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In a two-part episode of Channel Insider: Partner POV, host Katie Bavoso chatted with Andy Whiteside, the President and CEO of XenTegra, about the concept of being a “value-added reseller 2.0 (VAR 2.0).”

Andy’s experience encompasses a journey from customer to VAR partner, followed by working for a managed security service provider (MSSP) and subsequently for a couple of VARs, predominantly focusing on Microsoft and Citrix technologies.

Adding value to customers and breaking the “transaction-focused model”

In the opening section of the discussion, Andy explained how the traditional VAR model players, which used to focus on adding value for both customers and vendors, have largely disappeared due to being acquired by larger companies, leading to a more “transactional” approach prevailing in the technology reseller industry.

Andy’s vision for XenTegra centers around redefining the VAR model by prioritizing partnerships and adding value at every stage of customer-vendor interaction. “The idea of XenTegra is you can still have a great business while adding value along the way and kind of breaking that transaction-focused model,” Andy said. This approach underscores the importance of fostering long-term relationships with clients and partners, focusing on delivering value beyond mere transactions.

The conversation also delved into XenTegra’s partnership with ServiceNow and Salesforce and Andy also shared insights on how channel providers can leverage Microsoft Copilot.

Listen to the Part 1 of the podcast:

Watch the Part 1 video:

Empowering industries across the spectrum

Central to XenTegra’s ethos is its commitment to serving a diverse range of industries. “We serve industries where companies use technology-specific applications,” Andy said. “We just want to go help them solve the challenges that we know they’re facing.”

Throughout the interview, Andy reiterated XenTegra’s community-centric approach, viewing the company as more than just a business entity. He emphasized, “We are a community of employees and customers and partners. It’s a movement. It’s a community. It’s a company,” highlighting the collective spirit and collaborative effort of XenTegra.

Building trusted partner relationships beyond just being transactional

Creating and nurturing trusted partner relationships is an important aspect of being a reseller, MSSP, or technology advisor. Andy highlighted the strategic partnerships with technology providers like ServiceNow and Salesforce, emphasizing the value of advisory and value-added support. He noted the significance of partners who provide products and services, guidance, and strategic insights.

Andy mentioned, “We are a Salesforce customer. And we went through partner after partner after partner, and those same partners would do whatever we told them to do, but we were looking for true advisement. We were looking for them to come up with ideas. We were looking for them to, you know, something as simple as taking us to the Salesforce Dreamforce conference so that we could come up with ideas on our own to work with them on the concept of being that next level value-added reseller.”

This statement highlights the value of building relationships based on trust, collaboration, and mutual investment in growth.

How does XenTegra partner with and build off of ServiceNow?

XenTegra’s partnership with ServiceNow plays a critical role in its strategy to deliver integrated solutions to its clients. Andy underscored the significance of integrating technologies and APIs with ServiceNow to leverage its capabilities across different business functions. “We have all these other technologies, and because we sell and service these other technologies, we want to help customers who invest in the ServiceNow platform either through our managed service or directly by a relationship with ServiceNow. We want to help get the technologies and the APIs integrated with those technologies into ServiceNow so that you can then do stuff with ServiceNow,” Andy mentioned.

Exploring Microsoft Copilot and generative AI

Launched in 2023, Microsoft Copilot is a chatbot tool integrated with Microsoft 365 to help users navigate complex tasks more effectively.

Being a new generative AI tool, its potential is vast and constantly evolving. “It’s newish. It’ll be evolving. Like, I don’t think there is an end to the evolution of what the generative AI world will be used for, specifically, in this case, Microsoft Copilot,” Andy explained. “It’s kind of like digital transformation, and there is no end with Microsoft Copilot and AI as part of a digital transformation, which is a subset of that, there is no end. It’s just a matter of where are you at and where are you trying to go next,” he added.

His insights into generative AI highlight its transformative potential across industries. Andy advocates for businesses to embrace digital transformation as a strategic imperative for future success.

Building strong vendor partnerships

In the second part of the interview, Andy delved into the vendors that provide significant support to XenTegra, explored the future of XenTegra’s partnership with VMware post its acquisition by Broadcom, and shared why he finds being on the partner side more fulfilling than being on the vendor side.

Andy highlighted the significance of vendor partnerships and acknowledged the contributions of technology providers such as Citrix, Microsoft, VMware, Chrome OS, and Nutanix in shaping XenTegra’s solutions.

Listen to Part 2 of the podcast:

Watch the Part 2 video:

Adapting to market changes

Reflecting on the recent acquisition of VMware by Broadcom and the subsequent changes in the partner program, Andy emphasized the need to prepare clients for potential transitions and explore alternative solutions.

While acknowledging the impact of mergers and acquisitions in the IT industry, he highlighted the need to help clients maximize the value of their investments and navigate technological shifts smoothly. “Let’s explore a Nutanix. Let’s explore a Microsoft Azure stack or some alternative as far as VMware and us are super excited that they’ve chosen us to stay on board as a partner, and that’s because we have been doing transactions for them all along and they love and recognize what we are doing in that value.”

What does XenTegra look for in a partner?

XenTegra seeks partners who are proactive in creating opportunities and driving demand. Andy mentioned the importance of vendors creating their own “wave” or go-to-market strategy, which partners like XenTegra can enhance and amplify to benefit both vendors and clients. By demonstrating a proactive approach to generating demand and adding value to customers, potential partners can align more effectively with XenTegra’s business model and objectives.

Don’t miss out on the valuable insights shared in the episode above featuring Katie Bavoso and Andy Whiteside. Remember to hit that like button and subscribe for upcoming interviews, special content, and exclusive opportunities!

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