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VAR? ISV? What Are They and How To Choose

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Many business owners find choosing a VAR or ISV a challenge. Here we look at the definitions of a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) and an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and how they can benefit your business. 

What is a VAR? 

Companies that sell business software systems often provide a combination of services and add value through their specialist expertise. For example, they might provide Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) software along with customizations, implementation, training, ongoing support and maintenance. This might include integration with other business systems like an ecommerce platform. 

What is an ISV? 

To meet client requirements, VARs will often work with third parties to provide a complete solution. Often these are independent companies offering specific software and expertise. Many VARs and ISVs will have well-established, long-term working relationships. It’s worth checking how long they have been working together to give you confidence that the solutions work and that there is mutual trust. 

For example, a VAR working with a business-to-business (B2B) company to create an integrated ecommerce portal using real-time information from their ERP system could work with a provider like Cloudfy as an ISV. Because Cloudfy has been designed specifically for the needs of 21st century B2B ecommerce, integration with key business systems like Microsoft Dynamics is available out of the box and the collaboration creates a fast and effective solution. 

Some other terms you might hear

Add-on products Every business requirement is unique, so additional software might be essential to meet precise needs. Many ISVs provide add-on products for specific industries or processes. For example, this might include options to manage your supply chain, calculate taxes or run payroll. 

Managed service provider Some organizations provide database management, hosting, software troubleshooting and other tasks that would be provided by an information technology (IT) department in large businesses. A managed service provider (MSP) is an outsourced service to support the operation of your key enterprise systems. 

Managed security service provider Keeping up to date with security requirements demands resources and expertise. Like an MSP, a managed security service provider (MSSP) can support businesses that don’t have these resources internally. Their priority is to protect you against cyber-attacks and other threats. Typically, they will provide data backup and restoration, network and intrusion monitoring. To keep disruption to a minimum if you are a victim of cybercrime or other threats to your business such as a fire, flood, or burglary, they will work with you to create a disaster recovery plan. 

Systems integrator When you are implementing an upgrade to your business technology platform a systems integrator (SI) will make sure all the elements work together. Your VAR or ISV might carry out this function during implementation, including testing, verification, scheduling, and coordinating with everyone involved. 

Advantages of working with VARs and ISVs 

A big advantage of working with a VAR is that they will have substantial experience from multiple projects and will know how to deal with the most common challenges. Because they work regularly with leading providers, they will probably have a buying advantage, compared to you as a single end-user. 

Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and major business system providers will be happy to offer VARs preferential prices because of their problem-solving strengths and the opportunities they provide for repeat business, so pricing should be competitive here too. 

VARs will know which products and solutions work well together to meet specific requirements, so your solution will be designed to meet your needs, perhaps including multiple ISVs and add-on products. 

The Role of VARs and ISVs in the cloud  

The growing popularity of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions like Cloudfy means that many traditional aspects of system installation and maintenance are no longer needed. However, VARs and ISVs still have important roles to play in a successful implementation. 

Many have revised their services and upgraded their expertise to suit a cloud-first environment. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) often prefer to deal with partners who understand implementation and can provide advice and education, along with technical support if they don’t have in-house expertise. The experience of VARs and ISVs will make sure the process runs smoothly. 

Finding the right partners 

You will be looking for a proactive approach that includes the flexibility to choose the systems and services best suited to your business. Your partners should provide practical advice and should be focused on creating long-term relationships to support your business goals. 

Your VAR and ISV partners will play a vital role in making sure you can realize the full benefits of your technology investment. Every one of them has a unique blend of expertise, skills and services to help deliver the right solutions. Working with the right ones will bring a depth of knowledge about best practices, constraints and regulations that will ensure you achieve the results you are looking for. 

The Cloudfy team has extensive experience collaborating with VARs to deliver exceptional ecommerce business solutions, so please get in touch to find out more. 

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