VARs Take Notice: Vendors Are Customers Too
Opinion: Manhattan VAR CGS has truly embraced the solution provider model by offering services that even vendors are using.I know I have been guilty of this in the past: dividing the technology universe into three oversimplified buckets of vendors, channel partners and end-user customers. I never identify an end-user organization, the ultimate stop on the technology bus, as just a customer because to me, the channel of VARs, integrators, VADs and solution providers, are "customers" to the vendor, in my mind. So there you have my three vast and broad buckets. However, what I usually fail to realize is that vendor partners are also businesses themselves, and therefore users of technology that need solutions from the channel just as the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, or whatever, vertical. This came to the forefront of my mind last week when I visited the New York Downtown offices of Computer Generated Solutions Inc. and met with Senior Vice President of Technology Solutions and Training Michael Wilding. You see, Wilding also carves his companys business into three buckets: application development, customer support and technology solutions. In my view, CGS is a great example of a channel company taking the high road and specializing in high-value, high-margin sophisticated services.
Its application development business centers around its own ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution, called "Blue Cherry," specifically aimed at the apparel industry. Its customer support business offers outsourcing help desk functions and call center management, primarily in North America, which is a big plus. And last, but certainly not least, its technology solutions business specializes in IT consulting and integration services as well as staff augmentation.