Is the VAR dead?

A Channel Marker blog yesterday got attention with the headline, "R.I.P. V.A.R.?" But don't write that obituary just yet. Of course, the VAR isn't dead, despite the attention-getting lead directed at VARs, proclaiming, "You're dead." Of course, I'm a sucker for a sensationalistic headline, and I've generated one or two myself. Blogger Colin Steele got my attention with it, but then explained his position.

The traditional VAR is not dead, not even sick--but undergoing a major shift in how they do business. No type of business is immune to these sorts of fundamental overhauls, and if your company is the type of company that tries to do the same thing year after year, you will eventually find yourself facing obsolescence as younger, more nimble, and less set-in-their-ways companies come along and think up new ways to eat your lunch.

Old-style VARs look for larger deals with big up-front licensing fees, but companies are looking for ways to keep those sorts of purchases down, and VARs who stick to that model are in for a shock. The new model for success is to have more customers, smaller deals, and more managed services and SaaS offerings that don't require big capital expenditures. There's still plenty of life in the VAR business--but only for those who can adapt to the times.

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