Identifying the Ideal Managed IT Opportunities23 Jul, 2014 By: Michael Amiri, Continuum
As an office equipment dealer, you are well seasoned in having copy and print conversations with your customers. You know the business, the products, and how to talk with your customers about their needs. Your customers love you, and your relationships are built upon trust. So in looking to expand your offerings into managed IT services to generate more business, it’s naturally easiest to first go to your existing customers. But how do you start having conversations about managed IT services with them? And are those customers where the right IT opportunities are?
First, ask yourself what the managed IT services opportunity look like for your business. For example, let’s take a dealership that has 4,000 customers. The top half, or approximately 2,000 customers, will most likely have the greatest need for managed IT services. Having the right conversations can help penetrate 10% of those targeted customers in the first 3 years, grabbing $3 million in annualized revenue – on average. You want in? Here are some guidelines to help identify the right IT opportunities that are going to make you money, reach the average even faster and allow your IT business to blossom.
If you have customers who love you on the copy and print side, it should be easy to let them know you are open for business in managed IT services. First, speak a language that they can understand about their IT risks. Explain Recovery Time Objective (RTO), the maximum tolerable length of time that a computer, system, network or application can be down after a failure or disaster occurs. Have a business conversation about how critical the customer’s IT infrastructure is to their business. If they were to be without a particular IT appliance for a period of time, what would the impact be to the business? Also,
- Would they experience lost revenues due to IT downtime? (Here’s how to calculate the cost of downtime)
- Could they lose clients if they experienced extended IT downtime?
- Is their network currently monitored 24/7/365 to prevent issues before they arise?
- What would be the business impact of losing critical data?
- How would IT downtime affect their legal/contractual obligations?
- Are they bound by regulations such as HIPAA or SOX standards?
Every customer with an IT infrastructure is not necessarily a good managed IT services prospect. The organization must value their IT, and understand the business impact should they be without it for a period of time. If they do, move to obtain specific details about their network infrastructure using a network assessment tool. Properly managing any organization’s infrastructure requires knowing its composition, function and operations. Don’t take the organization’s word for it. With employees coming and going, most really don’t know the exact number of PCs, laptops, servers and other appliances that sit on the network. A network assessment tool provides for a quick diagnostic scan that 1) gives the dealership’s techs a complete, accurate view of the IT landscape to access the customer’s needs and 2) gives the customer a “health” check that helps the dealership to present the case for managed IT services, based on those findings.
The network assessment is critical in helping a dealership to identify a good IT opportunity. The sales rep helps to set up the assessment to gather the data. The technical specialist (vCIO) is best prepared to analyze the assessment, understand the environment and decide whether or not this is an ideal IT opportunity for the dealership. Having the conversation about the results of the network assessment is critical in determining if this is a right opportunity for your IT services sales pipeline.
It’s important to be prepared to walk away from an IT opportunity that is not good business for the dealership. In managed IT services, make sure the environment is one that you can adequately support and additionally, that you won’t get stuck with a customer who will cause a wealth of unnecessary action items that will tax your internal resources and, in turn, adversely affect your profit potential.
The ideal IT opportunities are right at your fingertips. You just need to identify them. Check out our comprehensive Network Assessment Module by RapidFire Tools at: http://www.rapidfiretools.com/nd_nam.shtml.
For more information about accelerating your success in managed IT services, visit:
Blog by Michael Amiri, Director, Office Equipment Industry at Continuum Managed IT Services. Mr. Amiri and his dealer support team can be reached at OE@continuum.net.