Are You Relevant?

The Solution Provider 500 Conference (formerly VAR500) kicks off just a week from today.  I am looking forward to this event because I can drive to it.  Actually, it’s just about 30 minutes from my house!  (By the way, that looks like my long time friend Chris Squier, of Ingram Micro, on the landing page!)

As I prepare for my Wednesday morning session (9:15 if you are planning to attend – in Charlotte at the Weston), I’ve been reviewing notes from many of the resellers I have worked with over the past year.  One of the questions that must be addressed is, “How do resellers remain relevant to the businesses they serve in the coming five to eight years?”  In case you missed the HP article I linked to several days ago, it’s worth reading.  But one paragraph strikes me as urgent – the one that compares HP to IBM over the past decade:

“Two visiting consultants are waiting for the elevator at a big company’s headquarters. One is from HP, the other from IBM. The consultant from Big Blue pushes the up button to visit the CEO on the top floor. The HP man, by contrast, hits the down button to see the IT guy in the basement. The message was clear: IBM was consorting with kings while HP was on hands and knees, fixing the plumbing. It wasn’t just a metaphor either: IBM’s pretax profit margins, just under 20%, were more than double the 8.7% HP achieved in Hurd’s last year.” – Fortune

This issue is central to my topic – Unlocking the Secrets of High Priced Consulting (See page 2 of the agenda)…Are your sales people consulting or vending?  How will your sales people remain relevant as technology continues to evolve?  Do you look more like HP, or are you pushing the “UP” button in the elevator lobby?  With cloud technology, virtualization, security, and mobility trends; increased competition (EMC brought on 5000 mid-market focused partners in the US last year); and greater scrutiny on price and cost containment…what do successful VARs look in the coming years? Do you can them VARs, or are they really IT consulting companies? Will your sales people make the next wave of technology sales?

© 2012, David Stelzl


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