Industry-Specific Customization
The use cases for a Big Data solution will vary drastically across different verticals. Retail, for example, won't be looking for the same kinds of insights as health care, and the needs of financial services firm aren't the needs of manufacturing companies. Some vendors already recognize this. For example, Splunk, a Big Data search and analytics developer, "is now looking for channel partners with domain knowledge expertise related to big data," according to Vizard. A VAR that specializes in a specific vertical can help its customers optimize their Big Data solutions to fit their business needs.
3. Managed Deployment
The gap between plans and reality can be a wide one. During a Big Data solution rollout, a variety of issues can arise for which customers' internal IT staff is unprepared. They may not have enough direct knowledge of the components of their Big Data solution to identify and resolve problems and may have little experience managing faults that originate in the integration. A VAR with experience in successful Big Data deployments can provide valuable assistance throughout the customer rollout process.
4. Workforce Training
In many cases, the VAR's involvement in a customer's Big Data solution will taper off over time. When this happens, the customer's own IT personnel become responsible for running and maintaining that solution. Are they ready? When a customer isn't sure, VARs can step in to offer custom training that will help customers' internal staff get the most out of their investment.
5. Ongoing Professional Services
And if the customer doesn't want to hand responsibility for its Big Data solution over to its own IT staff, VARs can provide ongoing professional services instead. Not every organization has the budget or the manpower to devote to a large-scale Big Data strategy, but even organizations that don't could stand to benefit from the insights Big Data can provide. VARs that can take on the role of administrator can bring in long-term business and long-term rewards.