Transform Or Be Left Behind


We are in the middle of a huge computing transformation, and it is coming fast. As I look at the VAR500 solution providers we highlighted in this issue, one thing becomes crystal-clear: You need to be thinking very seriously about cloud and virtualization and how you are going to play in this market if you aren’t already. As in right now. Every VAR500 and Fast Growth 100 winner during the past year has already invested in building out these practices.

And as soon as you have a plan, you need to jump right over to mobility and desktop virtualization because their adoption is happening at a rapid pace. Tablets and smartphones are already changing how we do business. Heck, the earnings of those who haven’t gotten into the market yet are already affected as they see their hardware sales decline more precipitously than expected. If you don’t make the change, you will be left behind.

2011 VAR500 Home

This transition isn’t for the faint of heart either. It will require that you make investments in training and certification. Some VARs, like Ahead, made huge investments in building its own private cloud in its lab. The solution provider then created a mock airline company, which leverages this private cloud to show customers its value. Its bets are certainly paying off as Ahead, No. 142 on the VAR500 list, saw growth of 268 percent.

One of the larger solution providers, Sirius Computer Solutions, No. 33 on the VAR500 list, jumped in last year when it acquired MSI for $350 million. This allowed the VAR to broaden its middleware software skills and vertical industry expertise with a robust network operations center that has storage and server capacity on-demand and managed services. It became the first solution provider in the world to receive IBM’s prestigious Cloud Builder designation and has already built an HP Cloud Center of Excellence. This put Sirius in the enviable position of being able to offer either on-premise, off-premise, private, public or hybrid cloud solutions for customers now.

I am constantly amazed by how quickly technology changes and how the leaders in the industry can change hands in a snap. One false turn can make a leader a Luddite. Only those that take a risk will survive in the future.

CRN, too, is transforming and evolving our edit to better serve you and how you consume information. First, you may notice that we changed the methodology for our VAR500. We took out the vendor services arms with the exception of the large system integrators such as EDS and IBM Global Services. Second, we eliminated government contractors where IT systems integration was not a core part of their audience. And, finally, we removed the straight office product and e-tailers where services revenue was nondistinguishable. So with those subtractions come some exciting additions. All told, we have 215 new companies on the VAR500 that are involved in virtualization -- AV integration and software integration. The end result: a true, pure VAR list for the industry. What’s more, many of you are much higher on the list than you were in years past.

We also understand that there is a need for more information around mobility and the opportunity for VARs. In August, we will dedicate the whole issue to mobility and how core technologies that you sell will be impacted by this mobile revolution. The CRN Test Center will also look at the current tablets in the market today. Furthermore, we will have some exclusive research around mobility adoption and sales of these technologies through the channel. So stay tuned.

The bottom line is we all need to embrace change as the norm to continue to grow and thrive.

BACKTALK: Kelley Damore is VP, Editorial Director
for Everything Channel. You can reach her via e-mail at
kelley.damore@ec.ubm.com.