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Don’t Fight IT: Convergence of Products and Services

The big thorny question for a lot of IT companies has been whether they should define themselves as resellers or services companies. In recent years, that has been made more confusing with the emergence of managed services providers. Whenever a business gets lost, the best question to ask is, “what do my customers really want from me”. The answer is simple. They want to be successful, and ALL companies of ALL sizes recognize that great IT is a requirement for both survival and success.

On your part, the simple reality is that the combination of sales and services, managed or otherwise, leads to much higher profitability. It means you can keep the client relationship for ever. It also increases your valuation which, if you are a founder or shareholder, should be a key factor for you to consider.

Take IBM, for example, easily one of the best blended companies in the world. Sure, they offer outsourcing on a huge scale but you can learn from them. They are one of the largest resellers of Microsoft technology in the world – and they are not providing IBM PCs anymore (that is being directed to several other vendors, including Lenovo). IBM figured out a long time ago that it is easier to be the advisory company influencing what gets bought than it is to be the supplier at the mercy of the selection committee followed up by the capabilities of the implementation team. The best possible position is to be the gatekeeper of all IT decision making, procurement and implementation, and servicing. So they try to own it all, to excel at planning, procurement, project management, implementation and audit and review services. Their clients want them for IT leadership.

So what does this have to do with small and medium sized IT companies with revenues from $200K to $20M? In many cases, your firm is the trusted advisor acting, in part, as an IT manager or a CIO. Why not take over and/or team up internally, and take billable ownership of that responsibility? Nobody sells anything anymore – you need to analyze needs, create a plan, and procure and implement efficiently. And services aren’t really very different from products; they have to be purchased and managed, as well. Again, you have to identify needs the client can relate to before they are going to procure services from you.

On the supply side of the industry, many IT firms are known as VARs and this is your chance to be a Super VAR – by taking the high road and helping your client to identify risks and opportunities so they can compete and excel in their market place. In order to do that, you need to enlist the help of a novel offering that fuses consulting, expertise and software in a single client engagement platform, called FuseExpertise for IT. To provide procurement as a service you also need to be extremely efficient with the entire procurement cycle – budgeting, quoting, procuring, billing, etc. That solution is iBiz10.  The two worlds come together because your client only wants one outcome, called success – and so should you. VAR Office Suite Level 1 brings these two worlds together in one low cost offering.

When you look at IT solutions for clients, you would follow a very logical path. You should apply that same path to yourself and your business. You should be a model of efficiency and effectiveness, and VAR Office Suite will start you on the right path. It’s very rare that you can relate to an offering that is the equivalent to a full employee. Leverage your entire business with FuseExpertise for IT and iBiz10 and get to a healthier and more profitable state while exceeding customer expectations. Convergence is a continuum and, despite the doom and gloom, this can be a very profitable trend.



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