There is barely a vendor in the channel who hasn’t tried to play cupid of late. Whether looking to seduce VARs to join a partner program or trying to fix up VARs with each other, dating-agency style, to create meaningful partnerships, everyone, it seems, is at it.

And after all, it makes sense. In this world of tough love between end users and channel players, VARs cannot afford to be all things to all men, and must specialize in one thing or another. But by specializing, they are naturally unable to provide every service or technology required by a customer. So partnering with another VAR, who can help them provide the full end-to-end service, is an efficient way of keeping a customer happy and providing a full solution.

Except this is where a lot of vendors are slipping up. Many vendors are either arrogant enough, or misguided enough, to think that end users still buy all of their kit from mainly one vendor, through one VAR. And so their idea of marrying up two VARs actually means partnering two of their own VARs together to provide a full solution based on their own technology. But in reality it doesn’t work like that. Often, for example, an IBM VAR may need to partner with a VMware VAR, or a Cisco VAR with a Symantec VAR.  And, unfortunately, most vendors are not looking outside their own silos to help provide any kind of mixed-vendor marriages. 

But vendors cannot protect and possess their VARs forever. They cannot prevent ad hoc VAR flings from occurring between two solution providers; after all, the channel is a social bunch. Resellers have a habit of meeting up, either at industry events, such as the upcoming Ziff Davis Enterprise Channel Summit in Dallas, or at more social occasions. And even vendors cannot be so childish as to say one VAR cannot talk to another. And yet so few vendors are providing an open and diverse partner collaboration system as to fix up their VARs with another, maybe even rival vendors’ VARs.

So what is the solution for the time-restricted reseller who needs a touch of cupid’s arrow to get things started? 

One company that is helping to solve this problem is Foster MacCallum. A self-styled "dating agency for the technology industry," the firm has a database of more than 140,000 VARs across the globe, with detailed information on each solution provider. While the company helps vendors to recruit VARs, it also provides a facility to help VARs find each other. Profiles, search facilities and alerts are all part of the service, which allows VARs to view profiles of other VARs, and make educated decisions on developing the right kind of collaboration. And in this era of globalization, Foster MacCallum’s worldwide database means VARs can begin a long-distance relationship with a VAR in Europe or the Far East, a real boost if customers are demanding an international solution.

So rather than waste time scouring the Internet for someone to have meaningful and lucrative relationship with, or worse, spending time with any divorce lawyers, go straight to what could turn out to be the ultimate marriage made in, if not quite heaven, then profitable paradise.