Are VARs Still Relevant?

Times are a changing.  That’s for sure.  There is so much information available now through the internet that consumers can easily do their own research on pretty much any topic, including ERP systems.   There is nothing wrong, of course, with doing your own research.  In fact, we encourage that.  The more research you do on your own, the better questions you will ask.

That being said, we’re seeing a growing trend that does not bode well for the consumer.  What we’re seeing is organizations that are basing their decisions strictly on what they are seeing on the internet versus consulting with experienced VARs (Value Added Resellers).   When they do that, they are missing out on an invaluable source of additional information that can help them make better decisions.

Granted, some software vendors only sell direct and do not have resellers.   Most ERP software vendors, however, do have resellers (VARs) and there is a very good reason for that.  That reason can be found in the name itself – VALUE ADDED Reseller.   The value they add can come in many forms, including:

  • Local presence – Today’s communication technology is amazing, but it is still no substitute for face-to-face interaction.   Collaboration flourishes when people gather around a white-board, for example.   And, don’t discount the importance of body language during software demonstrations.   There is no way to convey that when demonstrations are done remotely.
  • Industry experience – VARs, with industry knowledge, can share best practices and ensure that you configure your solution for maximum benefit.   Perhaps even more importantly, they can advise you on the best complementary products or add-ons to optimize your solution.  They even know already how to integrate with other line of business applications (e.g. a medical billing solution, if you are in the healthcare industry).
  • More objective product expertise – Websites and software vendors are going to do everything they can to make their products sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Even the worst software products sound great if all you do is look at their web sites.  Unfortunately, every product is not great.  In fact, even the best products have limitations and negative aspects of them.  Software vendors are not going to share those limitations with you, but VARs will.   VARs know what the cons are and are more likely to share them with you because they want to avoid surprises that might result in unhappy clients.
  • Advanced Technical Expertise – With any software solution, there is advanced functionality that can make the software more efficient and/or provide workarounds to product limitations.   This is where VARs really excel.   They can typically make your solution do things that you won’t even know are possible without their help.

Clearly, VARs still offer a lot of Value.   Unfortunately, more and more organizations that are looking for new ERP software are trying to do it on their own rather than consult with VARs.   If you’re looking for new software, that’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.

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If you are looking for new software and would like some objective feedback, contact the Maner Costerisan Business Solutions & Technology team at or call us at 517-323-7500