A professional body for service managers is looking to actively recruit new members in the reseller community to further boost the profile of the services industry throughout the IT sector.
The Association for Service Management International (AFSM) has regional chapters in NSW, WA, Victoria and New Zealand, made up from senior to middle man- agement of companies providing service and support within the IT industry.
Vice president for Australasia Lyn Montgomery said when the AFSM first started its membership came from a traditional field services background within the major hardware vendors. Today, it includes people from training organisations, independent software houses, and professional services organisations.
Montgomery said the AFSM is now looking to draw membership from resellers and business partners -- the organisations where the service is often being sold and delivered.
Membership of the AFSM would give resellers a great opportunity to mix with their peers, said Montgomery. "And I think it would give the resellers a broader understanding of the service aspect of what they're doing.
"Everybody's aware that the margins on hardware are fairly slim, and that's where the resellers see the greatest profit is in the solutions and services they arrange around the hardware and software package. So membership will give them a greater exposure to that."
At present, Montgomery feels that many resellers aren't particularly well educated about the service industry. "I think the resellers are not aware of the opportunity for them in the service area, and how they can increase not just their margin and profit, but their customer loyalty."
She feels there is abundant opportunity for resellers to take advantage of the warranties and other services offered by vendors to package ongoing support and maintenance for their customers. "What's to stop that reseller putting that package together themselves? I think resellers are possibly missing out on a significant opportunity."
Membership of the AFSM costs $185 per year, with a $220 joining fee.
Apart from her work for the AFSM, Montgomery is also managing director of research firm Strategic Outlooks, which specialises in the service industry. She is currently putting together a survey that will investigate what vendors, resellers and customers expect from each other in terms of service.
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