Essentially, VAR success no longer lies in the ability to provide products to clients by being able to bundle software and hardware packages that enable end-to-end solutions across the business or the enterprise. Now cloud computing is changing that, and VARs must adjust their business model to respond.
For many VARs, the era of technologies connected to social, mobile, analytics, and cloud has so far been fraught with change that has left many scrambling to find their footing in terms of ROI. The answer lies in a VAR’s ability to become an expert consultant in these areas, which enables it to add new lines of business to replace old models.
With cloud services as one example, a VAR business plan must be built on a problem-solving approach. That means that VARs must look beyond the short-term gains and limited return of providing just a technology product, whether it is implementation of a software-as-a-service solution or as a go-between in enabling cloud services.
Most organizations need support in developing a strategic IT planning approach that enables them to maximize the effective use of the cloud stack. That means that VARs have a growing opportunity to manage the change in the market by becoming virtual CIOs. This offers an organizational change approach and planning for a strategic shift to a digital business that is based on integrated use of technology solutions such as virtual infrastructure, cloud, and mobility.
By grouping products and services together based on both a short-term and long-term plan for a business’s strategic vision, VARs can create ongoing business relationships with greater ROI for both parties. In addition, specialization in specific industries and how they utilize services and solutions, as well as specialization in different aspects of technology, can open new lines of business.
Using cloud services once again to provide an example, cloud orchestration points the way to a VAR business plan component. This would be where VARs provide solutions for cloud deployments.
The first stage would be to help clients figure out how to connect the technical processes to the available technology solutions. The second stage would be helping them connect applications to automate tasks. This managed-IT-in-the-cloud approach can foster long-term relationships for VARs that bring ongoing ROI through support for cloud orchestration.
VARs have the advantage of knowing how customers are actually experiencing the product and about their individual use cases. That can be the basis for specialization in cloud services support via security solutions and planning.
Other models such as the Internet of Things (IoT) in the cloud can be the basis for big data business models. These and other approaches to VAR business-plan success are based on an ability to provide services that enable recurring revenue via the expertise in specific areas.
It is true that the changing landscape for VARs is nothing new as is the need to find ways to maximize ROI for VARs and their clients. What is new is that the changing technology landscape of today presents unique opportunities for VAR reinvention in terms of how they structure their relationship to their clients and their partners.
Cloud, mobility, the IoT, big data, and other technology shifts will continue to evolve. VARs that develop a foundation of expertise in one or several of these areas can more easily adapt to that evolution and bring a consultative approach to their client relationships.
That foundation will continually reveal new opportunities for solidifying and lengthening their relationships based on client needs while also increasing the ROI for the client and the VAR. Moving forward, that is the basis for a VAR business plan for success.