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ISM Article

Launching Managed Network Services

12 Sep, 2011 By: Konica Minolta imageSource

Managed Network Services is not an all or nothing approach. Companies often split support responsibilities between in-house staff and out-tasking value added resellers. One of the hottest opportunities in the market is to partner with your customers’ IT staffing managers to provide industry specific network support.
Managing another company’s network infrastructure is a significant responsibility that places the liability of providing 99.999% network uptime upon the outsourcing company. This equates to approximately five minutes of down time a year. The financial and human capital resource investment to provide this type of managed network services is very high.

For an imaging company trying to break into managed network services, full outsourcing is not the place to start. It is far more reasonable and attainable to approach the market as an out-tasking value adding reseller. Out-tasking, as opposed to full network outsourcing, offers companies flexibility in choosing the aspects of its operations that are best handled in-house and those that are better fitted to be out-tasked to a third party. The place to start is by selling out-tasked managed network services on peripheral systems that dealerships are already familiar with and/or for non-critical business systems, and then expanding services as the business grows.

Easy services to start with:

    Customer help desk and remote desktop support, especially for imaging specific applications
    Adding managed network services to managed print services contracts
    Hosted solutions and SaaS, such as content and records management, storage & archival with disaster recovery, e-Commerce, and e-Business solutions
    Remote application support for print centers, data center printing, and CRD’s
    IP phone and video. Lewan & Associates, a Konica Minolta / Xerox / Sharp reseller in Denver, Co., is providing VoIP & network services as a key part of their business.

Imaging equipment manufacturers and solution vendors typically provide phone support for dealership system analysts only. This places the additional burden of end user and network support for printing and imaging solutions on the customer’s IT department. This in itself is one reason many IT managers resist connected solutions being installed on their networks. By providing network manage services for the solutions and equipment that dealerships currently sell, these barriers can be eliminated. In addition, providing managed network services will give the dealership a competitive advantage allowing them to offer end-to-end support for the systems they sell.

According to the Yankee Group, a leading technology research company, CIO’s, SMBs, and professional offices are looking for ways to reduce the workload on their IT staff. Senior level management wants to focus in-house services on core business functions. They are willing to out-task non-business critical services, and this co-existing strategy benefits both customers and value added resellers. For an imaging dealership that wants to break into managed print services, out-tasking of industry specific is the place to begin.

Network Management
Besides multiple network “services,” other functions that can be performed as part of network management include controlling, planning, allocating, deploying, coordinating, and monitoring the resources of a network, the network planning, frequency allocation, predetermined traffic routing to support load balancing, cryptographic key distribution authorization, configuration management, fault management, security management, performance management, bandwidth management, route analytics and accounting management.

In the past, network management mainly consisted of monitoring, whether devices were up or down; today performance management has become a crucial part of the IT team’s role, which brings about a host of challenges—especially for global organizations, as a vital area of IT growth.

Greg Buschman, Regional Production Print Solutions Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions, has over 10 years of experience in leading edge digital document solutions. Buschman, also a CompTIA Subject Matter Expert, has developed color, print production, professional services, and solutions programs at IKON, Danka, and Konica Minolta.

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