When I completed the relocation of my business from the UK to the USA in the summer of 2008 the US economic recession was really beginning to bite and as the "new kid on the block" I took some time out to speak with my industry colleagues "on this side of the pond" to try and figure out how best to establish a foothold here in the USA.
What very quickly became clear to me was that despite the fact that the USA is by far the largest single market for IBM-Lotus products and services on the planet, far too many within the US Notes-Domino Business Partner Community were really struggling to survive and many were either contemplating - or were already actively seeking - a future away from the IBM-Lotus technology set.
I have to admit. That really surprized me at a time when all that I could see was "a land of opportunity".
And then, I had what I regard as my first true business epiphany.
I had not only started my company, but had grown it successfully, within the far smaller and less buoyant business environment of the UK. Over there, especially since the turn of the century, you have to really fight for every single win, large and small. It occurred to me that serving my "business apprenticeship" over there meant that I was already completely acclimatized to the economic and market conditions that much of the US IBM-Lotus Business Partner community seemed to be experiencing for the very first time.
Indeed, it seemed to me that much of the US IBM-Lotus Business Partner community had actually either forgotten how - or had never had to learn how - to stand on their own two feet and actually sell their products and services in a competitive market without any real marketing assistance from IBM.
Well, I've always been a "glass half full" kinda guy so I decided to take advantage of the general malaise within the US Business Partner community and complement my own range of packaged Notes-Domino solutions with other best-of-breed, Notes-Domino packaged solutions from around the world and thereby broaden the overall solution portfolio that I could offer potential clients here in the US while the rest of the US IBM-Lotus Business Partner community "slept".
And guess what? There is still a buoyant market for IBM-Lotus packaged solutions, tools and utilities here in the USA ... if you're prepared to get out and actually SELL.
Today, the revenue we generate from the resale of best-of-breed products from "other" vendors by far outstrips the revenue that we generate from our own-brand solutions. Now that is due in part to the relative size of our Partner Product Portfolio when compared to our own-brand Smart Software Portfolio for sure but having one foot in the Independent Software Vendor [ISV] camp and one foot in the Value Added Reseller [VAR] camp has given us invaluable insight into how to genuinely optimize revenue generation as a Value Added Reseller.
I'm not going to give away any of our "secrets" wrt how we are actually redefining the role of the IBM-Lotus VAR here in this post but will say that the we have proven conclusively to ourselves within the last three years that there is still a healthy market for genuinely best-of-breed, IBM-Lotus packaged solutions, tools and utilities. Indeed, our methodology has been so successful that we recently embarked upon the process of scaling up the model that we first established here in the US to embrace the sponsorship of a truly global network of ISV's, VAR's and IBM-Lotus Technologists capable of delivering the broadest possible range of solutions and services for the IBM-Lotus technology set, from a single source, anywhere in the world outside of IBM.
And what's the glue that holds it all together? Well, the technology itself of course, but just as importantly, good old fashioned solution sales & marketing expertise!!!