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VARs vs. SMBs

The trick is finding a VAR that's a good ally, sees your success as its business and can hook you up with a skilled IT practitioner who'll function as a trusted adviser ... but we're here to help. In addition to tapping the usual Network Computing brain trust, we asked industry experts who specialize in creating healthy IT-VAR relationships for strategies to transform your dealings with VARs from time sinks to productive exercises. Here's a recipe to find happiness, and then keep the love going.

Trusted Advisers

Let's define what you want from your local VAR. The days of calling and asking for PC quotes are over--Pricewatch and its ilk have seen to that. With commodity products off the table, two main sales opportunities remain to the local reseller.

The first is integration of specialty gear distributed only through "the channel." Of course, many of these products move at the speed of light from "channel-only" sources to Internet sales. That leaves professional services--dependable implementation of or advice about technology. This expertise is an incredible thing when you find it locally--no travel expense and relatively flexible timing. But it can be frustrating to look for skill and discover that not only does the sales consultant know nothing about networking, but the "systems engineer" is a retread PC technician whose only knowledge of server troubleshooting is the reboot shuffle.

VARs & SMBs By The Numbers

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