Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products


  • Service Provider

    This isn't an invariable rule, but it is a general case, for sure. Pure MSPs and ITSPs (consultancies) that provide only IT and consulting services naturally will promote their people and teams, talking about their experience, expertise, skills, etc. This should be somewhat obvious if we think about what they provide, their value is based heavily on the value of the people that they employ.

    As an example, take @Bundy-Associates who promotes itself primarily through the reputation of @JaredBusch their lead engineer. Their value to customers is principally determined by his experience and skill set. Having him speak at conferences and be well known as being tied to them as a company is how they attract new business.

    On the other side, resellers' value is mostly tied to the products that they sell. VARs will naturally mostly promote themselves by advertising their products and brands for which they have representation rights. And in many cases, will advertise their level of associate with that partner (e.g. Microsoft Silver Partner, Microsoft Gold Partner, etc.)

    Just as with a consultancy, you choose your service provider in order to gain access to its staff; you choose a VAR to gain access to their products, and potentially access to better support levels from their vendor partners. So knowing who your resellers or installers are (the actual people) is of very little value; but knowing which vendors and products they sell is absolutely critical. Choosing your reseller is nearly the same as choosing your solution!



  • It's sometimes interesting where a company will promote itself as a MSP, but when you look much closer you notice they really are a VAR. Both are extremely different of course, but it's sometimes a misconception of identity and what the company thinks they do compared to what they actually do.

    We have several of those in the valley that we service primarily.


  • Service Provider

    @bbigford said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    It's sometimes interesting where a company will promote itself as a MSP, but when you look much closer you notice they really are a VAR. Both are extremely different of course, but it's sometimes a misconception of identity and what the company thinks they do compared to what they actually do.

    This is SUPER common. Most MSPs are resellers, they have to be as that is where the money is. That and there aren't enough IT experts out there for there to be even one at every MSP that is out there. So for an average MSP, their VAR aspect is their primary selling point.

    It's not that they are not an MSP, it's that they are both. And there is nothing particularly wrong about that, as long as the customer understands that being an MSP isn't their only thing. The VAR-aspect is like a taint, once a VAR, always a VAR. Adding in MSP or consulting services is fine, but it doesn't change the fundamental nature of the business.



  • This may seem simplistic, but if I were in this scenario, on which side of the MSP / VAR would I stand?

    A person hires me to help spec out a server for their office. I'm paid to help them determine how much RAM, storage, processors, etc. they need.

    This part is clear, I'm being paid for advice; thus, MSP.

    At the end of the conversation, the person asks what should they buy that can meet the determined specifications.

    This is where the line seems less clear for me. For example, let's say the system needs to have 1 processor, 32 GB RAM, and 1 TB of storage. You can get a system with those specs from Dell, HP, Bob's Server Barn, etc. If I recommend a Dell rather than an HP, does that taint me being an MSP?


  • Service Provider

    @EddieJennings said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    This may seem simplistic, but if I were in this scenario, on which side of the MSP / VAR would I stand?

    A person hires me to help spec out a server for their office. I'm paid to help them determine how much RAM, storage, processors, etc. they need.

    This part is clear, I'm being paid for advice; thus, MSP.

    At the end of the conversation, the person asks what should they buy that can meet the determined specifications.

    This is where the line seems less clear for me. For example, let's say the system needs to have 1 processor, 32 GB RAM, and 1 TB of storage. You can get a system with those specs from Dell, HP, Bob's Server Barn, etc. If I recommend a Dell rather than an HP, does that taint me being an MSP?

    The question is are you being paid or compensated by anyone other than the client?

    Everyone has preferences based on their prior experience. That has nothing to do with the point being discussed.



  • @JaredBusch said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    The question is are you being paid or compensated by anyone other than the client?

    No. In the scenario, I’m only paid by the client.

    Now I see the distinction.


  • Service Provider

    @EddieJennings said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    This may seem simplistic, but if I were in this scenario, on which side of the MSP / VAR would I stand?

    A person hires me to help spec out a server for their office. I'm paid to help them determine how much RAM, storage, processors, etc. they need.

    This part is clear, I'm being paid for advice; thus, MSP.

    At the end of the conversation, the person asks what should they buy that can meet the determined specifications.

    This is where the line seems less clear for me. For example, let's say the system needs to have 1 processor, 32 GB RAM, and 1 TB of storage. You can get a system with those specs from Dell, HP, Bob's Server Barn, etc. If I recommend a Dell rather than an HP, does that taint me being an MSP?

    That has nothing to do with it. You become a VAR when you sell them stuff, not when you give advice.



  • @EddieJennings said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    This may seem simplistic, but if I were in this scenario, on which side of the MSP / VAR would I stand?

    A person hires me to help spec out a server for their office. I'm paid to help them determine how much RAM, storage, processors, etc. they need.

    This part is clear, I'm being paid for advice; thus, MSP.

    A point of clarity - advising only this is not being an MSP - you'r not managing anything (managed service provider). ITSP or Consultancy would be better terms for this portion... heck - the whole thing, including recommending a hardware vendor, because again, you're not managing anything.



  • @Dashrender said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    @EddieJennings said in Consultancies Advertise People; VARs Advertise Products:

    This may seem simplistic, but if I were in this scenario, on which side of the MSP / VAR would I stand?

    A person hires me to help spec out a server for their office. I'm paid to help them determine how much RAM, storage, processors, etc. they need.

    This part is clear, I'm being paid for advice; thus, MSP.

    A point of clarity - advising only this is not being an MSP - you'r not managing anything (managed service provider). ITSP or Consultancy would be better terms for this portion... heck - the whole thing, including recommending a hardware vendor, because again, you're not managing anything.

    True. I ought to have used those other terms.