Remember when software was sold as an aid to doing business? And software resellers knew as much about their customers' business as their customer? Those were the days of value-added selling, but now everything is commoditised.
Melbourne based Open Software Associates illustrates what has become a worldwide dilemma for software resellers.
OSA's netDeploy could speed up the demise of the business of independent software vendors as we now know it, while projecting them back into the role of a business support service provider.
Visiting European general manager Marcus Brown joined Asia-Pacific general manager Alex Nosiara to talk to ARN about the implications of a product like netDeploy for the channel.
From what started as an add-on to OSA's flagship, the application builder Open UI, netDeploy 3.0 has become a key business component of its own, and addresses two distinct and sizeable markets.
Brown described the two areas as internal or corporate software distribution and external or electronic software distribution. The first refers to the functionality of netDeploy to facilitate the installation of applications or upgrades at the desktop, typically in organisations where there are thousands of users and the requirement is for timely and organised deployment. The second, and perhaps most threatening to some ISVs, is the facility of netDeploy to install software over the internet, and specifically, direct from the vendor. So what about the role of the reseller?
Nosiara said that while the days of the VAR may not be numbered, resellers had better be focused more on the "VA" than the "R". "System integrators, resellers and developers will need to redefine the value they bring to the corporate table. The value add may be in the training and maintenance, which is increasingly outsourced." He added that resellers can add value to the application by bundling netDeploy with it, and earn revenues by providing services other than installation.
A feature of netDeploy is its capacity to upgrade components of the application one by one. According to Brown, this represents a great opportunity for the channel, and revolutionises the deployment of applications which would otherwise wait for the next major upgrade.
Version 4.0 of netDeploy is expected out in September.
Open Software Associates
Tel (03) 9871 1660 (www.osa.com.au)