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Smarter Solutions for VAR Customers
By George L. Koroneos
Close to a hundred solution providers and industry leaders gathered together at VSR’s Business Optimization Summit 2011, in early November, to discuss and learn about the latest business strategies, technologies, and services being used to boost sales and productivity.
This year’s summit focused on the theme of The Enterprise Approach: Smarter Solutions to Serve Your Customer. The goal of the event was to motivate solution providers to move beyond the role of a technology reseller, and encourage them to seriously consider adding new services and solutions to their portfolio to make themselves more integral to their clients.
“The world is changing at a faster pace than ever,” VSR Publisher Albert Guffanti said in his introductory comments. “This is especially true for your customers. The key thing to understand, and what makes this event so important, is that regardless of which sector your dealing with, it’s no longer just about keeping up to date with fast paced trends. It’s about learning how to realign your organization, so that it can’t fall behind.”
Led with an insightful keynote speech from ScanSource POS & Barcoding President Jeff Yelton, VSR’s third annual summit featured some of the top thought leaders in the Channel discussing top-of-mind topics ranging from business intelligence to mobility. “We live in a world where microchips are being put into cars, appliances, people, and livestock,” Yelton said. “We live in this world that’s completely integrated. The question is: How do we, as value-added resellers, operate in that type of world.”
Yelton went on to explain that businesses are producing a copious amount of data that must be collected, scrubbed, and translated into a language that customers can understand. “Data intelligence is the key overriding issue that we are talking about,” he explained. “It’s fairly easy to grab some information and pull a report on it. What’s hard is data analytics—taking that data, analyzing it, and making a business decision on that data.” The question is whether the solution provider will pass this project to another vendor, or take on a leadership role and help the client move to the next level.
IHL Group President Greg Buzek urged the audience to consider tablets as a solution for retailers trying to close the information gap between the customer and retail employee. “In your portfolio, mobile has to be an option,” Buzek said during his presentation. “If you are not doing something with tablets or are planning to do something with tablets, you need to do it right now. It is the single largest trend we’ve seen since the Internet. This is a bigger trend than people doing PCI compliance.”
The other big topic of discussion was cloud computing, which has generated a ton of buzz in the Channel, but only a few solution providers have found a way to truly incorporate it into their product offering. Miles Technologies President Tom Beusch explained how his company was able to convert its warehouse management software system to the cloud and why it worked out well. “What we found was that every time we wanted to sell our premise-based system, we had to either customize it or it was too expensive for some clients,” Beusch said. “By putting it into the cloud, we could make it a subscription, and it’s now selling for $695 to $995 a month. So now the entry point is much less, they don’t have to have IT resources in place, and it can now be treated as an expense rather than a capital cost.”
For the first time, VSR simulcasted, live, the entire first day of the Business Optimization Summit, giving solution providers that couldn’t make the event a chance to view presentations by Yelton, Buzek, SAP’s Kurt Bilafer,
The Solutions First Council, and a panel of industry thought leaders.
“VSR BOS fills an important niche by focusing on the channel without applying a specific product/vendor filter,” said Joe Rife, president of Geneva Group. “This balance created great value that I have not found in previous vendor/partner conferences.”
The event is now available on demand for anyone that couldn’t make it to Boston or missed the initial simulcast. Visit vsr.edgl.com/bos11/simulcast to view it.
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