I liken the pace of business and change today to that of a world-class hurdler who clears one hurdle just in time to regroup for the next. That runner barely has enough time to get his or her feet grounded before it’s time to gear up for the next hurdle.
The pace of change for the IT value-added reseller is similar. Today, shareholder value, mitigation of risk, improved cash flow and maximization of business outcomes is what drives IT. End customers, frankly, don’t really care about who makes the widget that will help them create success. To keep pace with a world in which IT changes are coming at you fast while showing your customer that you can meet their business needs, you must have Dynamic Value Partnerships (DVP) or, as Cisco refers to it, Fast IT. These will allow you to create an ecosystem of IT products and services that will help you avoid skinned knees in front of a downed hurdle while your competitors head to the finish line.
At the end of the day, there are two sides to the technology marketplace – the commodity side, which is the technology itself, and the intellectual side, which is the side that focuses on the value for the end customer. All VARs want to be on the intellectual side, where they are a valued partner offering more than just a widget. As a VAR, you want to be the architect who not only knows what pieces are needed to build a great product for your customer, but who can also see the bigger picture and put those pieces together for your customer.
Today’s unprecedented volumes of data make it even more necessary for a VAR to be that architect. You must have Fast IT or DVP, the tight alliances and partnerships that allow you to offer flexible consumption that is utilization based, to create the best offerings for your customers to keep up with massive volumes of data and the rapid pace of change.
While many companies approach the idea of DVP as one of a technology alliance with walls in place to shield other areas of the business, we believe that DVP includes technology, IP, financial expertise, manufacturing expertise and, really, any part of the business that you may need for your end customer. In fact, as the VAR, you may only have 10 percent of the offering, while the remaining 90 percent comes from the DVP.
The DVP will dynamically expand and contract, as you need to use them. We aren’t talking about outsourcing, which is very tactical and perfunctory. In the federal space, for example, you would partner with someone who understands that space, then learns more about the end-customer’s business to get a handle on their profile, what buying vehicles they have access to, what they need access to, whether they are an 8A or not and why not, etc. In other words, he brings value to the DVP so you don’t have to put a federal expert on your payroll or build that part of your practice only to find out while you were building it things have been changing.
Each partner in the DVP will have a very deep understanding of his or her own expertise. They will develop a very strong understanding of your business, your culture, the players and the people in your organization. The result is a much better relationship that can serve an end customer better than you could with a commoditized outsourcing play. It’s a new day. It’s a new way, and partners are realizing that the answer is Fast IT/DVP. Just six or seven months ago, many VARs were still highly resistant to the concept of creating a partnership or alliance – a DVP – with a company that they considered a competitor.
There were those who wanted to build it themselves, but quickly realized the cost, time and inflexibility that would entail. There were those who decided to cobble together an offering, but that isn’t scalable.
Today, more and more of our partners get it. They understand that building it themselves is cost prohibitive and lacks flexibility, they know that cobbling something together can create more problems than it solves. They are willing to get over the reticence they may have had to partner with former competitors to create Fast IT/DVP.
Being willing to get over the first hurdle – understanding the value of DVP and what it can mean for a VAR – will ensure that you are in the race and not left tending your skinned knees while your competitors are finishing the race.