A Door Opener For Managed ServicesSource: Business Solutions Magazine
Written by: Maurice Saluan, VP of channel management, Zenith InfotechWe all talk about how difficult it is to grow sales. Is there some magic approach? What can you use as a ‘door opener’ so you can promote your managed services? Let’s focus on what SMBs are looking for from managed services.
Business owners and managers in the SMB market are often interested in three services — UC (unified communications)/VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), security, and data protection/storage. To attract business in the SMB market, you must be able to satisfy one, if not all, of these needs.
Despite technology advances and vendor marketing, SMBs are slowly adopting IT telephony. The changeover is gradual as businesses are reluctant to discard previous investments in TDM (time division multiplexing) systems. There is also an element of caution surrounding the quality of service and a lack of experience when using IP networks for both voice and data.
Access Markets International Partners says that SMB spending on IT security and infrastructure — two areas the researcher considers to be indivisible — is set to spike to $11.4 billion in 2008. The study found that more than 75% of SMBs (1- 999 employees) consider IT security to be very important. Key areas of interest for SMBs regarding security are antivirus, antispam, antispyware software, and firewalls. All can be important elements of a managed service program.
Another area earmarked to grow rapidly is disk-based data storage and remote storage. According to a multiclient IDC study, disk-based data and remote storage generated $8 billion in user IT spending in 2006, and is poised to generate more than $60 billion in software and hardware purchases through 2012.
With that in mind, how do you get CEOs, controllers, or IT directors to notice you? You must show them how it’s possible for them to affordably have data and e-mail frequently backed up and always accessible, no matter what the situation. Data access and availability are key.
Hand in hand with storage are DR (disaster recovery) solutions designed for SMBs. Cost-effective DR solutions can allow businesses to increase margins while providing a standby server on-site. Recovery time in the event of server downtime is as fast and simple as powering on a virtual machine. Also, the key component of DR — off-site storage — is provided affordably and with little or no effort as part of this service. After business managers engage with a channel partner for managed backup and DR solutions, a relationship is formed whereby full scale managed services are the next natural steps.
Maurice Saluan is VP of channel management for Zenith Infotech, as well as a sales veteran in the managed service arena. He is responsible for managing Zenith’s account management team, as well as developing and streamlining processes that will help Zenith’s partners grow and scale their businesses.
He has over 20 years experience in operations, sales, and marketing of the services related to business technology. He has held ownership positions, as well management positions, with a Fortune 100 Company, system integrators, ERP software VARs, and VARs specializing in government contracting. Most recently he has been director of business development for a managed service provider with multiple locations in the Midwest. Maurice is trained as an ISO 9000 lead assessor and is certified in ERP software and in project management.