Resellers: On Another Planet?

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print


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Solution providers should use trade shows to show off their business talents - and not be separated from the rest of the IT community as they were at CeBIT in Germany.

It is 22 years old. It is the world’s only global technology trade show and it attracts 480,000 visitors and 6,100 exhibitors from around 70 countries. CeBIT in Germany is the last of its kind.  With the death of Comdex it is quite literally the only place where the earth’s IT industry can meet, greet, network and hobnob. 

So why the conference organizers decided to have a separate hall entirely for the channel, and then to call it Planet Reseller, is startling. 

Let us set aside for the moment that this completely separates VARs from the rest of the IT community and implies, albeit with subtlety, that solution providers really are some kind of way-out-there beings from another universe entirely, and focus on the actual hall itself.

The first thing that was evident was the lack of marketing funding spent on the stands and the size of the booths in comparison to the rest of the show. While there were many vendor stands in the VAR hall, many of them were less ordained and glamorous than their main stands in the so-called vendor halls.

Read more about CeBIT here.

More troubling than this obvious lack of marketing funding was the sheer amount of products on display. At least 80 percent seemed to be hardware, everything from flat panels, to keyboards and mice, laptop bags and headphones. There was little evidence of software solutions and worse still there was little evidence of business solutions. 

The channel has developed at a rate of knots over the past several years, changing from a hardware model to software and services, and is now going through another change into a managed services and a monthly revenue model.  And yet this amazing transformation, the ability of the channel to really give competitive advantage to end users through technology and the knowledge of solution providers to solve real business issues was sadly lacking on Planet Reseller. 

It is time the channel gained more confidence to show off about what it has achieved, and indeed its place in the IT community. And it is time that the rest of the community – conference organizers and vendors with their marketing dollars included, stopped trying to separate solution providers from the rest of the pack, and realize that, in fact, VARs are more down to earth than they might like to believe. 

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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