White Papers

Browse this free online library for the latest technical white papers, webcasts, and product information to help you make intelligent IT product purchasing decisions.

From VAR to Solution Provider: Five Strategies for Business Transformation

  • Source: Computer Economics, Inc.
  • Written By:
  • Published:
The traditional value-added reseller (VAR) business—comprised of companies that add features or services to an existing product and then resell it as an integrated product or complete solution—has become more challenging, with declining product margins, increasing competition, and lower-cost alternatives to proprietary products. The pressures are causing many VARs to grow their businesses from simply selling products to offering more comprehensive solutions built on a richer set of services and recurring revenue models.

For decades, VARs have been an important channel for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), like computer manufacturers and software vendors, to reach customers. The “value-add” can simply be to provide local implementation and hands-on support or it can involve adding other hardware, software, and services to tailor the OEM’s product to a specific industry, problem, or use. In many markets, customers prefer buying from VARs instead of directly from OEMs, as VARs are closer to the customer, offer local support, and are in a better position to develop long-term relationships.

The VAR business model has been attractive in the past, as it was profitable to resell OEM products. Over the past decade, however, product margins have been shrinking as the result of several long-term trends. In this report, learn about five strategies for making the transformation from VAR to solution provider. The changes needed require a new view of the business and a new mindset, to move from a deal mindset to long-term customer relationships, become invested in customer success, and transition from cash up front to realizing revenue over the life of a contract. Read More

Understanding the Challenges of Business Intelligence: What You Should Know Before Deploying a BI Solution

To attain, sustain, and further their competitive standing in a dynamic marketplace, companies need to be agile and responsive in the face of market conditions. Business intelligence (BI) can help executives make better decisions with reliable and timely information.

BI refers to a set of methodologies, processes, and technologies that transform raw transactional data into meaningful and useful information easily accessed and explored by business users. For most companies, information is locked up in enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and in its broadest sense, an ERP system is a direct source of BI.

Companies that have invested in Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP want to leverage the BI tools and technologies delivered within the product. This white paper defines BI within Microsoft’s framework, explains what is being delivered out of the box, addresses the challenges to success, and offers recommendations for a successful BI deployment. Read More

The Top Challenges Facing Manufacturers in Construction-driven Markets

The construction market is a key driver of the economy, both global and domestic. The Great Recession of the last decade had a tremendous effect on construction activity, which in turn severely impacted several economic sectors, including manufacturing. But over the last few years, construction has begun to rebound, and so has manufacturing.

While the demand for construction is rising, manufacturers whose products are driven by the construction market are facing particular challenges in the short term. This white paper examines those challenges. It also presents how Microsoft Dynamics solutions can help drive productivity and business insight for construction-driven manufacturers. Read More

Leveraging CRM to Drive Trade Revenue

Consumer package goods (CPG) companies manage multiple complex distribution channels. Because the industry operates through intermediary channel players, out-of-the-box customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are typically inadequate. In fact, account and trade management teams could dispense with a CRM system’s traditional sales funnel capabilities. But the CRM system needs to be more than an expensive contact manager.

Account and trade management teams may benefit from trade promotion management (TPM) functionality. TPM functionality can drive sales performance in CPG organizations, through budgeting, planning, sell-in, execution, and settlement.

Consumer brands have had limited success with traditional CRM systems because of differences in selling models. By extending CRM to address trade management requirements natively, CPG companies can drive internal and external collaboration to competitive advantage. Read More

How to Make the Case for a New ERP Solution

Businesses of all sizes rely on enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. ERP is an integrated computer-based system used to manage internal and external resources. Its purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connection to the supply chain. ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise-wide system environment.

While most enterprises could not survive without such a system, many of these systems are out of date, and companies are then burdened with customization and maintenance costs, in addition to the toll ineffiencies are taking on their business.

If your business isn't running as well as it should be, your current ERP system may be outdated, and it may be doing your business more harm than good. It may be time to upgrade or change your system. This white paper provides an overview of the considerations involved in an ERP evaluation and selection process. Read More

ERP Trends: Separating Fact from Fiction

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects come in all shapes and sizes, and may include new implementations, replacements, system upgrades, and consolidations. Choosing an ERP solution is a big decision—and an expensive one—not to be taken lightly.

