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The Key to VAR Success: Industry Disruption



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By guest blogger, Brian Knudtson, Senior Technical Marketing Manager

In today’s fast paced IT infrastructure market, VARs are trusted to advise customers on the best technology solutions in the market for them. With everything moving so quickly in an industry like IT, staying ahead of the technology curve is imperative to provide valuable advice to customers. It is no easy task, though, when startups with new innovative (and sometimes disruptive) solutions appear in the market almost overnight. Despite the challenge, VARs that take a chance on partnering with these new disruptive technologies have seen wild success compared to their competitors that may have dismissed the impact of these technologies.

There are several examples of major disruption in enterprise IT over the last few decades alone. Starting in the 1980s, two startup software companies, Novell and Microsoft, shook the industry by making it possible to distribute the compute resources away from the centralized mainframe. Then storage that was distributed across these distributed servers became unwieldy to manage, and disrupters like EMC created a new shift in IT architectures in the ‘90s, by consolidating storage into shared storage arrays connected through Storage Area Networks (SAN). VMware shifted the industry again in the early 2000s with the introduction of x86 virtualization.

In all three of these cases, the “disrupters” were relative newcomers to the enterprise IT industry that later became the industry powerhouses we know today. They built and worked successfully with the channel to allow bigstock-Key-To-Success-116122415.jpgtheir partners to succeed with them. These vendors succeeded, in part, by simplifying the complexities of an existing infrastructure design and providing a clear value proposition for both the customers and partners.

Through these waves of distruptive innovation, many VARs have built some of their business around solving the limitations caused by the former disruptors. They work to help customers tame IT infrastructure complexity by continually evaluating and applying new technologies to meet the needs of their customers. One new technology that today’s VARs can easily incorporate into their existing practices is hyperconverged infrastructure. However, some are hesitant, because it threatens the existing infrastructure sales and services businesses they provide since hyperconverged infrastructure simplifies the IT stack down to a single vendor which is easier for a customer to manage, implement, and integrate.

Despite this concern, other VARs are eager to offer hyperconverged infrastructure because of the business value it offers their customers who are looking to be more progressive and innovative. These VARs also understand that their customers want a partner that is dedicated to these same goals instead of protecting the industry status quo. These VARs also understand that if they do not have the right offerings for simplifying their customer’s infrastructure, a competitor will likely have that offering and thus lose out on a deal. Now that the hyperconverged infrastructure market is becoming ‘mainstream,’ there is plenty of competition and a higher likelihood that competitors will provide the business value their customers desire.

Most major vendors have seen the hyperconverged market opportunity as well and have worked to create a hyperconverged infrastructure solution of their own. But in the rush to make a mark in this category, some of these solutions are not as innovative or well-thought out as others in this category. Some simply package existing products together into a bundle and call it “hyperconvergence,” while others rely on unproven, third-party startups to develop solutions.

Ultimately, customers trust their VARs to carefully research how each product is designed and validate how much of a difference in value each product will make in each customer’s data center. VARs should closely evaluate the potential technical advantages and business values all vendors provide to their customers before incorporating into their future business strategy. Additionally, VARs should look at each vendor’s business model, specifically looking for those who design their model to align closely with the channel so VARs retain the power to choose the right mix of technologies for their customers. In the end, VARs must make sure to pick hyperconverged infrastructure partners that give them the ability to transform their customers’ IT infrastructure, thus improving the ability for those customers to innovate and compete. Given the rapid rate of change in the IT industry, VARs should continue to look for new opportunities to participate early in high growth segments of IT technology, which will affirm the partner’s value to existing customers, which is a key to continued success.

To learn more about hyperconverged solutions, download the e-book: How Hyperconvergence Can Help IT


Brian Knudtson is an IT industry expert and vExpert with 18 years of experience. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and several certifications including VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, VCP-DT, MCITP-Enterprise, and HP Master ASE.

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