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The Network Technology Transition Plan

22 Mar, 2010 By: Susan Muth imageSource

The Network Technology Transition Plan

Broadening the suite of current product and service offerings for the office
technology reseller requires a serious look at the network technology product
line as a potential source of expansion. Some of the key elements in making this
consideration are as follows:

Value Delivery Model

The impact of a down network can create serious issues for a business. In
making this transition to selling mission critical services, you will have to be
able to sell your credibility.  Why should a customer believe that you are now a
technology expert when you sold office products previously?  How can you provide
services that are different from your present capability set and where is your
experience delivering them?  How can your sales people tell a story about your
business to their IT decision makers that will give your credibility and
differentiate you from the rest?

The office technology reseller will have to make a smooth transition in the
mind of the customer from office to network technology.  This can be overcome
with the acquisition of the right technical expertise. 

Competitive Landscape

What does the competitive landscape look like in the area you have
targeted?  Are the current competitors IT value added resellers (VARs) that are
boutique firms that have been delivering these services in the geography for
some time or are they simply branch offices of a larger reseller.  What does the
scale of each of these mean as competitors and product pricing?

The office technology reseller will have to take on the competition by
establishing a foot hold in the geography through prior customer relationships
and differentiation through service and price.

Broad or Basic Technology

There are major differences in the kinds of services to deliver.  Consider
where your sweet spot in the IT industry will be.  Will it be in delivering a
boutique product that is only within one “hot” IT area such as Voice, Security,
Unified Communications, Wireless?  Will you only concentrate on only one or two
of these services? Will you concentrate on a specific vertical market type of
customer and deliver expertise that is beneficial to customers of a given
industry such as health care, banking, education?

The office technology reseller will have to explore the current customer base
and determine where are the strongest customer “cross-overs” in terms of

Buy or Build

Should you acquire an existing technology reseller or build your own
delivery model.  The pros and cons of each are great.  Buying an existing
technology reseller can provide customers and technical capability that
compliments your current business. Building out your own delivery model can
require time and investment. Having a strategic direction about what you are
buying or building will help to streamline this process.

Selection of Technology

Differences in reseller technologies can be overwhelming to consider.  Do
you want to deliver broad based, high end services with current name recognition
and respect in the IT industry? Are you interested in delivering networking
managed services which are much like managed print solutions?   Or do you want
to deliver low end, low cost, turn key solutions?

What are the suite of add on services you can sell which compliment high end
or low end?  Will you provide far reaching Cisco solutions that comprise over
90% of networks world wide or boutique solutions such as 3 Com, Shortell,
Microsoft Small Business?

What level partner will you become?  Premier, Silver or Gold?  What are the
qualifications and cost of these levels and why should you consider them?  What
pricing discounts do each bring and margin opportunities?

What will comprise your total package of partners?  Who will be associated
services and how will you select them? For example; will you sell APC power or
Emerson,  Fortinet or Checkpoint security?  What are the factors to determine
the right mix of partners? 

The technology partner selection is a major determination of the direction
you take your company.

Engineer Capability

One of the most important considerations you have to make is the type of
engineers needed to deliver the technology.  Given the type of technology you
want to sell, what are the engineer requirements that are needed to deliver and
maintain services?

Qualifications: What are the engineering qualifications that are necessary to
deliver these solutions?  What are the certifications that needed and what are
the training requirements?

Utilization rates: What is expected in terms of hours of engineer utilization
necessary to pay for productive engineers; and how busy do they need to be in
order to be cost effective?

Is there a way to use outsourced engineers as a back end instead of making
the investment?


Once you have given these issues proper consideration, the strategy can take
direction.  A transition will take time and resources.  The move upstream to
networking can be a lucrative one and one that can give you a solid foundation
for the future.  The tech industry remains an incredible opportunity and the
depth increases.  Now is the time to take advantage of the marketplace and
position yourself for the future.

Susan Muth  is president of Strategic Business Solutions, Inc., based in
Cincinnati Ohio. Susan has consulted with many technology partners across the
country in developing a successful sales & business growth strategy. She has
deep experience in the technology sector and helping companies transition. At
susan@susanmuth.com or

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