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Are you better off now than you were 10 years ago?
With the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it seems appropriate to ask that variant of Ronald Reagan’s famous campaign line, and examine how being a VAR has changed in the past 10 years and how solution providers are faring today.
“It hasn’t got any easier,” laughs Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider and IT infrastructure consulting company. “You have to be a lot smarter. You have to be a services-led, vertically oriented company so you can provide value to your customers.”
That’s a pretty good summation. The old days of being an IT “reseller” are largely done and gone. Sure, some VARs still make money on the margins (of products, that is). But more than ever, solution providers today make their living from value-added services, from IT implementation and break-fix support, to managed services, to business process consulting, to deep expertise in specific technologies and/or vertical industries.
Solution providers today must lead with services “as the key ingredient to make it all work. The hardware and software are secondary. You really have to be a specialist and a thought leader,” Pyle said. “It’s not price and availability of the product.”
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