To one degree or another, solution providers have been self organizing themselves under the auspices of various groups and organizations as part of a collective effort to find additional strength in numbers. But while most of these efforts have been positive steps forward, the groups involved have typically limited the number of solution providers that can participate or have imposed a series of restrictions that effectively barred large swatches of the solution provider community from joining those groups.
That’s why it’s interesting to watch the maturation of a solution provider network called the Advanced Service Network. Founded by Joe Canzonieri, president of Crescent Computer Technologies in East Hanover, N.J. and some other like minded solution providers, ASN today claims to have more than 400 members.
The core function of the group has been to provide a simple way for any solution provider to find a potential partner to work with in a geographical area where that solution provider has no physical presence but still needs to service the demands of a particular customer. There are no fees to join but ASN does try to limit the number of solution providers in the network that are from a particular geographic area in order to keep members in a specific area from having to undercut each other’s bids for a particular piece of business.
As ASN has grown, the need to bring some more professional oversight to the organization has not been lost on Canzonieri, who is now recruiting people from the solution provider and vendor community to serve on the first board of directors of ASN. Down the road, Canzonieri envisions the group having regional conferences among its membership and being able to deliver more substantial benefits beyond the deals it currently gets member on travel.
As solution providers become increasingly comfortable with partnering with other solution provider organizations, organizations like ASN have the potential to play a crucial role in the continuing evolution of the channel.
Just like any set of organizations with common interests, solution providers will increasingly come together to lobby for their interests with one collective voice. Today solution providers rely too much on vendors, distributors or other third parties to act on behalf of their interests. In the future, solution providers need to come together to create their own organization that is specifically run by and for solution providers.
ASN may not ultimately be that organization but it seems like a step forward in the right direction and as such it warrants all our continuing attention. For more information, check out ASN at asnsolutions.com.