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CentricsIT CEO: Secondary Equipment Tops In Value

Derek Odegard talked recently with ChannelWeb to share CentricsIT's strategy and focus.

It is the company's goal provide customers with solution choices that include the secondary market, a strategy they hope will help customers maximize the return on their technology assets. The VARs' "Technology Asset Solutions," are intended to drive down customers' total cost of ownership, extend the useful life of their IT infrastructure and provide customers with creative asset disposal options that maximize value. CEO Odegard talked recently with ChannelWeb to share CentricsIT's strategy and focus.

You could have stayed with Presidio in an executive capacity. What was your motivation for leaving and starting CentricsIT?

It was time for a change. I also liked working for a private company. Here we can offer a blend of activities, and focus on what we know. For example, we can go out and add value to the security space. We're not a broker, that's not our game. We have millions of dollars in inventory, and offer value solutions from Sun, IBM, HP, EMC. In networking, we have Cisco, Juniper and Extreme.

What's your core customer?

We mostly play in the enterprise space, that's our concentration. We don't do desktop computers, nor are we really in the small-to-midsize segment. Primarily, we are data center focused.

What's your view of the U.S. economy?

We're uniquely positioned. My view is that everyone loves it when the economy is flying high. When it's not ... that's different. Centrics is pretty well insulated because of what we do and who we serve. Customers who only buy new equipment do more with less when times are tough. These customers see the tremendous value in secondary market equipment. The reality is that budgets are tighter. We are talking to customers now about lowering their total cost of ownership and [internally] about how to leverage our marketplace.

What does a secondary sale "look" like?

Obviously, the first thing is finding out about the client's infrastructure. When customers buy new, they don't care who they buy from. When they buy secondary equipment, it's the opposite: They care very much! They become very selective about who they buy from. When you think about it, you have [fewer] concerns when you buy a new car than when you buy a used one.

How do you reassure your potential customers?

We have five full-time engineers that have more certifications than 75 percent of new equipment VARs. We help customers with configuration, sizing, we talk to customers about needs. We ask them to consider things that others don't provide, like rentals and 3rd party maintenance. We explain that buying equipment is like driving a car off the lot. The [monetary] value of the product depreciates immediately, and the cost of servicing it goes up. We bring a solution as to how they can reengineer their service requirements to maximize them and get value out of the deal.

It's a gradual process. Some customers get it right away that the products are under a service contract, and they are tested, burned in. We even offer a lifetime warranty. There's some stigma about the secondary market. Many people envision a broker of one or two guys, which we are definitely not. Of course, it's tough to sell to someone who has had a bad experience. We spend a lot of time talking them off the ledge.

We educate them on how to do more with their resources. There's a potential of 40 percent savings buying through the secondary market. Each manufacturer has different policies on their equipment; we know how to sift through them to make it painless for our customers.

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