When your company grows, its operations expand and branches off. Units and divisions are formed to focus on different aspects of each operation. To make things easier, your company starts to consider purchasing a software solution to digitize and optimize operations. However, the transition and application of the software could be too complicated and technical, which is why you’ll need someone to guide you. So, just as important as choosing a business software is choosing a partner to help implement the software.

Business software and platforms developers such as ServiceNow often have their list of implementation services partners that you can choose from after you purchase their software. Alternatively, you can also purchase the software through a value-added reseller (or VAR), which would then assist you in implementing the software. To help you choose which is best for your company, let’s break down the differences between the two:

Implementation Service Provider

ISPs do not make or sell the business software, but they are certified and referred to by the software developers. And sometimes, ISPs themselves could be under the software developers themselves (either as a sister company, or a division/unit). Implementation service includes software installation, setup, training, and support to ensure that the software’s potential is maximized and optimized for the company/client. They often have consultants that study the business to determine what the company needs for the software and tailor-fits the software’s functions and settings to the business. After which they proceed with training the company and its employees to properly use the software, and even provide troubleshooting support and system maintenance.

Value-Added Resellers

Employees in a modern officeVARs sell the software and offers implementation services as well. They “add value” to the software by optimizing it for the company, and providing support. VARs can also provide/sell customized hardware that is optimized for the software and/or the client. Companies often consider VARs over ISPs when they need specific features or add-ons to the software. VARs are required to be authorized by the software developer by meeting a set of requirements and are often classified by the software manufacturers by the level of expertise or its partnership “level” with the manufacturer.

ISPs focus mainly on optimizing the existing software, while VARs can provide and sell more customizations and additional features. As such, ISPs are often cheaper than VARs. The bottom-line is that both provide software support, but the main difference between VARs and ISPs is that the latter doesn’t sell the software or any add-ons.

Bonus: Background Check and Reviews

VARS and Implementation Providers are quite similar, both often partner with the software developers, and VARS can provide the same services as implementation service providers. As such, the best course of action would be to perform a background check and see how other companies (under the same industry as yours) review them. You can ask the service which VARs or ISPs they think would be best for your business, or better yet read unbiased opinions and reviews of their clients.

Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make a better decision when choosing between picking a VAR or an Implementation Service Provider. Whichever you choose, know that your company would heavily benefit from having a business software and a partner to help you use it.