Dell has taken another step closer to the small business software world, opening the Dell Download Store -- where small business customers can download applications from Intuit, McAfee, Microsoft and other software companies. Some solutions providers and managed service providers may fear The Dell Download Store. But I have a slightly different perspective.
First, some link love: I learned about the Dell Download Store on VNUnet.
Now, my perspective: It's time for many solutions providers to get used to vendor competition in certain market segments, and stop depending so much on traditional software reseller engagements.
Of course, Dell should offer clear pricing and partner program benefits through it's PartnerDirect program. And Dell also needs to ensure partners receive favorable pricing -- or at least level pricing with end-customers. Just yesterday I heard from a VAR who was complaining about a pricing conflict with Dell -- though such complaints are landing in my inbox far less frequently these days.
Don't Confuse the IssuesStill, there are two topics here: PartnerDirect pricing is one discussion. On-demand sales for commodity software is completely different. Small businesses are increasingly inclined to go online and buy direct from vendors. In that scenario, partners face a losing battle. The customers have spoken. And in many cases, they're more than willing to buy direct.
When Nine Lives Media Inc. (MSPmentor's parent) launched operations, we went on the Web for a range of applications and hosted services. We were our own "trusted advisors."
We continue to rely on consultants and integrators for some software projects. But when it comes to off-the-shelf software: We're a small business that buys direct. Dell -- and just about every other IT vendor -- is gearing up to serve us.
I'm getting used to it. Are solutions providers?
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