October 08, 2008, 9:57 PM — Moving from selling on-premises solutions to SaaS is just one in a never-ending series of industry changes. It means resellers will have to change the way they do things, but it won't be the first time. To be sure, there are going to be lost revenues, but that's inevitable. VARs that want to stay in business will look at ways to replace those lost revenues, and when you look at the big picture, there are benefits from the SaaS sales model as well.
There's still plenty of value-add VARs and system integrators can offer, especially with larger deployments. "The value-add will be the security component, the management of upgrades and access to new features, as well as the creation of custom client portals," says Stephanie Atkinson, principal analyst at Compass Intelligence.
Despite complaints and resistance to change, the fact remains that customers will increasingly want SaaS options, and it's up to the resellers and integrators to have that option available. Opting out of the SaaS world on principle would be a disservice to customers, and would only result in lost business.
Traditionally too, channel partners have focused less on small and midsize business customers, preferring to seek out the bigger deals. SaaS, which appeals more to the SMB market, will ultimately give resellers an opportunity to target this market more effectively with an easy-to-sell and easy-to-maintain offering.