Autotask VARStreet: Helping VARs Counter CDW?

As more businesses purchase technology from big online storefronts, a key theme is emerging at the Autotask Community Live event: Solutions providers and distributors are talking about leveraging VARStreet to more effectively compete with CDW's online storefront. Here are the details.

As you may recall, Autotask acquired VARStreet in March. VARStreet is a SaaS-based product sourcing dashboard that ties into more than a dozen different distributor systems. At Autotask Community Live, a Miami event that has attracted roughly 500 VARs and MSPs, attendees are exploring how they can leverage VARStreet to potentially (A) build online storefronts and (B) source more products and (C) create more customer stickiness to keep customers away from big ecommerce sites like Amazon.com and CDW.

Autotask CEO Bob Godgart told attendees this morning that they need to balance services and product revenues to maximize profits. It sounds like VARStreet will fully integrate with Autotask within two weeks or so. And longer term, it sounds like VARStreet will have an enhanced online storefront platform to help VARs create stronger customer stickiness.

It all sounds very promising, but as MSPmentor has pointed out VARStreet required considerable polish before Autotask announced the acquisition in March 2010. VARStreet has been an online product sourcing service for more than a decade, and sources say it had been up for sale multiple times. Autotask quietly acquired the company several months ago, and spent about six months polishing VARStreet's web site and back-send services. The initial fruit of that labor debuted in March 2010, but more surprises are expected in the next few months.

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