What technologies are top solution providers selling and recommending these days? It will come as no surprise that the list includes wireless, security, IP telephony, storage, Linux and Web services. But what's really interesting isn't the list itself, but how value-added resellers (VARs) and all solution providers are selling these technologies and what they have to do to make the sale.
While talking with the VARBusiness 500, an elite group of solution providers that have revenue of more than $15 million, we uncovered four main technology trends. First, VARs are finding that partnering is becoming more essential, particularly as the technologies become more complex or their reach becomes more globalized. Those VARs who understand how to extend their own networks beyond their usual vendors and suppliers will continue to climb up the charts.
Second, the open-systems movement is taking hold; more Linux-based solutions are permeating deeper into the enterprise, reaching closer and, in some cases, touching the end user's desktop and further down the SMB food chain to smaller companies. As Novell has shown, open systems can revive even the most hidebound strategies and breathe new life into an old dog.
Third, many VARs have moved to an all-subscription revenue model in the past year. Looking for recurring revenue is just one way that many VARs have begun to realize that pushing boxes ain't all it's cracked up to be, and having a guaranteed monthly income makes perfect sense to ride out the uncertainties of economic slowdowns.
Finally, VARs are looking more carefully at how they adopt new technologies, proceeding cautiously in terms of adding bleeding-edge products, only doing so after months of careful systems and integration tests and trials.