June 2017
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Factors in selecting a var

Factors in Selecting a VAR

Selecting a Value Added reseller (VAR) is crucial and requires pain-staking assessment of their capabilities and track record, including those who are already delivering services into a client, even when the relationship has subsisted for many years. IT times have changed significantly, in fact, they are changing fast – let’s use the correct tense!
With all the change there is a further factor – IT budgets are under exceptional fiscal pressure due to the adverse economic circumstances many companies are facing. There are several reactions to this environment – budgets are being severely curtailed; staff shortages in terms of actual body counts and skill shortages are widely reported; implementations are restricted to those solutions with very tangible financial and ROI benefits, typically with much reduced payback periods.
So we have increasing complexity, increasing rate of change and not enough money, staff or skills to manage the situation.
In a nutshell, this is why VAR’s are important, and for a company, how to select an appropriate VAR is crucial.
What are the VAR’s Redundancy and HA Capabilities?
Mission critical applications live online in most business environments. Any VAR or Systems Integrator (SI) who is offering to implement or manage an online business critical application must demonstrate that they have the capability to provide enterprise class HA and secure infrastructure. Consider how much business would be lost if the company’s CRM goes down – and that would be business not likely to be replaced!
A VAR is unlikely to be the provider in this instance, so you need to look behind them to ascertain who that provider is in reality.
Sarbanes-Oxley and eDiscovery
The day of the regulator is with us – and in the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in 60 years, the regulator of everything from paperclips to hedge funds are placing greater pressure upon businesses to deliver failsafe data protection and retrieval functionality. Federal law changes have multiplied the effect of Sarbanes-Oxley, and now any company, large or small is captured by legal rules which can break a company if it falls foul of them.
A VAR must be able to provide the infrastructure to ensure data backup, retrieval and storage will ensure the highest possible security and DR potential. Almost good enough is not good enough.
VAR Location and Operating Footprint
Remote management is fine when it all works but there are times when it simply will not do. You cannot ignore distance or the limitations on connectivity imposed by physical and Murphy’s Laws.
If you operate in North America and the Far East, your VAR must be able to demonstrate an ability to provide on-site capability in those areas too, or you are going to be severely constrained at some point in the future.
The Importance of Customer Service
When email goes down, users don’t want an answer tomorrow, they want an answer now! You can ignore user requests for so long but when the VP Sales is in Hong Kong closing a deal and his Blackberry isn’t working, you’d better have an answer yesterday. You know the situation because you’ve experienced those calls already on numerous occasions.
It is vital that you assess the customer service standards to be expected and whether they can be delivered by a VAR. VAR’s simply providing a voicemail are missing the point of delivering “value added”, and they must provide you and your users with greater choices that are cost-effective not only in delivering customer support, but in removing the help desk nightmare from your shoulders.

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