Clearpath’s Blog on IT Infrastructure, Hybrid Clouds and IT Security

The Difference Between a Reseller and a Solutions Provider

Posted by Imran Ahmed on Wed, Aug 04, 2010 @ 02:45 PM

We're often asked what the difference is between our company and the larger catalog resellers that can carry similar product lines (and almost always often more of them). We are going to use this introductory article as a chance to set the record straight on our approach to business, clients and IT projects.

Recruiting

Clearpath is a small business. This means that we can't afford to hire the wrong person - especially when it comes to those employees that will interact directly with our clients. We look for the common traits that you'd want in an employee, such as the hardworking, self-starting, intelligent individual contributors that you would want on your team. Furthermore, because each employee is a direct reflection on our company, we also look for passionate, dedicated and skilled people. We're always trying to find those who have the aptitude to listen to business problems and assemble a solution based on experience, strong product knowledge, and a solid understanding of the financial constraints our clients work with. Only with ALL of these traits, or the propensity to acquire them, can our account teams separate themselves from our competitors.

Training

Clearpath requires every person in the company to start their employment by training on the product lines that the company carries. This is only the beginning of their training at Clearpath, since the next two months will be spent shadowing a variety of roles within the organization. Pre-sales, Post-Sales Engineering, Inside Sales and Operations. The more one of our colleagues knows about our company, capabilities and expertise, the better they're able to serve our customers. We also require a minimum level of certification for our employees once they've been with the company for six months or more. These stringent requirements and processes are what have driven Clearpath, which has 42 employees at the time to carry the highest solution provider certification levels possible with VMware and EMC, as well as being part of the exclusive Advanced Technology Program (ATP) for Unified Computing - a designation available only by invitation from Cisco Systems.

Focus

Clearpath maintains a narrow focus on high-impact technologies. By having a team that is highly trained in this narrow band of technologies, we can deliver a stronger competency than companies that purport to have enterprise storage and virtualization, but also sell projectors and laptops.

Our Client Engagements

Planning

The planning process is where our recruiting, training and focus start to show. As we help our clients plan a project, the expertise and knowledge that we've developed through extensive training and other client engagements becomes clear. Our account team will work collaboratively with our clients to understand both business and technical requirements as well as the budget parameters that problems need to be solved within.

Once a clear problem statement and desired outcome statement is developed, we engage a seasoned engineering team to develop solution options for our clients. This process concludes with a solution proposal, ROI and TCO analysis, project plan and supporting documentation.

Engagement

Once a client has accepted our proposal, the real work begins.Our Professional Services Division is built from the ground up to integrate the technologies that we've selected for our portfolio. From EMC, to VMware, Quantum, Cisco, NetApp and Data Domain, our engineering team regularly plans, designs and integrates our portfolio technologies with our clients' applications. Our Professional Services team follows a repeatable set of processes and uses applicable components from industry standard practices and programs such as ITSM, COBIT and ITIL.

Project Conclusion

At the end of our each project, we provide our clients with an Engagement Completion Form. This signifies project completion and ultimately closure of our engagement. At this time, we provide our client with any observations; lessons learned or suggested improvements to their infrastructure, and all project documentation.

So while we've been called a Cisco Reseller, VMware Reseller, EMC Reseller among other things; our approach to client engagements is what sets a Solutions Provider apart from a reseller.

Topics: Solutions, Services

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