Vital Adds Services, Support For ProCurve VARs

LAN Networking

John Koehler, Vital's president and CEO, said Vital will now offer equipment staging, installation, break/fix and professional engineering services to support Palo Alto, Calif.-based ProCurve's routing switches, switches, hubs and network access controllers.

Koehler said the ProCurve support services will give VARs who sell equipment, but do not offer services, a leg up. Many resellers, he said, can offer equipment, but due to geographical or staffing issues cannot offer installation, maintenance or tech support on the gear.

Vital, based in Tampa, Fla., is a service-only, multivendor networking support provider. Because Vital does not sell equipment, but only offers services and support, it does not compete with traditional resellers, Koehler said. The VARs and SIs working with Vital retain customer ownership, he said, and can private label Vital's services as their own. VARs can also receive access to sales and marketing support to help increase their service sales and revenue opportunities. Vital also offers services and support for other networking vendors, such as Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.

According to Koehler, ProCurve support gives VARs and systems integrators that resell ProCurve gear a way to offer profitable value-added services for their clients without the financial restraints of building the service infrastructure internally. VARs can use Vital's services as a turnkey solution for customers, or can select specific capabilities such as support for certain regions or areas or specific services, to supplement the services they already offer.

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"VARs can get the revenue [of services] without the expense of building the infrastructure," he said. "What we can do is leverage a lot VARs from a critical mass standpoint and package offerings to help them achieve higher margins than just selling hardware. The hardware often becomes a commodity and margins are tough in those cases."

Being able to offer customers recurring services, maintenance and support through Vital, Koehler said, gives VARs a differentiator without requiring the massive investment needed to offer advanced services.

"We can fill that need at usually a much lower cost," he said. "We make it profitable."

For many VARs, Koehler said, adding services offerings can add revenue and increase margins, but VARs that sell equipment often lack the staff to add the value of services for their customers. Vital, he said, can help them add higher margin services to their business to make up for dwindling hardware margins; differentiate themselves from the competition to win more deals; and to add higher margin service capabilities with minimal risk and without taking away from their bottom line.

Vital is already ProCurve's North American service delivery partner, Koehler said. He added that Vital is staffed with professionals that can offer 24-hour technical support and field engineering resources that are trained and ProCurve certified.

Koehler added that aligning with ProCurve, which is currently No. 2 in the enterprise Ethernet switch market behind Cisco, was a given as ProCurve rounds out its product portfolio to add more gear for the network core and edge.

"We think they're a player," he said. "We want to be able to provide support to a manufacturer that has a strong position. It just seemed like a natural thing as HP ProCurve gets deeper into the network."