CRN Channel News


  • Sales Cycles Stall
    If shorter sales cycles are a key indicator that the IT business is on the cusp of improving, then the possibility of a robust recovery is still up in the air. Because, while there are exceptions, most solution providers are reporting to VARBusiness' 2004 State of the Market pollsters that sales cycles haven't changed markedly in the past year.
  • VARs and their clients are eagerly getting started on new projects


    Greenback Comeback
    After cutting back its IT spending by 5 percent this year, Arch Chemicals is laying the groundwork to refresh its applications and infrastructure in 2004. In fact, next year could turn out to be the first in nearly five years that the Norwalk, Conn.-based company, a midsize enterprise with $1 billion in revenue and approximately 3,000 employees, does not trim IT spending.
  • Despite deficit challenges, the public sector still plans to spend on IT


    Government Alert
    While some VARs focusing on the private sector are still reluctant to even whisper the words "cautious optimism," it seems many serving the federal, state and local government sectors are shouting it out loud that they expect a healthy demand for IT services, equipment and software in the coming fiscal year. According to VARBusiness' 2004 State of the Market research, in terms of projected sales increases, 50 percent of midsize VARs expect a revenue jump of more than 20 percent from their government customers, and 58 percent of small VARs anticipate their sales to grow by more than 20 percent this year. Meanwhile, 39 percent of large VARs expect revenue generated by their government customers to grow more than 20 percent.
  • Solution providers are embracing a new concept--collaboration


    Teaming With Success
    Last September, VAR Joe Palmer was able to organize an event that years ago would have been considered taboo. He invited 17 solution providers to attend a Cisco Systems Security seminar and NetIQ security presentation held at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
  • How and why VARs are becoming specialized in vertical markets and technologies


    The Perfect Fit
    Rohit Mehrotra probably didn't need another solution-provider company, but what the heck. He already ran Vivare, a successful IT consultancy based in Plano, Texas, that he and COO Jessie Mann founded in 1997. But last year, Mehrotra saw an opportunity that he couldn't pass up. Sprint was selling its E-Solutions group for an attractive price, and Vivare decided to purchase portions of the telecom's consulting operation, including 250 employees, and create a new solution provider called Paranet Solutions.
  • Business tech integrator BearingPoint focuses on its core clients


    Rand Blazer Is Fired Up!
    Randolph Blazer is feeling pretty good lately. The BearingPoint chairman and CEO recently returned from a trip to China and Japan and is jazzed about the growth potential he saw there. He's also thrilled with the way his beloved Colts are getting the ball into the end zone. As much as anything, however, Blazer is finally feeling better about the state of the market, which he believes just might see a double-digit revenue pop next year.
  • An uptick in services can help product-centric businesses


    At Your Service
    Given much thought to Unisys lately? You know, the Blue Bell, Pa.-based company spawned from the merger of Sperry and Burroughs? The hardware company that consistently lost ground to IBM and Compaq throughout the 1980s and 1990s? What's going on? Is it moribund? Contemplating Chapter 11, perhaps?
  • Your 2004 Survival Guide


    Who's Threatening Your Business?
    When Merrill Lynch issued a report a couple of months ago that detailed its upgraded rating of Ingram Micro, the 13-page report examined issues that could directly affect the distributor's business, such as its cost structure, operating margins--and competitive threats. Among those threats, the securities firm named Dell and increased direct-sales activity from Hewlett-Packard, which represents about one-third of the distributor's business.
  • There’s no such thing as too much information from vendors


    Spread the Word
    No matter what kind of solution provider you are--storefront shop, multinational conglomerate or something in between--chances are you've been there: Certain you're on top of every offering from your vendors, one of your customers suddenly asks about a product, and you realize that, far from being in the know, you're in the dark.
  • How to win customers and influence their tech decisions


    Influence Peddlers
    Norbert Sluzewski tells a familiar tale. His company, 40-person, New York-based VAR DataVox Technologies, was called in by his client to help a big-name product vendor work on a particular IT solution. During the meeting, the client ignored DataVox's recommendations and went with the vendor's solution, which promised the moon and the stars.
  • VARs look to Microsoft to drive their growth in 2004


    Full Sales Ahead
    Sometimes it's good to be the king. King of software, that is.
  • If you’ve survived the brutal economy thus far, congrats


    Making Alterations
    Four Microsoft business partners recently packed into a chilly convention center room in New Orleans to chat up Jeff Raikes, group vice president of productivity and business services at Microsoft. The planned topic: Office System 2003, the latest product darling to emerge from Redmond. Raikes, who is known to regale the suite's technical prowess and business potential, held back this day, at least initially, and asked the partners a simple, stark question: "So, how's business?"
  • Solution providers take charge of their destinies


    Winds of Change
    If there's one overarching takeaway from VARBusiness' 2004 State of the Market survey, it's that solution providers have become adept at creating success on their own terms. Whether it's through cultivating word-of-mouth repeat business within a specific industry or geography, a knack for picking the right partners to reinvent themselves according to the needs of an engagement, or an ability to specialize in cost-effectively executing a solution, VARs are telling us they get the point: Play to your strengths.
  • State of the Market Methodology
    To provide a snapshot of the current marketplace and offer insight into the conditions solution providers can expect to face in the year ahead, VARBusiness conducted its 16th annual State of the Market research of solution providers. Partnering with Answers Research, a Solana Beach, Calif.-based market research and consulting firm, VARBusiness surveyed more than 1,000 solution providers whose revenue categorized them as either a small (earning less than $1 million in gross annual revenue), midsize (between $1 million and $10 million in gross annual revenue) or large firm ($10 million or more in gross annual revenue).
  • A look at how vendors’ best partners fared in 2003


    The Partners Of the Year
    Every year, many of the industry's top vendors dole out their "Partner of the Year" awards to the best and brightest solution providers. In preparing this special Business Intelligence issue, which takes a look at the partners that constitute the channel and the state of their market today, I thought it would be worth looking at how these benchmark solution providers performed in 2003. Would their success, or lack thereof, provide insights on the unique state of affairs in the channel today? Here's what I found.
  • Amazon Opens Up
    These days, when you think about leaders in Web services, you tend to think about IBM, Microsoft or Sun -- or some other tools vendor that is providing interfaces, code and applications servers. But my candidate for the top spot isn't a vendor of computer software. It does sell a lot of stuff, though, in fact more than most Web sites and with a wide range of products and items. My candidate is Amazon.com.
  • Musical Chairs At Lotus -- Again
    IBM's Lotus division has lost another channel chief. Frances West, the longtime IBM veteran who has been director of channels at Lotus for just under 18 months, assumed a new position in IBM Research within the past few weeks, leaving a vacancy in the partner post.

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