Within the IT ecosystem, few trending technology movements enjoy the same momentum as Big Data. A September 2013 Gartner report revealed that 64 percent of surveyed organizations have already invested in, or are planning to invest in, Big Data, an increase of 6 percent over the year before. Fewer than 8 percent of those organizations had deployed Big Data solutions at the time of the survey, however.
What does this mean? For VARs looking to grow their Big Data revenue, it means a lot of uncaptured potential business. Billions of dollars in business, to be exact. By 2012, Big Data sales had exceeded $11 billion, according to Big Data News, and Wikibon predicts that that will grow to over $47 billion 2017.
But seizing the Big Data opportunity isn't easy. As we've discussed before, Big Data isn't a single technology, but an entire ecosystem that places unique new stresses on the IT environments in which it resides. And Big Data needs vary drastically by vertical. Financial services organizations have radically different requirements than pharmaceutical companies, for example; so do retail and legal, healthcare and hospitality. Different needs mean different solutions. Different solutions may demand different products, of which there are too many for anyone to truly know. Ingram Micro alone provides products from over 1,400 manufacturers. Do you know all of those manufacturers well enough to know when to pick from one and not the other for your customers' needs? Should you have to?
In an environment this complex, collaboration is a must, as Regina Ciardiello pointed out in Vertical Systems Reseller. When it comes to Big Data in particular, if you want to maximize your Big Data revenue, you'll likely have to look beyond your own offerings and develop partnerships with independent software vendors (ISVs) and other VARs. Here are three tips to help you on your way.
1. Examine your own shortcomings.
In business as in life, the key to improvement is often a cold, hard, objective look at the areas in which you could do better. Consider the verticals you currently serve and the ones you hope to reach. What are their needs, and where do your offerings fall short in meeting those needs? Identifying your weaknesses is key to finding the right partner to help grow your Big Data revenue.
2. Leverage your distributor's network.
Once you know what you want from a partner, utilize the resources your distributor can provide. Distributors are often the best source of potential partners and collaborators. Ingram Micro, for example, has several reseller communities, among them the SMB Alliance, System ArchiTECHs, and the VentureTech network. Use communities like these to find like-minded collaborators.
3. Be flexible.
You identified what you want out of a VAR collaboration, and you found one or two or a few potential collaborators. Now's the time to let your possible partners shine. You have ideas to grow your Big Data revenue, and no doubt so do they. Do they have ideas that haven't occurred to you? Expertise in a vertical you don't know? Let them speak. Then work together to innovate a truly effective solution that can achieve Big Data revenue goals for both you and your new partners.
What's your experience with VAR collaboration, and what advice do you have to give? Let us know in the comments.