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Managed Services – Build vs. Partner

3 Nov, 2008 By: Editorial Staff

Managed Services – Build vs. Partner

“I am in the services business but am falling behind the curve by not
currently providing Information Technology (IT) and we need to move quickly to
remedy our shortcoming.” We hear this type of statement all the time from office
equipment dealers (successful dealers) who recognize their predicament. One of
them recently told us that they were even “dreading partnering with one of the
local ‘break/fix’ guys that we don’t respect just to be in the game.” Why would
someone who is already doing well say such a thing? Because they see the future
and know it’s not far away.

Customers, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), love
having a single-source provider – a ‘one-stop shop’ or single number to 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 expertise!

SMBs want a trusted business technology advisor. If their printer
stops working, they wanted if 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…Then call that 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

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

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
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
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

So If Building Isn’t Easy – Why and How Should You Partner?

"I already have a service business...why would I partner for managed
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; called Beyond Managed Services it 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

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