Ian Funnell, general manager for IT solutions provider CodeBlue, says his company has always been a managed services provider more than a reseller. And that is the direction he believes all resllers must take if they are going to evolve. Not only should resellers think of themselves as delivering services, but they should develop relationships with their customers to become the authority in IT implementation. “CodeBlue was started seven years ago specifically to deliver managed infrastructure services,” Funnell says. “This is what we do and is absolutely the way of the future. We have never referred to ourselves as a reseller because we see our relationship with our clients as partnerships building their IT strategy. The technology comes second.” According to Funnell, the company takes “an agnostic approach to technology” and that no particular IT trend is going to answer all of a customer's needs. “The cloud is such an example," Funnell says. "Some businesses it suits, some it doesn’t: our approach is to fit the right technology to our clients’ business requirements." As with many others in the channel, Funnell sees the role of the reseller as the trusted advisor. This mindset seems to have been working for CodeBlue. Last year, the company launched its “virtual CIO” initiative, “to deliver to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) the considerable cost savings and business advantages that dedicated CIOs bring to very large companies,” as Funnell described it at the time. “2011 was a huge year for CodeBlue,” he says. “We have seen a real uptake in cloud services and we have experienced growth in every one of our seven branches across the country. Staff numbers now exceed 80.” Funnell expects the growth trend to continue in 2012. We have a greater depth of skills and experience now, and have introduced some new services that we believe will gain more uptake,” he says, citing the “virtual CIO” initiative as an example. Funnell says the new service is “generating a lot of interest”.