GE Access to VARs: Outsourcing means work for you

KEYSTONE, Colo. – Executives from GE Access Tuesday advised partners to look for opportunities in RFID and VoIP and trends like utility computing and IT outsourcing to grow their businesses.

GE Access president and

CEO Anna McDermott opened her keynote address with this year’s theme – imagination.

“”We challenge you to put your imagination to work,”” McDermott told 1,100 New Frontiers conference attendees here. “”As business leaders, your most valuable asset is imagination.””

McDermott said technologies like Radio Frequency Identification and Voice over Internet Protocol are shaping the channel.

IDC predicts RFID will be an U.S. $3 billion market by 2009, said McDermott.

“”That’s a big opportunity for the channel,”” she said.

McDermott cited several examples of RFID use across industry verticals from Wal-Mart in retail to the Federal Drug Administration in health care to Delta in transportation. Delta, for example, is using RFID technology to track customer’s baggage.

McDermott noted integration and customization opportunities for the channel in VoIP.

McDermott said VoIP in the small and medium-business market presents resellers with opportunities to migrate businesses off legacy PBX (private branch exchange) systems. “”That’s billions of dollars in upgrades to PBX systems in the next decade,”” she said.

McDermott said trends like utility computing, IT outsourcing and partnering are changing the channel. She compared utility computing to monthly car payments, which have cost of service rolled into them. “”Instead of selling servers, storage, software and service, we sell computing,”” McDermott said.

She said companies will spend US$16 billion in offshore labour and US$400 billion in IT outsourcing in 2004.

“”Rather than fight it, find ways to use it,”” McDermott said. “”Outsourcing is about streaming the IT supply chain. Utility computing and subscription are forms of outsourcing.

“”We’re putting our imagination to work to make this a reality for channel partners. Outsourcing requires partners.””

McDermott cited Apple’s recent partnership with BMW to offer iTunes in one of the auto manufacturer’s models as an example of partnering.

Also on Monday, GE Access launched a new Web-based services toolbox that gives resellers online access to their active contracts, notifies them of service renewal opportunities, and produces a quote or options for renewal that can be sent to their customers.

Britt Hilton, director of sales at Myra Systems Corp., a Sun Services manager and GE Access partner since 1995, said he hopes the online service will allow him to more proactively manage Sun enterprise service contracts.

“”The challenge is to stay on top of what needs to be renewed when,”” said Hilton. “”Anytime you can automate something is a good thing.””

Myra Systems, a Victoria-based systems integrator that focuses on running, operating and managing computers, gets two-thirds of its revenue from services with the majority of its business going to the B.C. government.

Because the majority of his business is services, Hilton said he hopes this will make his job easier.

“”It’s unique. We couldn’t (do this before) through vendors. It’s a way to get involved,”” said Hilton.

GE Access also announced a preferred upgrade program for resellers selling Sun products. The program allows GE Access customers to earn rewards through Sun’s Upgrade Advantage Program. Resellers will be reviewed on a quarterly basis to see if they continue to qualify for rewards.

In a joint announcement with McAfee, which signed on in May, GE Access said it will be offering resellers a new Network Security Online Module to help them sell network security solutions in the health-care and financial services markets.

The conference wraps up Wednesday.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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