Value-added resellers (VARs) have to be experts in many aspects of enterprise and computer technology. Customers expect them to be able to service all aspects of the hardware and software they sell, and they need to be on call in order to address questions and concerns beyond the IT department’s understanding. That’s daunting for any VAR; if they don’t know the answer to a question, they need to be able to get the answers fast. That’s why more VARs should be using “white-badged” services from their distributors.
For the past few decades, data centers have relied on customized hardware and preconfigured data appliances optimized for specific data functions. Distributors would serve in the background, helping with hardware preconfiguration, and with gross margins around 65 percent, it was easier to maintain a high-touch channel.
Today’s VARs have to have new skills and expertise that extend beyond the data center. They need to provision customized hardware for convergence and hyper-convergence, support cloud data services with virtualization, and approach data center sales in an entirely different way. The cloud has changed the rules of the game, and with it, VARs have had to rethink their service and sales model. This is where an expert distributor can help VARs expand their business.
Distributors Offer More Than Smart Hands
Working with the right distributor can give any VAR instant expertise. When working with a new customer or a customer looking to change its data center infrastructure, your distributor can help you balance enterprise hardware and software and cloud services for maximal performance and profit. In addition, by using white-badged services (i.e. bringing experts from the distributor in as part of the VAR team), your distributor will be in a better position to advise you and your customer and help you develop an ongoing strategy where everyone wins.
Using white-badged services from your distributor offers a number of advantages:
- Turnkey expertise – No VAR can be expected to be an expert in every aspect of data center technology, yet the customer is looking to the VAR for answers. If you don’t have the expertise in house, rent it! Your distributor has experts trained in every aspect of data center technology and cloud services. Take advantage of that expertise. Bring an expert from your distributor onto the customer site in order to assess and advise.
- Smart Hands – Many colocation providers tout their Smart Hands capability to maintain data center operations on behalf of tenants. Having an extra set of expert hands in order to assist with installing, configuring, and managing new systems is always valuable, especially if those Smart Hands technicians have specialized training in specific vendor systems. Bringing in distributor experts on an installation can facilitate setup and help you train your own team at the same time.
- Vendor relationships – Distributors work directly with hardware and software vendors and are an important part of vendors’ sales channels. That means that they have direct access to vendor resources that VARs don’t. There are times when you need to know the right person or the right procedure in order to expedite shipping or get assistance with an installation problem. Your distributor can be invaluable serving as a liaison with suppliers.
- Cloud service contacts – Increasingly, VARs are integrating with cloud service providers, developing private and hybrid cloud strategies for customers or leveraging public cloud resources. Your distributor can help with cloud support by finding the right cloud service providers, negotiating contracts and service-level agreements (SLAs), and providing cloud integration services and training.
- End-to-end services and support – Wherever your team lacks expertise or support capability, your distributor can help. Distributors need to stay current with the latest tools, technologies, and techniques and are in an ideal position to help VARs extend their support contracts and guarantee SLAs.
Keeping You On the Leading Edge
Part of the VAR’s responsibility is to stay current with the latest technologies and techniques so they can advise their customers as to how to get more from the IT investment and assess the value of new technologies. That’s a challenging task, especially when you have to assess vendor roadmaps and compatibility with installed systems.
Bringing your distributor into the picture helps you stay ahead of the latest technologies and make smart recommendations about additions to customers’ data centers. Good distributors maintain close relationships with their suppliers, so they know what’s available, what’s coming, and what to expect from leading vendors. That knowledge can set any VAR apart in a competitive bid or an upsell situation.
Working with Ingram Micro gives our VARs that competitive edge. Our team of experts is available to provide the level of support that’s needed, either remotely or as white-badged resources for on-site support. The best way to get the instant expertise you need is to work with a distributor that stays abreast of the market. They understand emerging technology, but you understand your customers’ needs. Working together is a real winning combination for all concerned.