VAR Roundtable: 2015 Will Be A Good Year For Solution Providers


2014 was a good year for business, but solution providers are forecasting even bigger gains in 2015.

Solution providers said Tuesday during a VAR roundtable at D&H's New England Technology Show in Quincy, Mass. that they have seen huge growth from a continued push into services and ripple effects from the end of XP support.

VARs were in agreement that they have seen monstrous growth over the past year.

[Related: Sales Soar For VARs As Businesses Seek Windows XP Upgrades]

"I'm hoping that 2015 will be the same thing or better," Jay Shah, principal at Weathersfield, Conn.-based Compu-Tech, said.

Shah expects at least 10 percent sales growth for 2014, mostly due to XP migrations.

Larry Gold, president of Mendon, Vt.-based Computer-EZ, said he has seen even greater growth from the end of XP support, jumping from a typical business year-over-year growth of 10 percent to 12 percent to an expected 20 percent to 25 percent gain for 2014. He attributed the larger-than-usual growth directly to XP-related business, and expects that to continue as winter seasonal businesses reopen, along with other opportunities in security.

York, Maine-based Microcosm also expects to see bigger gains this year, according to owner Janette Movsesian. She's forecasting 20 percent growth for this year, up from the typical 5 percent to 10 percent. That uptick, like others mentioned at the roundtable, is largely attributed to the end of XP support.

One-time benefits, such as the expiration of XP support, will help solution providers see stronger gains than in the past, Shah said. But the growth will also come as VARs continue to diversify their portfolios and pick up more services, he added.

"I think I just want to bring it up to the table. The diversification has been better. In terms of resellers, we are selling services. We are doing more than one thing. We are multitasking. We are supporting much more products and services. That is a recipe to stay and grow in this marketplace," Shah said.

The other VARs that participated in the roundtable agreed with Shah.

"Especially if your business model is to go in and be a company's IT department, you really need to offer them as much as you can," Sue Trahant, co-owner of Peabody, Mass.-based Land Computer Systems, said.

Revenue for Land Computer Systems is expected to be up 30 percent in 2014 over the year before, following 30 percent year-over-year growth for the company for the past three years, according to Land Computer Systems co-owner Richard Trahant.

At N.H.-based Portsmouth Computer Group, owner Dave Hodgdon set up quarterly business reviews to focus the company on one growth factor each quarter to evaluate its success One quarter, for example, focused on VoIP. Being disciplined --rather than just relying on XP support expiration -- is what has helped the company notch gains, according to Hodgdon.

"That's really changed the way that we've made some success and strong strides. If you try to do too much it's not going to happen. You've got to make baby steps," Hodgdon said. "You can't do everything."

Growth has been about 20 percent over 2013 for Portsmouth Computer Group, Hodgdon said.

Distributors have also been helpful in some cases for growing sales.

Richard Trahant has found that to be the case with distributors offering businesses information, training and new technology suggestions. He said he primarily uses D&H for distribution.

"I think the distributor play a very important role in bringing new products to the VAR community in particular. We really rely on them to vet new products to present to us because we handle every aspect of technology in these businesses. We really need the support of the distributors to help us better understand the product that they are distributing," he said.

PUBLISHED AUG. 14, 2014