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Health care is one of the hottest opportunities out there for solution providers, but it's also a challenging vertical market that can take the unprepared VAR completely by surprise.
Solution providers that have had success selling into health care -- especially in the wake of opportunities created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) -- do so because they can "walk the walk" and "talk the talk: understand health care pain points, speak the language of the vertical, and craft solutions with stringent regulations like HIPAA firmly in mind.
"Let's face it, health care is the new gold rush," said Jill Kerr, vice president of industry development for Comptia. "VARs and managed services providers know that there's gold in those hills, ARRA assured that. However, most solutions providers i meet don't have the picks and shovels needed to mine the gold."
Kerr hosted a health care focused panel Tuesday during COMDEXvirtual, the online conference hosted by CRN parent company Everything Channel. The show takes place November 16 - 17, and sessions are available on-demand until May 17, 2011.
Comptia now offers a range of health care specific training options for VARs -- something solution providers say will be crucial to separating the mighty from the weak in winning health care business.
MJ Shoer, president and virtual chief technology officer of Jenaly Technology Group, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based solution provider, said building a health care practice takes about 12 months. It requires training and lots of knowledge building on the ins-and-outs of the industry, as well as plenty of investment.
"It takes at least a year to get some good traction, and a multi-year practice to refine your expertise," Shoer said.
Most solution providers don't become health care experts -- or develop fully functional health-care practices -- overnight, argued Kevin McDonald, executive vice president and director of compliance practices at Alvaka Networks, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider.
"We definitely came from an evolutionary standpoint," McDonald told COMDEXvirtual attendees, emphasizing that there are many routes to market in health care and many lucrative segments.
NEXT: No Pain, No Gain