When it comes to reaching the often elusive SMB market, vendors tap VARs (value added resellers) as their VIPs, according to a recent study from Amazon Consulting. VARs topped a list of 13 strategic partners in a survey of 55 technology vendors, followed by regional system integrators and global system integrators.
These three partners are in a top tier of strategic importance to vendors, according to Amazon Consulting. Of lesser importance, in the middle tier, are ISVs, OEMs, MSPs (managed services providers), consultants and direct market retailers. Oddly, the direct market retailers got what Amazon calls a "completely bifurcated response," with respondents split evenly on ranking them as a one (on a one-to-five scale) or a four or five.
In the bottom tier are distributors, businesses with software-as-a-service models and, despite high-profile deals between the likes of Microsoft and CompUSA, e-tailers and retailers.
Not surprisingly, 85 percent of respondents ranked finding new partners as a top priority for 2007. This explains why companies like Cisco and Microsoft are creating new programs to help their partners staff up.
Indeed, as detailed in a recent VARBusiness article, Cisco is even considering funneling some of the resumes it receives for which it has no current positions to its partners. Microsoft is offering discounts of up to 30 percent on training, beefing up training options, and later this year introducing new types of certification.