Some people have asked whether proprietary software is still useful when software increasingly can be provided as a service. But it would be naive to assume the growth of software-as-a-service (SaaS) - alongside open source - has sounded a death knell for proprietary apps.
Customers that did not buy software due to the cost of licences, limited skill sets in-house or were too small to justify a long and costly implementation now have the option of buying SaaS. But businesses of every nature and size will always require a variety of models to run, manage and support their plans.
Proprietary software is robust, proven, and function-rich and not everything is suitable for SaaS. Service levels for support and availability will also influence the customer decision - as these vary greatly by software type, delivery model and supplier.
It is all about choice.
Only by understanding the different business drivers and priorities of their customers can VARs help organisations navigate the choices available. VARs should identify the benefits and potential drawbacks of each software model for each individual customer and deploy hardware that is able to deal with the appropriate mix.
VARs can thus cement their position as trusted advisers to the organisations they sell to.
As long as proprietary software programmers still develop applications that address real business needs, such apps will continue to be important to IT departments and should not be neglected by the channel just yet.
Lynn Collier is EMEA solutions director at Hitachi Data Systems
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