Channel Partnerships: A Deep Dive into VAR, ISV and Hardware Vendor Collaboration

Savvy ISVs know that beneficial partnerships are based on multiple factors, not just a name, price, or even technology.

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Independent software vendor (ISV) and value-added reseller (VAR) success depends on hardware vendor partnerships. ISVs must foster hardware vendor partnerships to create seamless solutions that optimize their software’s performance. VARs need hardware partners to help them build end-to-end solutions leveraging the latest innovative hardware to meet their clients’ needs. However, savvy ISVs and VARs know the key is forming smart partnerships that benefit their businesses while delivering solutions designed to help their clients meet their business goals.

Solutions providers should build a strategy that includes these five principles to forge partnerships that pay off:

1Choose quality products.

The ultimate goal is to provide the best solution for end users that evolves and scales with their businesses over time. ISVs and VARs should choose hardware vendors that offer high-quality, durable products that are flexible enough to adapt as their needs change. They should also be easy to implement and manage. Although the partnership must consider other factors, the products the vendor offers are fundamental to the partnership decision.

2Form strategic partnerships.

Strategic partnerships are based on the understanding that two parties will work together to achieve their individual and mutual goals. Naturally, hardware vendors want to work with ISVs whose software will work well with their products. Vendors also prefer to work with ISVs and VARs to whom they can confidently pass leads and can count on to promote their products to result in leads for them.

ISVs and VARs will also benefit by looking for partners that can complement their capabilities, for example, in distribution or marketing, to fill gaps within their organizations. Additionally, solutions providers will have an advantage if they work with hardware vendors that own their IP and manufacture their own products rather than those that work with OEMs. Hardware vendors that control the entire manufacturing process aren’t at the mercy of supply chain disruptions or other factors that can disrupt competitors and extend lead times.

How the parties fit together in the relationship is an important factor in deciding whether to enter into a partnership agreement. Solutions providers should ensure it gets the weight it deserves during decision-making.

3Partner for brand awareness.

By partnering with reputable vendors, ISVs and VARs extend their reach, get their brands in front of more prospects, and build credibility in their markets. Well-known and well-respected hardware vendor partners with powerful marketing departments and sales teams will offer access to additional presales, sales, and marketing support, amplifying promotional efforts and driving customer engagement.

4Make margin.

The best products and best support won’t benefit an ISV or VAR business if the partnership isn’t profitable for them. Negotiate mutually beneficial terms to ensure that all parties financially benefit from the collaboration. Savvy ISVs and VARs will stay agile, retaining the power to use products from different partners when necessary and combine solution components in different ways to create profitable total solutions.

5Align based on vision.

Successful, long-term partnerships must be founded on shared values and vision. Align with companies that not only meet current needs, but also share a common vision for how both businesses can grow and innovate together. Whether the focus is on breaking into new markets or pioneering new advancements in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, or robotics, partnerships must facilitate progress rather than create roadblocks.

Make Sure Everyone Wins

The takeaway for ISVs, VARs – and hardware vendors – is that beneficial partnerships are based on multiple factors, not just a name, price, or even technology. Before committing to a partnership, solutions providers must perform thorough due diligence, ensuring that all signs indicate success. It requires an investment of time, but it’s an investment that will result in end-user satisfaction with solutions, minimal stress with vendor management, and support for business growth.

John Dittig

John Dittig joined MicroTouch in January 2024 as the Global Vice President with a focus on Business Development and Partnerships. Prior to joining MicroTouch, John held senior roles for Samsung, Elo Touch Solutions, Tyco Electronics (TE Connectivity), ViewSonic Corporation and Tech Data. John has over 30 years of experience managing and creating sales, marketing, and product strategies for multibillion-dollar organizations. He is a true leader with a sense of balance who is focused, creative, and driven. John has his Bachelor’s in Arts from the University of South Florida.

John Dittig joined MicroTouch in January 2024 as the Global Vice President with a focus on Business Development and Partnerships. Prior to joining MicroTouch, John held senior roles for Samsung, Elo Touch Solutions, Tyco Electronics (TE Connectivity), ViewSonic Corporation and Tech Data. John has over 30 years of experience managing and creating sales, marketing, and product strategies for multibillion-dollar organizations. He is a true leader with a sense of balance who is focused, creative, and driven. John has his Bachelor’s in Arts from the University of South Florida.