This ebook aims to sort out the facts of ERP from the fiction and provides some telling statistics regarding the market, including the reasons for new ERP project, average go-live times, and the demand for mobility.  Read More

Forrester TechRadar Report: Data Security

Data security is not just an IT issue these days but a business imperative, as data volumes explode and it is becoming a Herculean task to protect sensitive data from cybercriminals and prevent privacy infringements. As data volumes continue to rise, the burden of protecting sensitive data and preventing security breaches can be crushing. It is necessary to take a holistic, comprehensive, and long-lasting approach to data security that encompasses people, processes, and technology.

This Forrester TechRadar Data Security report provides a framework for developing a long-term approach to keeping your organization’s information secure. Data breaches and insider threats are becoming more common, and your organization needs to achieve compliance and secure privacy without affecting the bottom line. Most companies are also interested in adopting cloud, mobile, and other technologies, which can complicate data security matters even more.

This comprehensive and in-depth report evaluates 20 of the key traditional and emerging data security technologies. To make the report, Forrester interviewed over 40 experts, customers, and users, and drew from a wealth of analyst experience, insight, and research.

Use this report to get informed about what you need to consider to restrict and strictly enforce access control to data, monitor, and identify abnormal patterns of network or user behavior, block exfiltration of sensitive data, and render successful theft of data harmless. Read More

Buyer’s Guide to Enterprise Collaboration Solutions 2015

The increased mobility of the workforce is changing the way we work. Business users want the flexibility to share and collaborate on content that drives their business while IT needs to ensure the security of that data, no matter where it goes. An effective enterprise collaboration solution must consider people, processes, and technologies to be effective, but where to begin?

This buyer’s guide offers help on how to develop your organization’s collaboration solution requirements with regard to:
• risk management—avoiding data breaches and loss of information that can result in non-compliance
• business productivity—allowing for secure collaboration while enabling teams to work anywhere on any device
• IT efficiency—supporting the full breadth of external business content requirements while integrating with existing applications and protocols

The guide offers a comprehensive approach for your enterprise collaboration solution evaluation process by examining the details of what you need to take into account, including evaluating solution support for enterprise file sharing, infrastructure, and extended collaboration. The guide also gives suggestions for the key capabilities and support you need to demand from your solutions provider.

The buyer’s guide is divided into requirements categories, including application security; infrastructure security; process security; integration, usability, and content management; mobile devices; information rights management; compliance reporting; and support requirements. Each section has key criteria for you to consider during your software evaluation, as well as questions to ask a solution provider.

This document can help you select a secure collaboration solution that gives your organization control over your content both within the company and beyond corporate boundaries. Download the guide to find out more. Read More

A Top 10 List for Meat Processors & Protein Companies When Considering a New ERP System

"The meat industry" traditionally supported by enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions has expanded into "the protein industry," which includes several non-meat sectors. This is in response to consumer demand for healthier alternatives to beef (for example, bison, elk, emu, or venison). The protein industry also includes the manufacture of pet food, which has essentially the same ERP requirements.

This industry requires specialized ERP functionality to address its concerns, including, for example, traceability, shelf-life management, and containerization.

This white paper outlines 10 key features to consider when evaluating and selecting an ERP system for process manufacturing that will address the specific challenges of the protein and meat-processing industry. Read More

Application Performance Starts with Database Performance Analysis

Application performance management (APM) tools have helped create a new corporate culture of continuous performance monitoring and improvement. But these tools generally tend to focus on application-level issues, while database and infrastructure-related issues go undetected.

This white paper examines the gap in the monitoring capabilities of traditional APM tools, which so often fail to identify the true root of problems, particularly as production performance issues often lie in the relational databases that run the majority of enterprise applications.

This paper also introduces a subcategory of APM solutions—application database performance management (ADPM) tools—that aims to give a unified perspective of a system’s overall performance. Read the report to discover the benefits of putting an ADPM tool in place and help you build a business case. Read More
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