How VARs can begin their IoT attack

(Editor’s note: contributed blogs like this are part of’s annual sponsorship program. Find out more here. This article was authored by Alex Ryals, vice president of solutions development at Avnet Technology Solutions.)

Alex Ryals, vice president of solutions development at Avnet Technology Solutions

Alex Ryals, vice president of solutions development at Avnet Technology Solutions

There are so many available use cases and innovative ideas surrounding IoT that the opportunities in the market can induce analysis paralysis in VARs. The challenge faced by many VARs today is that they are pulled in so many directions that they’re not sure where to begin in creating their IoT strategy. As a result, many continue to put off their IoT initiative.

Where to Begin

In order to map an effective strategy, it’s important to start your initiatives with focus. One option is to begin with an untapped opportunity that you already have competencies in— whether it’s with cloud, analytics or mobile development—and get some early wins with existing customers. By beginning the conversation surrounding IoT with customers you’re already comfortable with and discovering their IoT data challenges, you may be able to pick up an immediate win and begin building momentum in the market.

Just be sure that your business is truly aligned to make good on promised use cases. If your business hasn’t yet dived into big data, robust cloud or analytics opportunities or if it is still stuck in a box-pushing model, some line-of-business changes must be made first so that you are able to offer your customers true value.

Participating in the IoT requires a well-thought-out plan. It is not an area where you simply ask a sales rep to sniff for opportunity and then act. It will take good engineering to develop these solutions.

Changing Your Mindset and Educating Your Workforce

Taking advantage of IoT opportunities will also require a different mode of selling than many VARs are used to. For success in IoT, look to a new workforce skillset that effectively teams up information technology and operational technology to extend your reach to the line of business for new, but less traditional opportunities. This is not often the type of sale that begins and ends with the director of IT. Instead you’re selling to line-of-business constituents in many sectors, such as:

  • Retail: Chief marketing officer or chief operating officer
  • Hospitals: Chief medical officer or chief nursing officer
  • Energy: Facilities manager or chief operating officer
  • Finance: Chief information officer or chief financial officer

Getting Connected

There’s no doubt that IoT will put a lot of money on the table for solution providers in the coming years. According to IDC, IoT will be a $1.7T market by 2020.* That can mean amazing things for creative and driven VARs.

Analysts predict that we will likely figure out exactly how IoT is going to manifest itself in the market by mid-2017 or 2018. With much consolidation happening between IoT platform companies, VARs have time to develop their strategy and focus on a profitable area of IoT. But they must not delay.

Will that be Smart Transportation, Smart Agriculture, Smart Lighting, Smart Industrial or any of the many other growing areas of IoT? The sky is the limit for VARs, and focus is key.

Want More?

As a diamond sponsor of IoT World held in Santa Clara, CA May 10 – 12, 2016, Avnet will be offering several keynotes and be featured on panels throughout the week. Stop by our booth – #305 – located at the entrance to the exhibition area, for more information on the agenda and how Avnet can help you in the IoT space – from edge to enterprise.

Visit the Avnet Advantage Blog and subscribe for more Avnet IoT related news sent to your inbox weekly!

* “Explosive Internet of Things Spending to Reach $1.7 Trillion in 2020, According to IDC,” IDC, June 2, 2015