I’ve had the pleasure of being one of the judges for Computer Dealer News’ annual Channel Elite Awards (www.itbusiness.ca/cea/index.html) for the past two years. These awards recognize accomplishments in the Canadian reseller community. What impressed me in reading through the candidate submissions is the creativity and maturity that these smaller, highly focused companies bring to the table in their solutions. These solutions covered the full range of services and solutions, from under 100 seats to enterprise scale, for application services, communications, support, managed services, and marketing campaigns.

Smaller outsourcing providers tend to be overlooked by larger corporations, both because the larger firms often don’t know they exist and also in a misplaced belief that the bigger, TLA (three letter acronym) companies will be more mature, experienced, and have a better understanding of their business. In today’s economy, many senior IT people are no longer employees of large companies, but are running these speciality companies, bringing their experience and an entrepreneurial spirit into their solutions. As a client of a smaller firm, you get the best of both worlds: being able to share resources and expertise to minimize costs, and not get lost in the crowd of many customers, where turnover in your service team brings a new body (which you have to bring up to speed) to every meeting.

Of course, evaluating an outsourcing vendor has to be based on getting the best value and services fit for a fair price. The TLA choice may be the best for your needs. But it may be worth your while to broaden your search. It could require some digging on your part. Talk to your (or your existing services providers’) suppliers and ask specifically to be hooked up with their channel program people. Likely the folks you deal with in their enterprise or industry vertical team may not even know their colleagues on the “other side” of the business. See what you find. You may be pleasantly surprised!

George Gorsline advises organizations considering outsourcing.

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