Vendors, VARs Interested in RatingsBy Pedro Pereira | Print
The nonprofit product-rating organization is giving solution providers an opportunity to prove their environmental bona fides.
Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of Ingram Micro Government and Education Sales, says solution providers and vendors alike have shown a lot of interest in the EPEAT ratings.
"The VARs are definitely paying attention to the EPEAT information that we've
posted to the Web site," he says.
During Ingram Micro’s GovEd Invitational in November, much of the discussion revolved around EPEAT ratings, he says. "Even the vendors who aren't in EPEAT yet are taking notice and talking about getting their products EPEAT rated."
The interest among providers selling to the government and education sectors is not surprising, since more and more requests for proposal have strong green IT components.
O’Brien says that as she travels around the country to evangelize and educate, she has noticed a growing interest by solution providers in going green. They are looking for information on green technology for their salespeople to use in pitching products to customers, she says.
"The more I’ve encountered resellers, the more I’ve heard that they needed more information," she says.
To fulfill that need, the EPEAT Reseller Partner program has education and information components.
Because EPEAT ratings are dynamic, as a result of new products that hit the market and the growing stringency of the criteria, information on which products meet enough criteria changes regularly. As new products attain green ratings, others fall off the database, O’Brien points out, so EPEAT sends out regular updates to keep partners current.
In addition, the organization holds seminars about how to use the EPEAT system and how solution providers can use the information in selling the products.
O’Brien says solution providers with minimum yearly revenue of $10 million pay EPEAT $500 a year to participate in the program. Those with revenue of $1 million to $10 million pay $250, and partners with less than $1 million in revenue pay $100.
While rating products gets a lot of attention, the IT channel is struggling with how to demonstrate that its services and practices also meet green credentials.
For instance, efforts are in discussion phase at the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) to launch a certification or accreditation for green IT. Solution providers that would qualify for the accreditation or certification would use it much like they use CompTIA’s A+ certifications and Security Trustmark.
The MSP Alliance, meanwhile, has launched a certification for managed solution providers that meet certain green criteria in how they operate their business.
O’Brien says EPEAT, though it focuses on product ratings, is amenable to playing a role in developing any green-related certifications for the IT channel. Already, she points out, the organization plays a strong consultative role in advising vendors on how to make their products more environmentally friendly.
Participants in EPEAT’s Reseller Partner program already include Buy.com, Softchoice and ASI Systems Integration.