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While most businesses increasingly rely on an extensive IT infrastructure just to stay operational, controlling the costs of the infrastructure is a constant challenge. This is all the harder for companies on a global scale that manage multiple sites and teams.
Forrester predicts an average of 29% of an organisation’s IT budget will be spent on software-related costs in 2008, including maintenance, operations and development. Companies will be looking to make savings where possible, especially with budgets tightening due to the economic climate.
The challenge for organisations is how they start to make savings on their software. So what can a value-added reseller do? After all, customers can buy software from anyone; they need a compelling reason to continue buying from you.
The roll-out of the software is often the most unappealing side of acquiring new or revamping old software for an organisation. While some businesses automatically introduce software overnight, many IT managers still have to manually install software on PCs throughout their entire company. This can take at least an hour for every user PC, which can add up to weeks, if not months of effort across an entire business. Resellers can help their customers with this by either automating the roll-out or offering professional services across the entire span of the implementation, taking the pressure off the in-house IT department.
Another area where resellers can prove their mettle to customers is with software deployments. These are one of the most common – and riskiest – aspects of IT. If software packages are not properly configured, they can crash mission-critical applications, increasing IT costs and affecting productivity. According to IBM, 28% of application failures are related to installation and configuration errors. Yet many software producers still rely on home-grown or out-of-date installations that increase their support costs and add to their customers’ woes.
Desktop management software or disk imaging applications can make the job less painful, but they still need substantial time. As a VAR or systems integrator, helping customers with software configuration will lead to additional sales.
A good VAR installing a moderate package will achieve a better result than a moderate VAR installing a good package, simply because they will have a better understanding of the tasks the package has to handle.
Resellers can help their customers not only by selling the actual software itself, but by also providing assistance along every step of the implementation process. By supplying asset management software, installing applications that simplify the process or offering manpower to help with the grunt work, resellers can help their customers to overcome substantial challenges, while increasing their margins and improving their relationships with customers at the same time.