The Road to Managed Services Leads Through Backup and RecoveryBy Michael Vizard | Print
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Solution providers need to start off with smaller managed services before hitting the higher-margin opportunities, according to our exclusive Ziff Davis Enterprise Research study.
Every time you talk to solution providers they will tell you about the absolute loyalty of their customer base and how much control they have over those customers.
We put that to the test by conducting a survey of senior IT executives to get their thoughts on what they think of their IT services providers and, perhaps more importantly, what areas they think they are going to be looking for help from solution providers in 2008.
The survey shows a heavy dependency on managed services with 39 percent of those surveyed saying they expect to specifically increase their spending on managed services in 2008. But the survey also shows 63 percent of the senior IT executives said they are looking for new solution providers within the next two years, which would suggest that the overall loyalty factor to solution providers is not that high.
From the perspective of the solution provider community, the two biggest opportunities would be backup and recovery, followed closely by hosting services and business applications. What that suggests, as Neil Rogers, director of information technology for Samsill, put it at the Ziff-Davis Enterprise Channel Summit in Dallas earlier in February, is that IT organizations want to focus their internal IT people on unique, custom IT functions that provide the highest value to the company while relying on service providers for what they perceive to be mundane support functions.
That may not be the highest-margin activity from a solution provider’s perspective, but it also shows providers where the front door is to get into the account. If you want an IT organization to trust your company you have to establish a credible record of delivering quality managed services around mundane activities. Once you establish that credibility, then you can make a pitch for higher margin services such as security, database administration and e-mail management.
The long and the short of this is that when it comes to managed services, solution providers need to walk before they learn to run. As such they need to be willing to make the right investments today to create the opportunities they will need tomorrow, and it looks like the best place to start that journey is with backup and disaster recovery solutions.