One of the biggest questions that customers face when implementing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution is whether to buy through a Value Added Reseller (VAR) or the software developer directly. There are several pros and cons for both sides, but ultimately there is a reason why most software developers these days choose a VAR model only.

Buying Direct

It’s safe to say that the software developer will have the most comprehensive understanding of their own product. It could be assumed that if you were implementing a large, company-wide initiative whereby you had very specific requirements that needed to be tailored to, buying direct would be the correct decision. This may have been true 5-10 years ago when the concept of ECM was fairly new and all changes needed to be made at base-code level; however, with software developers now giving VARs the power to tailor the software themselves, this is no longer the case.

The main thing that the direct channel lacks is providing an objective solution. What I mean by this is that a vendor represents their own product and every product has its limitations. A vendor isn’t going to recommend a competitor’s product if they don’t think their own will work, but rather make a “square peg fit in a round hole.”

Buying from a VAR

VARs want to make themselves as competitive in the market as possible, so it’s then safe to assume that they will chose the most competitive, cost-effective solution for you based on your requirements. VARs often have a wide range of solutions as part of their inventory with the certification to implement them all, so they have the opportunity to take an objective approach by consulting with you and ensuring they find the best solution, or multiple solutions, to satisfy your business objectives. They will also provide the necessary training and comprehensive account management beyond the initial implementation to ensure the solution continually serves you well.

The only thing that you need to confirm when dealing with a VAR is, that they are certified in the solution that they are selling and implementing. There are certain software packages that do not require VARs to be certified, and end up causing nothing but pain and angst for the customer. Get in contact with the software developer if you are unsure.