How partners can get more from stagnant IT budgets

By Paolo Del Nibletto

As an IT reseller, have you ever wondered how you could increase your business from an existing customer who has just told you their IT budget is stagnant for another year?

Well, it’s time to look beyond the IT department. Many other departments have budgets that include IT products and services, and non-IT departments and or individuals inside an organization acquiring IT products is becoming a growing trend. For example, a nurse often has authorization from administration to go ahead and purchase a push to talk IP phone.

The top decision maker will often go outside a set IT budget to buy a computing solution to either solve a specific business problem or gain a competitive advantage. The challenge then becomes how will this new equipment gets deployed and more important work with all other IT systems.

A customer doesn’t want expensive new equipment failing to talk with older equipment. This creates an opportunity for the solution provider to prevent an organization from having disparate IT solutions.

However, there is still greater opportunity for solution providers throughout an organization. This is why it’s important for a solution provider to build a relationship with CEO and the CFO of an organization along, with the CIO. Inevitably, if you can establish yourself as a trusted advisor to your customers all these separate business units will come to you.

This is something that Insight and CDW do extremely well. They understand and are able to cover organizations like an IT blanket. Also, look for vendors to push their channel partners to find hidden pockets of IT budget inside organizations.

Pat Calhoun, the CTO of Cisco Systems, has noticed this opportunity and believes channel partners are the best way to get at these non-IT people. “Partners for us are the best to sell Cisco to people within organizations we don’t have a relationship with,” he said.

One of his main targets is the manufacturing shop floor and a hospital emergency room.

Calhoun said sometimes it’s as simple as getting to know the guys who build the patient beds.

With this growing trend out there resellers now have another avenue to go down the next time they hear those dreaded words: “Sorry, the IT budgets are flat.”

One quick hit before I go. Ken Price, former executive with Compaq Canada and then HP Canada has resurfaced at Cisco Systems Canada in a marketing role. He also worked for Bell Business Solutions for a short while. CDN wishes Ken the very best at Cisco.

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