Look, It’s Super VAR

By Steven Burke

Read this article article at CRN.com


(New York, NY – August 21, 2006) – CRN – A new class of super VARs is emerging to act as the end-to-end, one-stop IT shop for ever-demanding clients.

That’s the big story behind the story in our cover piece this week on the explosion of mergers and acquisitions sweeping through the channel. CRN Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar gets underneath the deals and delivers a penetrating look at how customer buying habits are changing. What Kovar has found is that customers are sick of the finger-pointing among various vendors and, rather than looking at a solution provider as one of several key partners, they are handing the IT solution role lock, stock and barrel to one super VAR.

Net at Work, a New York VAR that just bought Eagle Consulting and is eyeing at least two other deals, is a classic example of the new super VAR. The company is supplying its clients with end-to-end IT solutions—from business applications and e-commerce solutions to custom application development to network infrastructure, document management solutions and even networked copiers. “Our focus is to handle the entire solution so there is no finger-pointing [among multiple vendors],” said Alex Solomon, co-founder and co-president of Net at Work. “We are accountable for everything. You are seeing a lot more of that in this industry. If you are focused on small and midsize companies you need to be able to provide the entire solution.”

The super VAR trend is just one more sign of the increasing strength of the solution-provider-as-trusted-IT-adviser business model. The rise of a new crop of powerful MSP organizations is another sign of that power. On the MSP front, it’s all about customers looking for a single, predictable bill for IT operations.

At the same time this new class of super VARs is rising up to meet the ever-increasing demands of midmarket and enterprise customers, solution providers focused on small businesses are also being looked to as one-stop shops by their clients. The solution provider/client relationship is built on trust, integrity and customer advocacy. At the end of the day, customers in IT trouble are looking to VARs to come to the rescue. Listen closely and you can hear them saying: “Look up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s super VAR!”

For more, read the full cover story: Hungry for Solutions by Joseph F. Kovar, CRN 8/21/06