14 Nov 2012
We all know that the IT and UC industry is full of three letter acronyms (TLAs) but a phrase that is contained within a lot of these is ‘value-added', for example: VAR and VAD.
But what does value-added really mean and can it be used in such a generic way?
What you do, who you are, who you work for and where you are will vary the degree of value that any external organisation can add to a business. This can make the notion of adding value problematic. Value is, after all, down to perception and can be very subjective. One company may perceive value as a great credit line while another may put value in regional coverage.
I work with channel partners that use my organisation for certain aspects of our portfolio and then turn to other suppliers for other services. This might sound frustrating but it's actually a very clear indication of where I add value to my customers, but much more importantly where I need to focus for future growth and become more engaged within my channel.
It also helps if I understand what my channel is trying to achieve. The highest value that we can ever add is when our offering, solution or service is aligned to a partner's own objectives or strategy. It's often something I see overlooked on a day-to-day basis but it can drive the way a salesperson approaches an opportunity and becomes the spearhead of the engagement.
The value we add may vary greatly from customer to customer and from one industry to another. But as an organisation we need to constantly be prepared for that.
So to answer the question I posed above - what does value-added really mean and can it be used in such a generic way? - I would suggest its meaning is individual to the opportunity and it is dangerous to use the term too generically. Focus on the customer, their business and their requirements as this will reveal where you really can value add.
Rob Wiles (pictured) is head of channel at ICT services specialist APSL