Introduction: A new way to deliver services

Introduction: A new way to deliver services

Why managed services is becoming the rule, rather than the exception

It seems every one and his dog is getting into the managed services game. And with good reason. For customers look to move more spending out of the CapEx column and into OpEx, a managed services model presents a cost-effective and highly visible way to manage IT systems.

On the flip side, taking a managed services approach to customer relationships gives channel players the ability to lock in annuity-based revenue and contracts, while working in a more proactive and positive way with their customers.

But while those who have already invested in building managed services practices are now reaping the rewards, getting up to speed in today’s climate comes with a fresh set of challenges and potential pitfalls.

This Below the Line Supplement takes a look at the steps resellers and services providers need to take in order to deliver managed services. According to the experts, a complete overhaul in the way an IT provider operates needs to happen before you can deliver managed services successfully, because managed services are the antithesis of the break/fix environment. It also requires significant investments into infrastructure and staff to ensure you have the ability to support and scale this type of approach.

We’ve also included an edited version of our recent roundtable, where we pulled together a host of players with established managed services practices to talk about what managed services means, what customer opportunities there are, and the way forward.

All agreed managed services is about guaranteeing an end result for customers across a range of devices and services. To be a managed services provider, you need to talk at a business level, be able to remotely manage IT systems, provide the relevant technical skills, and deliver services using a monthly annuity model.

But the similarities stop there. There are thousands of managed services being touted today, ranging from simply managing a router, through to outsourcing-type arrangements across an entire IT infrastructure. Different markets, such as SMB and enterprise, or vertical segments, will also need a tailored solution depending on their particular business pain points or growth strategies.

For some of our roundtable attendees, having some form of a managed service standard to recognise the good from the sub par is one way of ensuring customers are getting value and appropriate services. For others, it’s about providing your own value proposition against your competitors. Whichever way the managed services game heads from here, what is clear is that this method of delivering technology, services and support isn't going away.

Nadia Cameron is the editor of ARN.

This managed services supplement is sponsored by CA, Kaseya and Vasco.

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