Arrow Shoots For Services Path

At its first solution provider summit last week, AESS told attendees it is working out the details of the program, which it plans to roll out next month. The new services reflect the distributor's efforts to help build up the business practices of its partners, said Lance Sedlak, director of enterprise storage marketing at Arrow Electronics North American Computer Products, Englewood, Colo., of which AESS is a division.

Two consultants slated to provide services under the program took the stage at the summit. Tori Eggleston, director of planning and strategic services at Industry Direct, Atlanta, said compliance is a huge opportunity for the channel, noting that Fortune 200 companies each are projected to spend $5 million to $7 million this year to meet Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

Some storage solution providers said they're starting to see new groups of influencers, such as auditing and legal firms, that can recommend compliance services to their customers.

"In the past, it was hard to drive attendance at storage events. But when we had our first Sarbanes-Oxley event, we had a lawyer with 17a and Sarbanes-Oxley practices as a speaker, and we had to turn people away," said Kush Hathi, president of SoftNet Solutions, Sunnyvale, Calif.

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A big mistake solution providers make is marketing only because their competitors do, said Ryan Morris, president of Circa 65, a Denver marketing firm that also plans to supply services under the AESS program. If a solution provider can't correlate marketing spending with sales, it's a hollow strategy, he added. "For solution providers, marketing must be measurable," Morris said.

Last week, AESS also assembled its first storage VAR advisory council.