Increase Profit Margins by Partnering with an IT Outsourcing Provider8 Apr, 2013 By: Todd Croteau, All Covered (Konica Minolta Division) imageSource
As a dealer of high quality MFPs, you know that your clients are dependent upon IT. You also know that many of your clients have small budgets which encourage them to outsource their IT support needs with technology firms. Have you considered that your dealership could increase its profit margins by becoming the IT outsource provider that your MFP customers turn to when they need IT support?
Today, many dealers are considering adding IT support services to their portfolios in order to stay competitive; grow their business and deepen their relationships with customers. Dealers can choose to build their own IT support team or partner with IT services companies. Choosing the approach that right for you is essential for success.
Building your IT team in-house
If a dealer chooses to create an in-house IT team to provide technology support to clients, consider these basic requirements that need to first be in place.
A dealer will need to build a technical staff that is familiar with the different types of hardware that most clients use to support business operations (workstations, servers, firewalls, networking, etc.). The staff will need to be knowledgeable about the different operating systems and line-of-business applications that are used in most businesses.
In addition to having an IT staff that is familiar with the most commonly used technologies, dealers will need to invest in other resources that are critical for a successful IT support team. Support staff will need to be comprised of a variety of experts that have technical, sales, customer service, and project management skills. Dealers will need the capital to invest in the technologies that support staff will need to effectively support clients. Aside from standard onsite support, IT staff should have the resources on hand to offer end-to-end project management, provide off-site support and remote system monitoring, and have the capacity to respond to emergencies 24/7.
In addition to investing in staff and resources, dealers will need to develop new partnerships with hardware and software vendors. Partners and dealers have access to technical support and pricing discounts that will exceed those that available to customers. With these strategic partnerships, dealers can leverage pricing and support to benefit their customers.
Outsourcing with a professional IT consulting firm
While dealers can develop an in-house IT support staff, it is not always easy. Ensuring all the pieces are in place can be complicated, costly and time consuming. Instead, it may be more effective for a dealer to partner with an established IT company. A professional IT consulting firm offers dealers much more than just the basics. By partnering with an IT consulting firm, dealers can immediately start offering outsourced IT support to clients without the startup costs and headaches.
By partnering with a mature professional IT consulting firm, a dealer will have access to hundreds of consultants with industry certifications that demonstrate expertise in all of the major hardware and software lines used by most businesses. Dealers can guarantee the quality of support that their clients need. An established IT consulting firm will have a centrally staffed, 24/7 customer support center and network operations center that can monitor clients’ IT systems and alert the IT staff in the event that there is a system issue.
An IT consulting company will have developed formal relations with all of the major hardware and software companies. Dealers can then leverage these partnerships for better prices on software and hardware.
A partnership with an IT consulting firm will ensure that a dealer has access to the knowledge and expertise needed to support clients in different vertical markets such as legal, health care, education, and other verticals without the budgetary burden of continual training. Outsourcing with a well-educated IT staff will ensure that a dealer’s customers always have superior, cost effective technology solutions that are in alignment with industry standards and current best practices.
Working with a mature IT consulting firm, dealers are able to employ the seamless delivery of IT support services in parallel to other business support operations. This enables dealers to focus on the optimal delivery of their current business services and pair it up with best-in-class IT support. IT consulting firms also offer dealers marketing resources that make promoting IT services easy allowing them to continue building existing lines of service.
Dealers looking to add IT services to their product offerings should evaluate both options carefully. Partnering with a well-known IT service provider offers many benefits and provides the resources and tools dealers will need to be successful.
Contributor: Todd Croteau serves as president of All Covered, a division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions and one of the nation’s leading IT services providers. Mr. Croteau oversees all aspects of the company’s operations and has 18 years of experience in the high technology sector. Prior to All Covered, Mr. Croteau was employed at IBM, HDR Engineering and EKW Technologies. He also is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Massachusetts.