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Managed IT Services Build Vs. Partner

26 Jan, 2009 By: Mark Scott imageSource

Managed IT Services Build Vs. Partner

often hear, “I am in the services business but am falling behind the curve by
not currently providing credible Information Technology (IT) and we need to move
quickly to remedy our shortcomings.”  This type of statement often comes from
office equipment dealers (and successful ones) who recognize their predicament. 
One of them recently told (our company) that they were even “dreading partnering
with one of the local ‘break/fix’ guys that we don’t respect just to be in the

Why would someone who is already doing well say such a thing?  Because they see
the future and know it’s just   a reach away. It’s time to get serious about
implementing IT technology to your and your customers’ best advantage.

Customers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), love having
a single-source provider – a ‘one-stop shop’ or single number to easily call
when an issue arises. Right now, the average SMB has to deal with 4.1 suppliers
to maintain the 5 areas of technology they use daily – those being:

  • Information Technology (IT) – infrastructure such as networks, desktops,
    security, storage
  • Business Applications – Off-the-shelf, custom-built or Line of Business
  • Telecommunications – Telephony, cabling, installations, Voice-over-IP
    solutions, etc.
  • Website / Internet – Website design, maintenance, development, e-commerce,
    connectivity, etc.
  • Copier / Printer – For many dealerships, their current area  of

SMBs want a trusted business technology advisor.  If their printer stops
working, they want it fixed.  They don’t want to call you to come in only to
find out it isn’t a printer issue but a network issue…or call the provider only
to find out it’s actually a connectivity issue with their ISP, etc., They want
to print - not have one call become four in trying to get a problem solved.  So
why shouldn’t you be the first and ONLY provider they turn to?   Why not own the
complete solution?  Don’t just retain your customers – why not grow a recurring
revenue stream from your existing customer base?

Build vs. Partner

In order to provide IT services, you need to add-on to your existing
business.  This means buying tools (called managed services software), hiring
on-site technical support personnel, setting up a proactive infrastructure
monitoring & management center (called a network operations center or NOC) and
re-training your existing sales and support staff.   Sound easy?  Nope.  It
isn’t.  In 2000, managed services was introduced to the SMB solution provider
community and has since seen increasing adoption as a means to increase
profitability, revenue, cash flow and ultimately business value.  As easy as
this statement is to make though, achieving on the promises of managed services
has been much more elusive.   

The SMB market (5-100 users) is the most difficult segment to target.  They
may have similar technology needs (in most cases) but they generally have a very
limited knowledge of what is available to them in terms of IT services.  They
are used to a traditional model of buying equipment and software as they need
it, from wherever, and then getting whomever is available to fix any problems as
they come along.  That’s not to say they don’t have a NEED for managed services
or that they wouldn’t benefit from them, they just don’t have the understanding
that these services are now available to them and are an affordable reality.  So
the average SMB needs something to help them “cross the chasm” from their
traditional view of ‘break/fix’ technology consumption to a more proactive,
managed one.  They need education and a simple ‘baby-step’ to help them take
that leap…

What does that mean for you as a dealer?  How can you make managed services a
viable part of your existing business?    First you need to have corporate
buy-in from the beginning.  This means having the proper organizational
structure with the right people in the right jobs with dedicated roles,
performance expectations/targets and defined activities.  It also means either
training or hiring additional salespeople and service technicians who will
understand the growing role of technology to your organization.  And, of course,
it also means new compensation models for your team so the value of the new
services, and the recurring revenue they bring, is promoted internally.

If Building Isn’t Easy, Why & How Should You Partner?

"I already have a service business...why would I partner for managed
services?" you might ask. The answers are simple: Time and money.  By investing
in a "business-in-a-box" designed to plug into your existing business, you will
save the time and expense (and heartache) of trying to build a managed IT
service solution yourself.

A company such as The Utility Company provides a new alternative for office
equipment dealers: consider Beyond Managed Services which has two programs:
Master Reseller or Franchise. This allows dealers to take advantage of the brand
and proven operating system to offer a complimentary set of IT services.  The
key benefits of this model include many features and for more detailed
information on the opportunities please visit the website. 

Mark Scott of The Utility Co.
is a co-speaker at the upcoming ITEX’09 Power Hour
education class on Software as a Service (SaaS). Show is held March 18-19 in Las
Vegas. For full details visit


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