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How do I know when I have enough vendor partners?

Given the consolidation in the systems industry, such as SAP's acquisition of Business Objects, should VARs add more vendor partners as insurance?

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VARs should be continually reevaluating their relationships with their vendor partners to ensure that the partnership is in the VARs best interests and will be a long-term one. While hanging your hat with any one vendor definitely does tie your viability to that vendor, forming relationships with other vendor partners playing in the same space is generally not a good idea. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Duplication of efforts tends to dilute your resources. If a VAR partners with multiple vendors, they will need to forge and maintain relationships with both partners, and their technical staff will need to acquire skill sets for both products. This is not an easy task to undertake without doubling your work force.
  • Perception by customers that you lack specialization. Clients will be confused by your multiple loyalties as it will reflect a lack of decisiveness.

This was first published in January 2008

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