Why VARs must add SaaS options

By , ITworld |  Channel, var

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is nothing new, but a greater penetration of broadband access and mobile computing -- combined with economic pressures -- has raised demand. It's been around long enough for IT managers to not complain too much about giving up control, and now, with the software giants like Microsoft and Google throwing their hats into the ring, SaaS is about to become as common as hot air on election day.

The market has huge potential. According to market analytics research firm Compass Intelligence, growth rates will hit double digits annually, with SaaS being an especially attractive solution for small businesses looking to achieve cost savings while still having the same technological capabilities as a larger enterprise.

Switch or perish

Dave Kubick, Vice President Worldwide of Channels and Alliances at Iron Mountain Digital, a vendor of SaaS and storage-as-a-service data backup and archival solutions, observes that "the age of the traditional classic VAR is quickly coming to an end." It's no longer about selling "point products and services," says Kubick, but about who is in a position to offer comprehensive solutions that provide the greatest flexibility in terms of use, and how people pay for the service.

We won't be re-playing "Death of a Salesman" to the tune of SaaS any time soon, but traditional VARs that refuse to accept the SaaS model are in for a hard time. This is a game-changer, and will alter the very nature of what it means to be a reseller. The "sweet spot" for VARs will be the small and midsize business market, although if it is marketed right, there could even be growth potential in the Small Office/Home Office market—especially with standard productivity applications from Google and Microsoft hitting the SaaS world.

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