Forever asked by aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners, searching for that fabled secret sauce, the common channel question remains — what’s the secret to your success?
In running a local distributor for over 16 years, Johnson Hsiung has a simple answer.
“Either you go big, go niche or go home.”
Operating in a channel ripe for disruption and crammed with competition, the managing director of Bluechip Infotech is building a new go-to-market strategy, with managed service providers (MSPs) as the foundation.
“We have found our niche and our specialist play,” Hsiung said. “While we continue to have a core group of traditional resellers, which is not going away, our current and future growth will come purely from MSPs.
“We’re focusing on this area of the channel because over 3,000 MSPs currently operate in Australia and currently, we cover around a third of that market. So, there’s huge room to grow and expand our business.”
As traditional box-shifting models erode over time, resellers are finding motivation in building out MSP capabilities, in a bid to respond to changing customer demands.
Coupled with the rise of new technologies and changing customer demands, partners are turning toward providing services to stay profitable, yet challenges remain along the way.
“We’re here to offer solutions and guidance for our resellers as they transition towards a managed services type business model,” Hsiung added.
“If we can address the common challenges they face in the market and make it easier for them to grow as businesses, that we will be providing new levels of value.
“To recognise our shift, we even changed our company slogan to — we help your business grow. That’s our position in the channel and we will be providing combined solutions across hardware, software and as-a-service models.”
Established in 2001, Bluechip Infotech specialises in delivering IT products to a wide and expansive channel base, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
According to Hsiung, the distributor has built a business on strategically implementing the latest technologies across Australia, spanning networking, security and storage, alongside back-up, disaster recovery and service management.
With a comprehensive portfolio, Bluechip operates across small and medium business sectors, leveraging deep expertise across education at a national level.
Today however, Hsiung accepts that the technology landscape is shifting, creating the need to readjust and realign channel priorities.
“Consolidation is happening across all areas of the channel and competition is becoming fierce,” Hsiung observed. “For partners that haven’t experienced any growth during the past 2-3 years, it’s time to be alert and unfortunately, it’s also time to worry.
“The industry is not going to stay still and we all need to move forward to remain relevant. It doesn’t matter which part of the channel you are in or whether you’re a vendor, distributor or partner, you need to find a position to grow.
“Because if you don’t, there’s a real danger that someone will come in and have your business for lunch. And it’s not necessarily because customers no longer buy from you, it’s because your type of business no longer exists, which means your competitor won’t be your traditional competitor.”
Across the industry, the growth of the IT services market is proliferating, creating a desire for traditional resellers to make the transition towards a more lucrative future.
But despite an awareness that change is a must, for partners seeking to make the transition, migrating from point A to point B is fraught with complexities.
“It’s challenging for the channel but everyone is moving to an as-a- service model, whether it be storage, disaster recovery or networking,” Hsiung observed. “As an aggregator, we combine our offerings to add value to help our partners.
“As an MSP, there’s always a need to become unique in the market. They all try different service offerings but at the end of the day, it comes down to who can provide the best services and deliver the best value to the customer.
“There’s a gap in the market and because we also supply hardware and software, we cover all of their needs. We have found our sweet spot in the market because our strengths are servicing MSPs and adding value.”
Bluechip’s specialised approach has been endorsed by the recent signing of Continuum in the Australian market, following a distribution agreement designed to bring the vendor’s platform and services to the local channel.
Specifically, the deal sees the distributor market Continuum’s remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform, powered by the vendor’s network operations centre (NOC), to MSPs.