Do The Right Thing And Make A Profit By Offering UPS
Ethical VARs and integrators owe it to their clients to explain the benefits of power protection. And they owe it to themselves to make a profit.
The (Hypothetical) Wayward VAR
Assume a VAR has just made the sale of a lifetime – a $300,000 installation, (the technology is immaterial), at a major enterprise in the VAR's city. The installation went well, everything is working as planned, and the client is pleased.
Three weeks later, a major summer thunderstorm hits the city causing a citywide blackout. The resultant outages and surges cause major damage to the client's new equipment. The client is clearly displeased. Of course, the VAR handles the warranty claims and required service calls, but it is expensive for the VAR company.
The VAR's reputation is tarnished, as well, when it becomes apparent that the VAR never even offered UPS as part of its service. (Sometimes VARs don't offer UPS, usually for one of two related reasons. They don't represent a UPS vendor, so there's no profit motive in offering it or they are concerned that the cost of a UPS system will drive up the cost of their bid enough to make it unattractive.) Clearly, responsible VARs and integrators owe it to their clients to at least discuss UPS and the risks inherent in ignoring it.
And A Few Success Stories
On the positive side, there are many stories of VARs' recommending UPS and power conditioners and saving their clients huge amounts of money and aggravation. Take the case of Union Pacific (UP), the largest railroad company in the continental United States, which relies on a network of over 10,000 computers to keep its trains moving.
It is vital that Union Pacific keeps its links up. The movement of all the UP trains in the entire country are controlled by the central office staff. If the central office's equipment is down for more than 20 minutes, they'll begin to stop trains. Jerry Mann, project engineer for UP, estimates that " it can cost as much as $1 million per minute if Union Pacific starts stopping trains." He adds, "We need UPS protection on our critical equipment, so everything stays up and running. We've backed up our PCs, all of our communications equipment, servers, hubs and routers."
Then there's Bob Selzer, manager of information services for the Nebraska State Historical Society, who tells of a freak snowstorm. As he says, "Power was out for up to two weeks. When it came back on, a massive surge accompanied it. If we hadn't had our servers and workstations safeguarded with UPS, we would have lost thousands of dollars of equipment and countless hours of work."
And Nick Nolter, CEO of World Net Companies, the largest private Internet service provider in the world, commented recently about UPS. World Net is based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, which Nolter referred to as the "thunderstorm capital of the world". He stated unequivocally that no firm anywhere that deals with the Internet should ever be without UPS.
Clearly, VARs and systems integrators have a choice. Because UPS is so vital in today's high-tech environment, VARs should definitely offer it to all their clients. And if you're going to offer it, why not partner with a quality UPS vendor and make a profit on each piece of UPS equipment you sell.