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AppSmart: Customers Demanding SI, VAR, MSP, Agent Convergence

Customers want a single technology adviser who does what SIs, VARs, MSPs and agents previously did separately.

James Anderson

April 20, 2021

4 Slides

AppSmart executives urged partners to get on board with digital technology and digital commerce.

Renée Bergeron, senior vice president and general manager of the AppDirect division, said during AppSmart’s Unleash event Tuesday that the world is shifting toward digital commerce. Bergeron, a former Ingram Micro executive who joined AppSmart a year ago, said COVID-19 helped speed customers’ migration to purchasing through digital channels.

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AppSmart’s Renee Bergeron

“Now that the investments have been made, businesses have permanently removed some of the pre-crisis bottlenecks to virtual interaction, and there is no going back,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron said the shift to digital commerce comes alongside a shift in the technology. Specifically, she said mobility and cloud services are gaining traction in the market. She cited a Gartner study finding that mobility spending is increasing in the single digits every year. On the other hand, fixed data expenditures are sitting flat, and investment in fixed voice is falling.

Thus, partners must diversify their portfolios. Bergeron said partners who don’t cross-sell cloud solutions miss more than half of the ICT market.

“If your business is predominantly based on selling fixed connectivity solutions and you have not pivoted to including mobility and cloud solutions, then you’re not maximizing your growth potential,” she said.

Convergence

Bergeron also added that digital transformation is creating consolidation between technology advisers. Previously, customers needed to work with multiple technology advisers to handle different layers. They might consult a system integrator for the business application layer, a VAR or an MSP for the infrastructure layer, and a telecom agent for connectivity. However, more and more businesses would like to reduce their number of partners.

“As a result, businesses are looking to work with fewer technology advisers that can deliver a broad range of technologies,” Bergeron said. “Businesses are looking for a single adviser to build an end-to-end solution for them, and we’re starting to see technology advisers embrace this new trend.”

However, Bergeron said the supply chain for these advisers hasn’t evolved to match the consolidation. She said distributors focus too much on software, while master agents focus too much on connectivity.

Bergeron highlighted a variety of tools on AppSmart’s platform that partners can use to more effectively embrace digital technology and digital commerce. That includes automated marketing campaigns, a geo-locating tool that gives customers connectivity options, and multiple financial tools. For example, AppSmart teamed up with Stripe to automate commission deposits in a manner that Bergeron said removes human error.

Bergeron also highlighted SmartSupport, a fee-based service that agents who lack in-house technical expertise can harness. AppSmart also offers a premium version of the service.

Check out the slideshow above to learn about other topics that AppSmart and its partners discussed at AppSmart Unleash.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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