IT solutions provider First Technology says that as hardware margins shrink it is becoming vital for resellers to deliver strong, reliable value-added services to their clients – and that vendors are an important part of the equation.

“Our management and professional services are an important part of what we offer, says First Technology’s senior accounts manager Chris Deacon. “This is especially important for our SME clients, which typically have between 50-250 users. They may be small by global standards, but their requirements of their IT systems are high — and they need to get it done without having in-house resources.”

Deacon says First Technology insists that all its clients design their systems according to best practices: “We have templates that can quickly show each client where the gaps are, and then we tailor a solution according to their budget.”

Often the process throws up surprises, he says: “A lot of our clients have never really thought about how long their businesses can survive without key systems. Some who think they can last 48 hours are shocked when they actually run the numbers to discover that their limit is only four hours.”

“For example, if you run a call centre you’re losing revenue every minute you can’t make calls,” explains Deacon. “Once you can put a per-minute cost to outages it becomes clear what your budget for availability needs to be.”

As a result, he says, ensuring data availability is an increasing concern for First Technology’s clients. “ Veeam’s availability solution ensures peace of mind for our clients. It’s cost-effective, easy to run and easy to monitor, even for clients who don’t have in-house expertise. Veeam allows our customers to achieve recovery time and point objectives that can help to ensure the survival of their business.”

First Technology was recently named one of three Veeam Platinum Partners in South Africa.

Trustworthy deal registration is one of the major benefits of being a Veeam partner, says Deacon. “Veeam is one of the only vendors I trust to have a direct relationship with my customers. They have a firm commitment never to bypass their channel, which gives us a great deal of comfort. It means we can rely on their excellent technical resources to help look after our clients.”

Deacon says Veeam’s sales and technical training portal is also excellent. “We are at 100% capacity all the time, so we can’t waste time working out how to access training materials. Some vendors complicate things so much it’s not worth getting the certification – but Veeam has a really simple, self-explanatory system that just works, like their software.”