Boston, MA –
Synnex Corp. (NYSE: SNX) will wade deeper into the Canadian managed service provider (MSP) market within the next 60 days, according to executives from the Fremont, Calif.-based technology distributor.
Synnex announced the launch of its Technology Solutions Division OnDemand IT group’s managed services portfolio in the U.S. yesterday (April 11) and say the same program will roll out in Canada soon. Company executives discussed plans for the MSP program at their Varnex conference in Boston.
Aiming to make it easier for Synnex resellers to offer managed services to their clients, the distributor has mixed together a cocktail of several vendors and branded it as their own solution, garnished with a team of Synnex engineers offering support. That’s different from the drinks being served up by some tech vendors that focus on fully cloud-based management approaches that, in many ways, cut out the middleman.
It’s not the first time the distributor has done business with MSPs, says Bob Stegner, the senior vice president of marketing in North America for Synnex. But now it is ready to be louder about its support for that business model.
“This is just putting the seal of approval on it as we continue to grow,” he says. “I feel it’s something we had to really come out and be vocal about, and give our support on it.”
The Synnex-branded offering brings together several different vendors, back by a network operations centre and help desk complete with ticketing system run by Synnex engineers. Kanata, Ont.-based Level Platforms Inc. is contributing its remote management and monitoring software, and Symantec Corp. is adding end-point protection. Woburn, Mass.-based Reflexion Networks Inc. is doing the e-mail security prong, while Axcient Inc. deals with the data backup.
Building up the solution in the U.S. was the first step, says Kirk Nesbit, vice-president of service for Synnex’s technology solutions division. Now it’s ready to come north of the border, complete with Canadian-located data hosting centres.
Vendors were chosen because “they bolt together very tightly with LPI,” he says.
The hybrid model of combining both on-premises and cloud services is one that Gordon Squires, president of Kentville, N.S.-based Computerized Business Solutions Inc. says he’s comfortable with. Though a member of Varnex, Squires hasn’t used Synnex for his MSP services, but now he likes what he sees.
“This is where I want to be, I like where this is going,” he says. “This is an entry in a solid way. They had all of the different elements, and now they have a cohesive plan.”
Squires says he’s less enthused about completely cloud-based management options being offered by some vendors. Microsoft Corp., a vendor that works with Synnex, demonstrated its new Windows Intune offering at Varnex during a morning session and on the show floor. Microsoft is pushing the remote management service that also includes end-point protection among MSPs.
“We’ve dedicated resources in sales, marketing and operations focused to help our partners be successful in selling cloud services,” said Eric Martorano, director of partner channel strategy, Microsoft. “The cloud is here and it’s transforming businesses.”
But Squires isn’t biting. “I bring the customer in the door, and they start talking to my customer directly, billing my customer directly, where does that leave me?” he asks.
With Synnex’s offering, “It doesn’t leave me looking over my shoulder wondering who owns my customer in the end. I do.”
There is some uncertainty among MSPs as to whether Microsoft Corp. is as “channel-friendly” as some of the other vendors working with Synnex, says Stuart Crawford, president of Calgary-based Ulistic Inc., an MSP consulting firm. Some may even feel that markets are disappearing before their eyes as Microsoft readies the launch of its cloud-based Office 365 service later this year.
“There’s not as much fear and uncertainty and doubt with this (Synnex’s offering) as there is with some of the larger vendors that are putting MSPs back on their heels,” he says.
The offering can be used by MSPs serving 50 seats or less all the way up to the largest enterprise operation, Nesbit says. Canadians can also know that data will stay on Canuck soil – part of the capacity planned to be built in the next 60 days.
Synnex wanted to create its own branded MSP offering because the Microsoft model is “not going to work for everybody,” Stegner says.
It wants MSPs to continue to have the option to maintain a direct relationship with its customers.
Meanwhile, it will also continue to offer Microsoft’s fully hosted model. Because not everyone drinks the same flavour of Kool-Aid, “but they do drink the Kool-Aid,” Stegner says.