In many ways, that shifting is compelling them to provide far more tangible benefits that enable VARs to deliver more to their clients. Rather than a list of vendors that should be a part of every VAR business model, VARs should be on the lookout for vendors that exhibit one or both of the following characteristics:
1. SaaS vendors that enable expanded services/sales for VARs
Back in 2012, in what seems now like the cloud dark ages in relative terms, an IDC white paper explained how the financial success of Microsoft and its channel partners was based on a symbiotic relationship. Today, a huge number of the VAR business models are likely to include software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions from that growing group of global vendors that understand and foster that symbiotic relationship.
With SaaS, resellers can deliver value-added services, such as implementation, data migration, training, and customer support. Customers will enjoy lower initial costs and lower overhead costs, thanks to minimal IT needs. And SaaS offers seamless integrations between thousands of products, so resellers can create best-in-breed solutions that serve their clients best.
The news of major vendors signing deals with other SaaS suite manufacturers to create greater channel-partner potency is clearly intended to have a major effect on VARs and their desire to become channel partners. Behemoths in the hardware space are grappling with the changes being wrought by the Open Compute Project (OCP) on the hyperscale data center level.
Those changes will soon be apparent on the level of average enterprises as well. This intersection of OCP-like options and SaaS may already be popping up in some form to influence VARs to become channel partners. As one possible example, one of the most recognized vendor names is simultaneously positioning itself to take advantage of the OCP as it also undergoes a major business-model shift that has a new software licensing model at its core.
For VARs, vendors that find ways to provide stronger and more relevant options to their clients that combine software as well as network and server solutions are likely to be high priorities in a cloud world. Any time that VARs can become channel partners with a vendor that seeks to “make it less complex for customers to upgrade their network infrastructure by disaggregating software from the underlying hardware,” the better the opportunities for them and their client base will be.
2. Networking vendor mergers that deliver expanded service benefits for VARs
While vendor mergers are nothing new, they have begun to accelerate in the past year with some obvious strategies for creating synergies via unified channel-partner programs. This is particularly salient in the networking space, where mobility is playing a larger and larger role.
Clearly, not every one of these mergers will ultimately deliver the types of gains that translate into must-have channel-partner status in the VAR business model. That being said, the recent acquisition of a major wireless networking products/services vendor by a major compute/networking vendor explained in this Channel Insider article shows how it can work for VARs.
Not only do VARs get a much wider product portfolio for creating diverse solutions for their clients, but they get access to a highly successful and sought-after partner program that is now unified. That essentially means that VARs that were channel partners of the acquired wireless networking provider will be grandfathered into the new unified channel-partner program. In this case, as is clearly stated in the article, “wireless access points and controllers are just the beginning of an opportunity that now stretches across the extended enterprise.”
As vendors transition to a world where they must drive engagement with partners rather than the other way around, VARs are more clearly in the driver’s seat as they create a VAR business model that is based on working with multiple vendors. In a landscape where vendors must now compete for onboarding the best partners, it becomes more apparent those that are clearly upping their game to become must-have relationships for the best VARs.