The Role of Solutions Providers in Converged Solutions
In a blog featured a few weeks back on The VAR Guy, I discussed what organizations are looking for when turning to their solution providers for converged infrastructure solutions. It inevitably comes down to reduced complexity, assured performance levels and meeting SLAs with highly scalable solutions that will meet future requirements. But what is the role of solution providers in assuring that all of this is available in a solution, and what do they need to know to compete in the growing converged infrastructure market?
First, solution providers need to do their homework in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor’s offerings, since there are a large and growing number of options available. While some suppliers have best-in-class solutions for a given product, adding in other supplier products to form a converged solution may alter performance. Although many well-known infrastructure vendors offer converged solutions, you should not rule out smaller competitors that may have unique functionality (and perhaps even better economic value) in their solutions.
ID'ing Business Value
Solution providers’ most significant skill in delivering converged solutions is identifying the business value those systems provide. For some customers, that value may be the ability to reduce capital expenditures on IT infrastructure. For others, it may be installing higher-performance, modernized equipment that improves reliable access to applications and data. The most successful solutions providers understand how to identify the way in which each customer’s specific business needs can be met by converged infrastructure and provide the best possible solution for their needs—not necessarily force-fitting a particular configuration. Solution providers should also make sure that they are paying close attention to the solutions that are purpose-built for virtualized environments, since the vast majority of customers now have adopted virtualization to at least some degree.
Finally, solution providers need to understand that their best financial opportunity in delivering converged solutions is in higher-margin consulting, applications sales and support, and ongoing management services. Simply reselling converged solutions, pre-built or built on site, only goes so far in an increasingly crowded market when pricing pressure begins to rise.
At the end of the day, the most successful solution providers remain competitive by doing their research on vendor offerings, identifying the business value in their solutions, and, of course, always being able to demonstrate the tangible economic and operational benefits to the customer by adopting converged infrastructure.
As a leading IT solutions partner, Avnet has the ability to take a lot of time out of the research process for solutions providers with its extensive knowledge and capabilities in delivering tools and services for converged solutions. Avnet has direct relationships with the channel’s leading solutions suppliers, and it provides considerable technical resources to aid solutions providers in selling, installing and supporting those solutions. By partnering with Avnet for its robust technical and business capabilities, solution providers can address the converged solution market opportunity with a high degree of confidence in their likely success.
For more solutions-focused, channel insight, visit the Avnet Advantage Blog.
Phillip Privett is vice president, Technology and Solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.