From The Editor | September 19, 2013

Fast First Thoughts From Austin ASCII Success Summit

Jim Roddy

By Jim Roddy, president, Business Solutions magazine and Innovative Retail Technologies magazine

Austin ASCII Success Summit

I know it’s early, but after two hours of consuming information at the ASCII Success Summit in Austin, TX, I’ve heard some consistent themes emerging already:

  • The topic brought up most often at the Welcome Reception was VARs transitioning to the “as a Service” business model. Everyone I talked with agreed – to varying degrees – that traditional break/fix VARs are indeed turning to the managed services model because of shrinking hardware margins.
  • Tying in with that, the perspective is that the only VARs who have a profitable long-term future are total solution providers. If you sell only part of the solution, eventually you will be replaced by a competitor who is able to provide the complete suite of products and services customers want. If you’re not expanding your offering, you’re dying.
  • The only thing worse than a non-total solution provider is a lifestyle reseller. One vendor told me eventually they won’t tolerate spending overhead on one- or two-person shops that show a track record of no desire to grow.
  • The concept of HaaS (Hardware as a Service) is resonating with VARs on the “other” end of the channel spectrum – opposite sophisticated managed services providers. Some vendors realize traditional data collection and point of sale resellers are exploring the “as a Service” model and will cater to them in 2014. “They’re a little behind but eager to catch up,” one vendor executive told me.
  • I met some new vendors here in Austin and they share the same frustration of other vendor and distributor executives I’ve crossed paths with for years: “We can help! We can help VARs grow their business, but they don’t take advantage of the support we offer them.”
  • End users need better security systems. The recent shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard is underscoring that fact.

The ASCII Success Summit is being held Sept. 18-19 at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Austin, TX. For more information on the event, go to

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