Lessons Of A Lifetime

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Most often, people win a lifetime achievement award at the end of their careers. The honor serves more as a retrospect of past glories rather than a harbinger of great things to come. Not so with Bruce Geier.

The president and CEO of Technology Integration Group took the stage earlier this month at New York City's Gotham Hall to accept the 2008 VARBusiness 500 Lifetime Achievement Award. And he did so not simply as a survivor, but as a leader of the channel's new global push.

Can be reached via e-mail at czarley@everythingchannel.com.

Geier has been in business for 27 years and has morphed from selling PCs to small and medium businesses in 1981 to crafting complex IT solutions for commercial and public-sector clients. Along the way, Geier realized that his brand and his reputation superseded that of his vendor partners.

During his acceptance speech, he recounted the days when IBM bequeathed medallions to resellers, authorizing them to sell the IBM PC. Win a medallion from IBM or an authorization from Apple or Compaq, and your success was assured. While Geier thanked his vendor partners, including Dell, for much of TIG's success, a big shout out from the vendors for his efforts would have been more appropriate. In the grand scheme of things, manufacturers need solution providers more than solution providers need manufacturers.

It's folks like Geier and a legion of other solution providers who carry the flag for point-product vendors. Geier was one of the first to understand that solving your customers' business problems holds far more weight than advertising yourself as some vendor's authorized reseller.

Now Geier is set to take that tenet to the global arena. U.S. solution providers lead the world in transforming seemingly disparate technologies into complex business solutions. Geier and his vendor partners realize that if they can bottle that elixir and together bring that to global markets, they can significantly expand their combined channel. Already Geier is poised to take on China, where he says the channel climate is much like it was in the U.S. in the 1980s. TIG's domestic revenue will come close to $300 million in 2008, but Geier sees global revenue matching his U.S. sales within five years.

That doesn't sound like a man who's ready to hang it up. After accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, Geier spoke on the value of change in the tech industry. "I believe in change, and I think everyone here is selling change. It is very important," he said.

And Geier is living proof of that.

What's the global strategy for your business?
E-mail me at czarley@everythingchannel.com.

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