Today it occurred to me, with all momentum we are seeing with the cloud the biggest change we are seeing is the demise of the VAR (Value Added Reseller.) VAR is a term that was cooked up in the techie acronym kitchen 20 or so years ago to differentiate solution centric resellers from box pushers. The only problem is, everyone calls themselves VARs. So like the little league team that gives everyone a trophy, nobody stands out.
The problem with describing yourself as a VAR is by definition, your starting point is selling stuff. From there, you add value around those products. This is where the cloud is changing things. The migration of services and applications into the cloud is creating a mindset where the customer is focused more than ever on business outcomes, not the building blocks that make those business outcomes happen.
My point isn’t that the cloud is making solution providers irrelevant – there’s going to be plenty of hardware and software being sold to keep us all afloat (and then some). True, the pendulum is swinging right, but it will swing left again (think centrex and mainframes). The big change is how IT decision makers are approaching decisions. If your value proposition is to sell technology and wrap value around it, you’re behind the 8-ball. If on the other hand your value proposition is to solve problems and create outcomes (that happen to employ technology), you’ve got an advantage over 99% of your competition. Ironically, you end up selling more hardware and software.
A quick survey of the fastest growing partners’ websites prove this point: very little mention of technology or vendors, just business outcomes – what else matters?