CRN Channel News

  • Acquisition Propels NetScreen
    Funny how the fate of a company can turn on a dime. Take NetScreen. Just a few short months ago, the company was a promising developer of network security and access solutions for enterprise and carrier-class customers. It was best known, perhaps, for its own acquisition of Neoteris, a market leader in SSL VPN technology.
  • When it comes to business-process management, exceptions are the rule

    Automation In the Real World
    Business-process management (BPM) deals with the way organizations conduct their businesses. Even processes that appear simple become complicated as soon as they involve a large number of people. That's because the more people using the system, the more exceptions and special conditions surface. A solution provider's best defense is to be aware of--and equipped for--those types of issues. Here's what you need to know:
  • Get the IT help you need--and at the right price

    Where To Go For Free Support
    These days, VARs face real challenges and costs when it comes to finding quality technical support. Hardware and software companies continue to reduce margins, and the days of free support are pretty much gone. In its place are a sea of phone menu trees that are anything but clear-cut, and when you do break through to talk to a real person, you find yourself conversing with someone from another country who doesn't provide much help. In the end, you pay for support as you would your local shrink: for the time involved, not for whether your problem is fixed.
  • The skinny on narrow, wide, bright, tough and low-power screens

    On Display: The New Breed of Monitors
    Buying a monitor was once a relatively easy task. But as demand for displays with more than just a pretty screen has risen, their feature sets have expanded and become even more complex. These days, desktop monitors
  • IBM And HP Duke It Out For Market Dominance
    It's a two-horse race." Those are the words HP chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina uses to describe the current computing landscape where only two diverse players remain--IBM and HP. Fiorina made that insightful remark during an interview she gave minutes after she delivered a comprehensive, one-hour speech to nearly 1,000 HP partners and channel-centric employees. If she is right--and I believe she is--IBM and HP are going to battle for leadership in the computer industry for the next several years, picking up where Microsoft, Intel and Dell have left off.
  • Solution providers succeed with industry specializations

    Vertical Values
    How valuable is vertical-market expertise to your average solution provider? For many, those skills and the customers they helped win were the difference between enjoying a successful year and flirting with Chapter 11. Developing proficiency around a specific industry can take hours of methodical research and training, as well as major strategic and cultural changes within a VAR.
  • How to develop a vertical sales focus

    Find Your Niche: Vertical Sales
    With nearly 125,000 solution providers in North America, standing out among your peers is anything but easy. Clever marketing certainly helps, but a sound sales strategy is likely to yield better results if your goal is to develop a niche, line-of-business or vertical sales and marketing program. But be forewarned at the outset: Doing so must be considered an 18-month commitment, not a one-time launch.
  • Tokens, smart cards fortify user names and passwords

    Hospitals Clamp Down On Security
    It's well-known that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) shadows most IT projects in the health-care industry today. If the work involves medical records, then the federal law mandating patient privacy and data security is always close by. In turn, so are unique security requirements.
  • Vendors finally try to prevent price arbitraging--but is it enough?

    The Jig Is Up!
    For years, vendors have groused about the dastardly things certain resellers and product brokers do to manipulate the rules of fair play to make an extra buck or two on products, such as gray marketing, price arbitraging and even software pirating. Like crime or poverty, these ills have clung to the industry like parasites, sucking the lifeblood out of it. That's what we're supposed to believe, anyway.
  • Redford Still Draws an Audience
    His movies may not win as many awards or break box-office records the way they once did, but Robert Redford is still a hot ticket--even in the IT industry, where the 66-year-old film legend has been turning up lately.
  • Sour Grapes For Napa e-Voting
    Napa County recently reported that its electronic voting machines used in the March presidential primary malfunctioned and failed to record thousands of votes, which could affect the outcome of several local races. According to reports, the optical scan machines from Sequoia Voting Systems failed to record voters' ballot marks on the paper copy. County officials discovered the problem while conducting a manual recount of several precincts and saw that the number of ballots in several regions did not match the number of votes recorded by the machines.
  • Key trends, facts and interpretation you need to run your business

    Enterprise IT Needs Evolve
    IT priorities change as technology and business priorities evolve. A sneak peek at VARBusiness' 2004 Enterprise Spending survey, the results of which will be published April 19, reveals high IT demand among several line-of-business departments within enterprise-sized North American businesses: customer service, engineering, finance and accounting, and sales. Executives polled include CIOs, CEOs, CTOs and IT management.
  • Epicor Tackles Acquisition Fallout
    Ask anyone who has been through it. A much-sought-after acquisition can sometimes yield as much pain as it does pleasure. George Klaus knows that all too well. When he saw his company's stock nosedive after it acquired Data Works in 1999, the CEO of publicly held Epicor Software (No. 398 on the VARBusines 500) knew he had to consider some remedial steps immediately. "The acquisition started hitting our P&L right away," he says. "And even though we were generating cash from operations, our stock was in the $1 to $2 range in 2001 and 2002."
  • How to build your own digital-audio workstation

    Making Beautiful Music
    For digital musicians and recording engineers, it's the best of all possible worlds: First, professional-quality audio has improved radically during the past few years. Combined with a relatively modest investment, the two together means you can build a desktop solution that doubles as a world-class recording facility.
  • TechWatch: Music, PCs, Keyboards
    Welcome to the personal entertainment edition of TechWatch, from the smallest media player to the most adept wireless keyboard. Send your favorites, both good and bad, to
  • GE Access Promotes Zahl, Draper
    GE Access promoted Scott Zahl to vice president of marketing and vendor relations and Frances Draper to vice president of the distributor's Sun Microsystems business group.
  • IBM Acquires Candle To Heat Up On-Demand
    IBM Thursday said it plans to acquire privately held Candle, an enterprise infrastructure management software and services provider, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
  • Opens new front in war with Yahoo, Microsoft

    Google Parlays Search Strength In New Mail Offering
    E-mail is the No. 1 Web activity, but search is a strong second. Or so says Google, the Web search pioneer that launched its own free Web mail service Thursday, April Fool's Day.
  • GSA IT Spending Reaches Billions
    The General Services Administration (GSA) reported that spending on GSA Schedule contracts for IT products and services exceeded $15 billion in fiscal year 2003. Based on that figure, the GSA Schedule contracts account for a full one-third of external IT spending by the federal government.