When the Internet of Things (IoT) started to gain press in 2015, people claimed that IoT would be able to transform a business altogether. As the years have gone by and a deeper understanding of the technology has come into play, companies now understand what IoT can be used for. The Internet of Things is now looked at, not as a game-changer, but as a valuable way to solve business problems.
When it comes to media focus, there hasn’t been much change. IoT is still looked at as something for the larger IT vendors and customers. However, the industry has changed. IoT technology has allowed for the entry of distributors, VARs [valued added resellers] and smaller SIs [systems integrators.] Not to mention the current needs of the small to midsize customers.
What is a Distributor?
A distributor is a person or company between IT vendors and VARs or SIs. They are in charge of obtaining equipment and software from It vendors and giving to the VARs or SIs. These distributors tend to have a large customer base and the ability to help vendors reach more customers.
Since distributors get equipment and stock it from the vendors, they tend to educate the VARs or SIs about the vendor’s products. Education allows the distributor to help market not only their company but the vendors too. It also allows distributors to deliver sales training, demos, and exhibitions for all products and companies involved. In short, distributors hold the keys to the supply chain.
Who are Value Added Resellers?
Value Added Resellers, alongside SIs, offer a tailored storefront to customers. They serve as the front of the IT business and take the place of a larger vendor. Generally, these companies build turnkey solutions by mixing and matching technology and software. Alongside their solutions, they can also add other services unique to them such as integration, customization, consulting, training and implementation.
When peering into the VARs industry, you will often look at each company based on their customer type. For example, Bursys handles all companies but specializes in technology, energy, mail and packing, logistics, and payment processing. As such, we would be viewed as different from someone who specialized in education. Value Added Resellers, often have a better understanding of customer challenges. This makes them best able to build and package IoT components and offer services.
What are SIs?
Systems integrators can be global companies or local businesses. In general, smaller companies will cater to a specific business process while larger firms can handle many functions of the business. The role of an SI is the role of a VAR. The difference lies in the context. A SIs is more able to customize whereas VARs would prefer to give off the shelf solutions.
Why Care About Smaller Businesses?
Large businesses provide much of the news in the IoT world. However, most of the business opportunity lies in the small to midsize customers worldwide. These businesses are seeking solutions to their business problems and have money to spend. Ignoring millions of companies is ignoring more in profit and sales. At the same time, when IoT was first announced, the extraordinary claims made smaller cost-conscious customers worry about the truth in IoT and the worth of the cost. Due to this past, many have hesitated on approaching IoT due to fears of wasted money and effort.
Today, IoT can look further than ever before at offering solutions to smaller businesses and narrower technical requirements. Added to this, vendors are delivering new technologies that can be used to create new solutions needed to lower the burden customers face in their business. With each advance, IoT becomes more accessible.