With that in mind, why would a company add an extra step to its IT supply chain? If you can buy software licenses straight from the publisher itself, why buy them from someone else? Isn’t that just adding a middleman?
VARs and Systems Integrators: End-to-end partners
In actuality, working with a third party offers many benefits. Imagine your business wants to implement Microsoft Office 365 in its offices across the nation, for example. You can certainly go straight to Microsoft to buy those licenses. But how will you implement them? How will you deploy them across all those locations without disrupting end users? How will you ensure you stay in compliance with your Microsoft agreement?
Many organizations can’t take on such a complex implementation on their own — which is why they buy through a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) or Systems Integrator (SI). A VAR or SI not only sells the products at a comparable price, but it also helps deploy, customize and manage those IT assets.
The benefits of an IT solution provider
Let’s explore four advantages of working with a third party.
A VAR or SI has substantial buying power compared to a single end user because of the sheer volume of products it purchases. These businesses typically have many clients and, therefore, buy in amounts that often exceed those of several large enterprises.
Because of that, they have an easier time negotiating lower prices with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Plus, OEMs frequently offer reseller benefits that aren’t available to customers making individual purchases.
Partnering with a VAR or SI means you’re working with an IT expert. Employees at these businesses are extremely knowledgeable not only about manufacturers and their products, but also about the IT industry as a whole. This is one of the strongest benefits of working with a reseller.
VARs and SIs have a track record of helping businesses solve various problems and can apply those experiences to your organization. With such a deep well of expertise, they can assess your needs and budget and then build an end-to-end solution that’s right for you. And, if something goes wrong, you have a trusted partner to turn to for support.
A good VAR or SI is a true solution provider. Its goal is to learn your business’s current challenges and future goals and recommend the best solution. Because VARs and SIs work with multiple OEMs, they know which combination of products is best in which situation. Instead of pushing a particular manufacturer’s products on you, they look at your overall system and suggest the ideal combination of products.
According to the 2019 Insight Intelligent Technology Index, 47% of IT decision-makers want to improve the way they use solution providers to streamline hardware lifecycles. And 45% want to implement software asset management tools and services in a smarter way.
Software asset management is another area in which VARs and SIs’ expertise is invaluable. As licensing environments and OEM contracts become more complex, keeping track of the hardware and software you purchase is critical. However, this landscape can become so complicated that it’s difficult for your internal team to manage.
A VAR will be able to offer advice and, potentially, services to help you keep up with the nuances of these environments. A good SI can help you not only track your existing assets, but also provide services and tools that streamline the entire process.
While considering these solution provider types, there is a new provider type on the horizon. These are called Super Solution Integrators — organizations that orchestrate a variety of technology solutions to drive business outcomes and enable digital transformation.