It makes sense. As time goes on and technology evolves, IT environments are only getting more complex. Businesses need organizations that can offer guidance on how to navigate these complexities. They need experts that will take a look at their needs and offer informed advice on everything from productivity software to infrastructure enhancements.
In the past, companies relied on Value-Added Resellers (VARs), organizations reselling products with some added benefit. These organizations are still around and they’re still worth working with if that’s all you need in an IT partner.
In fact, that’s how Insight started out — for years, we were known only as a technology reseller. But over time, our clients have come to us with increasingly complex problems. We’ve discovered that many companies need help with bigger projects, such as implementing new technology, improving their holistic view of their infrastructure or even outsourcing their IT entirely … which is why we’ve evolved into a super solution integrator.
Three tiers of IT capabilities
If companies need more than a procurement partner, they turn to a Systems Integrator (SI) or Super Solution Integrator (SSI). These organizations usually have a more robust list of offerings.
When you imagine these three types of IT partners ― VARs, SIs and SSIs ― think of them in three tiers of increasingly expansive capabilities.
On the lower tier, you have the value-added resellers. VARs are great at procuring and deploying the hardware and software you need, all at the right price.
Within the middle tier are the solution integrators. SIs have more capabilities than VARs, including the expertise to consult on the right technology, then integrate those solutions into one, cohesive system.
Now, these are not mutually exclusive categories. An SI can be a VAR and a VAR can be an SI, but an SI is not always a VAR and a VAR is not always an SI.
The top tier is reserved for SSIs. Super solution integrators can both procure and deploy, as well as consult on and integrate, the right technology for your business. Plus, they have the ability to manage the entire process from end-to-end. These are your innovation gurus.
The rise of the systems integrator
Systems integrators are nothing new. In the past few decades, as technology became more integral to business operations, companies began to purchase new software and hardware to help them keep up. The problem was that these new technologies often didn’t integrate well with existing systems — or each other.
Over time, many companies have found themselves with a huge network of IT “solutions” that they can’t get the most out of because the systems were so disparate. Eventually, in-house teams turned to outside organizations to help integrate their technologies and bring order to their chaotic IT environment.
A new breed of systems integrator
These days, businesses are still struggling to maintain high levels of integration, but there’s also a new problem to contend with.
The phrase on everyone’s lips is “digital transformation.”
We always hear that “technology is moving at an unprecedented pace.” And it’s true. We’re living in an age of constant innovation and the businesses that can’t keep up are the ones that fail. The problem is: How do you keep daily operations going while focusing on keeping up with the quick pace of business? We see companies wrestle with this delicate balance all the time.
That’s why the third tier of IT partner, the super solution integrator, exists. These organizations not only do what an SI does, they also manage the overall process of change and help companies excel at innovation.
Ask yourself: What are we trying to achieve?
When searching for an IT provider, it’s crucial that you pinpoint your end goal. What is it, exactly, that your business is trying to achieve?
If you’re solely focused on:
- Getting the best price for hardware and software
- Streamlining the IT procurement process
- Decreasing the deployment time for new technology
… you can go with a value-added reseller.
If you need to:
- Integrate multiple IT procurement systems.
- Get expert advice on the best solutions for its challenges.
- Develop solution subsystems to make everything work together.
… a systems integrator might do the trick.
If you’re looking to:
- Move away from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based architecture.
- Improve your customers’ digital experiences.
- Focus on innovating within your industry.
… you need a super solution integrator.
Scaling is critical.
The most vital characteristic of a good IT partner is the ability to scale with your business. As your company grows and encounters new challenges, it needs an organization that has the expertise and capabilities to tackle them.
So when onboarding an IT vendor, make sure you’re not just taking into account today’s problems, but tomorrow’s as well. Look at your business’s future plans and technology goals, and choose a partner that will make them a reality.