Hit and run hurts the industry

So you want to be an IT consultant? Well, listen up: It’s really easy. All you need to do is set up shop in your basement or garage, print some business cards, go online and sign up with IBM or Hewlett-Packard, pay a $2,000 fee and bingo, bango, bongo you’re an IT consultant.

Congratulations!

Forget about going to school and learning about computers, software and all the other complex pieces of information technology. Don’t worry about investing time and money getting certified with Microsoft, Cisco, Novell or something really radical like Citrix.

There really is no need because if you have a customer willing to pay for IBM or HP products, guess what? IBM and HP, through distribution, will supply you with products to sell. It is that easy.

Forget about developing IT solutions that solve real business problems. Leave that task to real solution providers. Remember, real solution providers not only develop solutions; they develop multiple solutions with varying prices, products sets, service and support, and life cycles.

Real solution providers want to offer customer options and allow the decision-makers inside the company to figure out what is right for them.

Start-up IT consultants don’t worry about working long hours developing all these different solutions. They just wait until the customer makes the decision, then offer a huge discount and steal the deal right from under the real solution provider’s nose.

You’ll still make some excellent margins because you didn’t have to do any of the front-end legwork, which, let’s face it, costs money and time.

And don’t worry if you screw up the installation and cost your customer money and productivity because a real solution provider will be there at the end of the day to pick up all the pieces of your mess and restore that customers business.

So there you have it. I have just given you a low-cost entry formula into the very dynamic IT industry. Good luck!

The problem is that these IT start-ups quickly close up. Quickie consultants are lowering the value of real solution providers. The reason Dell has become so successful is because of there are too many zero value so-called resellers who are here today and gone tomorrow. Something needs to be done by the vendor community, and maybe the distributors, to stop this.

The only problem is that is goes against the free enterprise system.

Two things that can be done. First, vendors should hike their fees. True, this is unfair to the real solution provider, but possibly vendors can offer it back to VARs as an easily achievable back end rebate.

The other solution is for VARs to market themselves better, which is easier said than done.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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