According to the 2015 State of Small Business Report, sponsored by Wasp Barcode Technologies, 38% of SMBs in the US’ mature market anticipate an increase in IT spending, just for the year 2015.
In India, SMBs have emerged as a largely untapped customer faction for managed service providers and IT OEMs. SMBs recognize the value of offloading day-to-day network management issues to a service provider so that they can free up their own time to plan and implement a transition to new cloud-centric business models. However, todays managed services delivery architectures are tailored to large enterprises that drives up service providers’ costs and limits their flexibility, which in turn makes it unprofitable for service providers to sell managed services to smaller businesses. The need of the hour for SMBs is to enhance their IT infrastructure availability while keeping costs on a leash. SMBs are eagerly getting on the social media and mobile analytics bandwagon and are hungry for more compute power and storage.
In a very crowded and noisy environment, what should SMBs look for in value added resellers (VARs), system integrators (SIs), or managed service providers (MSPs)?
- Assessing Need for Managed Services – Alignment of Goals with IT Vendor
Although the need for managed services might seem intuitive, the first step to get the ball rolling is to assess the current IT infrastructure and business dependency, time required for routine maintenance and problem resolution and business impact. Plug and play with unlimited, round the clock support may not always solve the most challenging business problem. The key challenges associated with critical business processes might still remain unaffected.
- Sweet Spot Pricing
Often, only customized pricing strategies that are targeted at solving the SMBs’ top challenge drive the adoption of the IT solution being offered by the MSP. Once the problem has been identified and the MSP amalgamates all the different services into a proposed offering, it may be that the total cost seems a little daunting for an SMB. At this point it pays to have your MSP explain all the costs and compare to what was previously paid out for break/fix support; or annual antivirus licenses; and past online backup invoices. If it turns out to be a higher annual figure than that proposed for managed services, it’s a win-win.
- Talk Virtualization and Data Center Solutions
Close to 70% of MSPs offer virtualization today according to Techaisle, an SMB and channel partner market research agency, which seems to be an emerging trend in managing an SMB’s IT and application infrastructure. Desktop virtualization promises reduced costs, improved security, better disaster recovery, easier management and ease of access to work machines – this has had channel partners developing an affinity for hosted virtual desktops over VDI. Shared resources, like storage, have always made intuitive sense in a multi-host environment, but even more so when the number of virtual devices have multiplied, as is happening in many organizations. Data center solutions are becoming an important priority for SMBs as they continue to upgrade and refresh their IT infrastructure.
- Is the platform/solution/service open?
Choosing a vendor who supports the solution by upselling multi-vendor services and applications that can be automatically deployed, installed, maintained, and upgraded enables flexibility to choose new applications at a future time. This kind of flexibility is imperative to avoid costly purchases and deployment of purpose-built infrastructure to support new applications. As an SMB struggling with resources and time, you won’t have to think about what you will need for the next 3 to 5 years – scale is taken care of by the service provider who advocates an open ecosystem by choosing the best of breed cloud cloud applications and virtualization solutions.
- You’re Looking for a Channel Partner
Almost all Indian SMBs carry a “Pay-Someone-To-Do-It” attitude which necessitates product localization with unique support models in place to showcase value. Offerings have to be customized by vertical market and adapt to local workflows. With cloud SMB purchases closely knit to the underlying business challenges, VARs and SIs are losing ground to channel partners with intricate understanding of the business processes. Channel partners who layer services on top of the technology creating value added services are coming out on top.
We’re getting our hands dirty with managed services, system integration, and virtualization – rolling them together with our cloud solutions and offering it as-a-Service! Keep your eyes open for the official launch of QruizeLite!