Making the Right Partnerships - CRN article in July issue

Simon Meredith write on VARs taking advantage of IP opportunities.

VARs that want to take advantage of the increasing opportunities in IP surveillance need to make sure they work partners that can provide the knowledge and experience to give them the edge, writes Simon Meredith in the last of a three-part series in Computer Reseller News (UK) 14 July 2006.

Awareness of IP surveillance (IPS) is growing, but penetration is very low, according to Thomas Leistiko, European sales manager for specialist IP camera management software firm, Milestone Systems. The reason, he claims, is that there is a shortage of people who can talk with any real knowledge about IPS.

"There is an enormous market to be had," he says. "But very few people can go out and talk about IPS and its business benefits, which is what you need to do. You don’t talk surveillance and you don’t talk technology, you talk business."

The need to acquire knowledge is the biggest challenge facing resellers, says Robert Veenis, business development manager at wireless networking vendor, Proxim.
"Security VARs have traditionally talked to security people or to the IT manager," he says. "Now we are saying that they have to deal with business people, and this is a different challenge."

CNL, according to James Condron, sales and marketing manager at the IPS integrator, was one of the first IT integrators that started to offer service, support and expertise to the security market. It seems to have been a good move: Condron says that the company’s business has grown by more than 60 per cent in the past year. It has also been an education that did not happen overnight.

"Our business has enjoyed some significant growth over the past year," he says. "We have worked with partners to sell products and services, but we did not have the security background. We’ve recruited people who are capable of managing that dialogue. What we’ve done over the past five years is develop the currency of language to engage with security, the business and with IT. When you put these three elements together, it significantly supports the preparation of an intelligent response.
"We are also able to manage the risks of the business and support the security manager with their operational goals. It is a learning curve and VARs need to understand that it is significant. People don’t employ security managers because they just need them to be there, they also have an active role in the organisation."

Terry Beale, director of channels at storage specialist EMC, says that requests for proposals that cover IPS are being increasingly drawn up jointly by security and IT staff. "The tender is written by both parties," he says. "What’s interesting is that some of those request-for-proposals have not come out of large, forward-thinking organisations. Instead, some of them are coming out of local authorities. If you are going to focus on a space as a reseller, pick one that is not too big and not too complex. Choose an area in which security and IT would probably know each other. Then you can start to drive security and IT together. If you see tenders coming out, it is starting to happen."

This is beginning to happen in the public sector, in retail and now in some commercial sectors, according to Condron.

Read the full article on CRN's website: http://www.channelweb.co.uk/crn/features/2160421/making-right-partnerships.

See also the attached PDF of another Simon Meredith article for CRN in its 17 July issue, called 'Focusing on the Stars of CCTV' that included Thomas Leistiko, Milestone Sales Manager for Europe.