It’s imperative to know just how much you can trust your Value added Reseller (VAR) to act in your best interests before you allow said VAR inside your perimeter. Do you really know who the VAR’s personnel are? Do you know their background as well as their qualifications? Are you sure that the person that you’re trusting to give you sound advice doesn’t have a hidden agenda? Just how much can you trust the people sitting across the table from you?
This isn’t an idle conversation topic – it’s a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Many large companies have a formal vendor management process where they painstakingly and deliberately ‘vet’ their potential partners. They review the normal things (like financial stability and brand owership) as well as the easy-to-miss buzz (like customer complaints and lawsuits). It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a vendor suitability analysis can turn up evidence that your friendly neighborhood VAR has a potential conflict of interest that taints the value of their advice or their services.
Can you do the same sort of detailed analysis if you’re not a mega-corporation with room on the payroll for an entire vendor management function? Yes, in a way … You may not be able to perform the function in-house, but you can outsource the inquiries. A neutral services broker like BlackLake Security has the ability to vet your potential suppliers and partners before you commit to a relationship. A truly vendor-agnostic company has to do all the same due diligence research that you have to, because their brand will be even more tarnished than yours if they let a partner or vendor operate with a hidden agenda under their banner.
The key phrase there is “vendor-agnostic.” Many consulting companies have financial, operational, logistical, and/or personal ties to their partner companies. These ties can be influential in how the partner delivers services. Do they favor one brand of product over another (for example)? A truly vendor-agnostic service looks for those subtle lines of influence and grades the partner on their demonstrated performance. That way, when they partner up, they know when and where to apply extra scrutiny to joint operations to ensure that no trace of bias in creeping (consciously or unconsciously) into the solution development process.
If your VAR is transparent about their fetters, their detractors, and their shortcomings, then you can probably trust them to “play fair” with you on-site. If instead they’re defensive, evasive, aggressive, or completely in denial about the complaints levied against them, then it’s a good bet that they can’t be trusted “behind the curtain.” Shop around for a new VAR… better yet, look for a Partner.