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Two years on, Master VAR focuses on careful, strategic growth

by Jason Gumpert

The Master VAR program is now a little over two years old.  It launched in the US with SBS Group, Socius, and (a few weeks later) Tribridge.  Microsoft Dynamics value added resellers (or firms that were losing their partner status due to stricter sales goals) would join these firms as "sales affiliates" by (partially) rebranding under the parent organization, rerouting their software orders, and working as part of the Master VAR's network.

The launch of the program was initially met with mixed feelings by many value added resellers (VARs). Many small and mid-sized VARs saw little alignment with their own growth aspirations. The more cynical of those small business owners also saw plenty of risk if the larger firms consolidated more business and started sucking more of Microsoft's attention and resources out of the room. 

Ken Ledyard, marketing director at Socius, recalls that there were some difficult conversations early on in the program.

"We had conversations that sometimes started with partners who were very defensive, felt they didn't have any other options," he says.

But now that the program has some history behind it, Ledyard says those in the program, and those considering entering into it, bring a different perspective.

"It's transforming from a survival decision to a strategic one," he says.  "New conversations start in a much different way.  Now partners are starting to understand what it's about."

Two years of growth

Ledyard says Socius intentionally started signing affiliates slowly, getting the right partners into the program while building the needed operational and administrative components to let it scale. After assessing the progress they had made with first few ...

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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