2 min read

Ingram dives deeper into MSP business

If VARs are going to make a go of managed services, disties have an important role to play

For VARs looking to get into the the managed services business, it can be a tricky transition from hardware and software sales. Some have done this successfully, but others have struggled making that transition.

The technology is ready, and so are customers. In order to create a successful MSP business, though, VARs have to define service levels, come up with pricing guidelines and market their services to existing and potential customers. Salespeople also have to learn to interact with decision-makers from several different departments – not just IT. So learning to use business-speak, and not technology jargon, is crucial.

While managed services offer VARs a stable, recurring revenue stream, they also require a fairly substantial investment. VARs have to invest in a platform, train engineers and then market the solution. They have to test and tweak the offering. So while it sounds good in theory, it takes a lot of work to get there.

Some VARs who’ve been successful with this model attribute some of that success to their distribution partners for exposing them to various managed services solutions, as well as helping them with marketing efforts. For VARs who can’t afford to make the necessary investments on their own, finding a distribution partner could be the essential ingredient in building out an MSP business.

Ingram Micro is already big into managed services, and it’s digging itself in even deeper. This time, it’s expanding its Seismic portfolio around remote support, network security and compliance management. Channel partners can combine these with a current offering (since they’re platform-independent) or use them as a foundation to enter the MSP market.

Here’s a quick rundown of the offerings: LogMeIn allows channel partners to deliver on-demand support from a remote location; Alert Logic provides intrusion detection and vulnerability management; and Seismic Log Manager manages data for compliance purposes. And VARs can brand these services as their own.

Ingram will also be providing virtualization assessments and delivery services through Longview Systems to help VARs get into the virtualization business (this will be supported through its new Infrastructure Technology Solutions division).

And the distie isn’t done yet. It’s also exploring the possibility of offering other on-demand services, including managed voice, hosted CRM, hosted disaster recovery and even hosted Microsoft Exchange.

Some people wonder why distributors are getting into the MSP game. But for VARs, having a distribution partner to coordinate offerings from different vendors and help with marketing efforts is a critical component to kick-starting an MSP business.

And it could mean the difference between developing a healthy business and struggling to get it off the ground.