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Bright idea: Rhode Island VAR attempts to demystify technology

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as up-to-date on some technology trends as I used to be when I was covering some of these issues on a daily basis. Moreover, I am as susceptible to tunnel vision as the next person, although I just happen to deal with a whole bunch of tunnels at once. I’ve been well trained in attention deficit disorder.

Solution provider Atrion in Warwick, R.I., figures there are a lot of people like me out there who just happen to run the technology engagements at their existing clients or would-be customer accounts. So, the company has started a series called the ThinQ workshops to help out. Apparently, it started doing the seminars late in January based on the number of questions that it was getting.

These things aren’t your standard technical training or certification prep sessions. Rather, they are meant to explore concepts such as network admission control or quality of service or unified communications, with an eye to tying these ideas to bonafide business objectives. Of course, there is an ulterior motive: If customers understand these concepts and their potential business impact better, they’re more likely to invest.

I’ve always felt that a VAR’s technical personnel were an oft-underutilized asset in snagging more business. This is a great example of showcasing technical talent while keeping it real. For a long time, many VARs and resellers have gotten away from helping their customers with any kind of training. With all the change going on in the IT industry right now, it might be time to change that philosophy.

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist and channel communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. You can reach her by e-mail at

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