Companies that resell or have had a third-party channel handling products/services on behalf of an end-user are familiar with the concept of a value-added reseller (VAR).
Indeed, VARs came of age in the IT era, when the main focus was selling a piece of hardware or software. But as cloud computing has taken a firm hold on business technology, VARs have taken on new meaning and responsibilities.
These “hybrid VARs” are influential in cloud-based services. Their vendors tend to be cloud-computing companies, and the VARs are solution-oriented as opposed to sales-driven.
Getting Started With Hybrid VARs
A successful hybrid VAR channel partner should have expertise beyond product lines of the companies they represent – they should truly understand a product’s role in the overall online solution. A skilled hybrid VAR can recommend complementary technologies, such as cloud-based file sharing, SMS communications, Hosted PBX, and more.
Most of all, effective hybrid VARs can clearly describe the benefits of cloud technology to the partner companies and end-user.
What Hybrid VARs Need From Vendors
An open mind. Hybrid VARs have established a firm footing among the cloud computing services. Most have expertise in matching services and technologies that may not have been as feasible before cloud computing. For instance, a hybrid VAR may suggest a new and different way to handle data storage in the cloud, allowing it to be held securely yet instantly accessible to select users.
Buy-in from the top. Cloud services are fully integrated into the business infrastructure of many vendors. Savvy business executives understand that this service is here to stay and will only evolve as the technology improves. It’s important for C-level decision-makers to truly understand the hybrid VAR’s capabilities for everyone to be on board with this new role.
Incentive. In the past, a VAR may have responded to rewards like advertising packages, competitive margins, or bonus SPIFFS. Today, they are more interested in API platforms for the cloud – and there are a few to choose from:
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) APIs provide access to a cloud environment
- Software as a Service (SaaS) APIs connect the application-layer with the cloud and underlying IT infrastructure
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) APIs provide basic infrastructure control
- Cross-platform APIs depend on more than one cloud provider to deliver all its services
Hybrid VARs combine traditional VAR support with the expertise of emerging cloud technologies. Overall, a move to hybrid VAR services offers new opportunities for value-added sales.