SMBs are buying more IT products through VARs because they offer products and services specifically tailored for that market, according to Gartner. "Because of the high cost of direct sales and the demand for whole offerings, there is a significant trend driving sales away from the direct channel," the analyst company's vice-president team manager, Michele Caminos, said in a presentation at the recent 2007 Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Sydney.
"These partners must be selected based on mutual vested interest in servicing the same distinct market, helping to provide the whole offering through complementary products or services." The ability for new technologies to be adopted in incremental steps was also highlighted as being extremely important to SMBs.
Caminos said they were typically focused on investment protection and didn't want to replace core components of their IT environment. Ideally, IT providers should look to offer them products that adhere to open standards.
Ease of integration is on the checklist for most SMBs because they are typically wary of associated consulting and professional service fees with a technology purchase.
Carminos quoted research surveys that showed many SMBs were unaware of the benefits they can achieve through leasing or financing solutions. In the presentation she said IT providers should view this as a significant untapped opportunity.