10 Key Trends At OnForce
So, you’re a VAR looking for new customer and project engagements. With that goal in mind, roughly 10,000 VARs now use an online marketplace from OnForce to win on-site IT service contracts. What’s next from OnForce? The VAR Guy toured the company’s new headquarters near Boston, and met with CEO Peter Cannone and Senior VP Paul Nadjarian. Here are 10 key takeaways from today’s conversation.
10. Monster Opportunity?: Nadjarian compares the OnForce marketplace to dice.com. While dice.com connects IT pros with full-time career engagements, OnForce connects VARs with outsourced IT engagements, he noted.
9. Welcome to Red Sox Nation: Cannone recently moved OnForce’s headquarters from New York to the Boston area in order to attract more software developers and local university grads to the company. OnForce’s new offices are 14,000 square feet, compared to a former headquarters in New York with 7,000 square feet. Cannone told The VAR Guy he’s welcome to work from OnForce’s offices during travels to the Boston area. Careful what you ask for, OnForce.
8. Family First: In order to entice the vast majority of OnForce’s New York workforce to the New England headquarters, the company helped employees’ spouses find new jobs in the New England area, notes Cannone.
7. Leaping Across the Pond: OnForce recently expanded its marketplace into Canada. The next stop is likely the United Kingdom sometime in 2008, according to Nadjarian. Among the biggest challenges with going international: Enhancing the OnForce marketplace to support localized tax laws.
6. Lobbying for Business: One of the fastest-growing opportunities for VARs in the OnForce marketplace involves customers that want digital signs and LCD displays in lawyer offices, doctor offices and other lobby areas.
5. Can You Hear IP Now?: Over the past year, OnForce’s membership has extended its skill set to offer blanket VoIP expertise across the US.
4. Apple Envy: The VAR Guy was carrying his new iPhone and mentioned his love for his iMac. Nadjarian conceded that he’s ready to make a Mac move on his own over the next few weeks. Smart man.
3. Same Number, Bigger Universe: At first glance, the OnForce marketplace has stagnated at about 10,000 IT service providers . However, OnForce actually deactivates VAR accounts after a period of inactivity. So, the actual number of VARs who jump into the system from time to time is far higher than the 10,000 figure.
2. Turbo Charging Managed Services: OnForce is working closely with Autotask and other MSP platform providers to ensure data integration. While platform providers are the engines for managed services, the OnForce marketplace “turbo charges” those engines by ensuring an on-site, face-to-face component to managed services, Nadjarian asserted.
1. Will Dell Come Calling?: As he exited OnForce, The VAR Guy couldn’t help but wonder if Michael Dell would soon come calling on this company. While Michael continues to reach out directly to Global 2000 CIOs, Dell needs a service organization to more effectively support small and mid-size customers. In theory, OnForce (and its members) could be a perfect fit for Dell’s SMB needs.