The System Builders' Summit and VARVision show in Scottsdale, AZ (September 26 to 29) provided an enticing venue for attendees this year. Baiting system builders with free, or reduced cost, software seems to be the theme this year with the introduction of several partner programs designed to attract new customers. The drive to get VARs to use enterprises' software and server products has led to the availability of many system platforms for a minimal subscription or service fee. Vendors are implementing a mixture of programs to lure system builders who are expecting larger margins and increased manufacturer support. Several companies provided examples at this event.
LPI Level Platforms Inc. (Ottawa) launched its "4 Weeks to Profit" VAR initiative for its Managed Workplace 3.1 integrated network management software. With a single copy purchase, LPI will assist a VAR in building templates for specific applications such as remote monitoring of server room temperature or system performance. For $60.00 a month per site (with an Onsite Manager software license) an integrator can build a customized remote management system. "This tool allows VARs to build recurring revenue and cost-effectively transform their entire businesses, compared with hardware- dependent systems," stated Peter Sandiford, CEO of LPI Level Platforms Inc.
Novell (Provo, UT) was offering a Small Business Starter Pack for system builders. This version of the Small Business Suite includes versions of Netware, ZENworks, GroupWise, BorderManager, DirXML, and Nterprise Branch Office. This incentive program is capped at five users and allows resellers to add technical support and installation services to generate revenue. Channel partners must be certified on Novell's Web site before receiving the kit and having access to expansion packs.
Computer Associates (Islandia, NY) is offering its Try and Buy program to add EZ Armor and EZ Antivirus software at no cost to VARs. A system builder preinstalls trial software and then generates revenue when customers activate an annual subscription. The VAR earns income that is paid out when a minimum accrual amount is received. These programs are intended to create a symbiotic relationship, where support and encouragement to subscribe from both partners will maximize revenue.
ANTs software, inc.'s (Burlingame, CA) Alliance Program was designed to reach system builders in transaction-intense industries. VARs involved in financial services, government, e-business, security, and healthcare are targeted in the program roll out. The ANTs Data Server (ADS) is a relationship database management system built on a high-performance SQL query execution engine for heavy workload environments. VARs may add ADS to existing applications or use it as a platform for building unique solutions. Alliance Program participants will receive the Data Server, sales tools, training, technical tools, and specific support services.