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If nothing else, Dell’s push into the managed services space should wake channel executives to the reality that remote monitoring and management are becoming commodity.

And since those are fundamental functions to the managed services business model, that means any channel company offering managed services must ensure its offerings go beyond the commodity base level. Ultimately, this is about the intimacy managed services providers (MSPs) establish with their customers.

How well do you know your customer? How deep is your understanding of your customers’ needs? What are you doing to address those needs?

Fretting about whether Dell will squeeze all the profit margin out of managed services won’t get channel executives very far. Too many VARs and integrators failed in the era of the PC because Dell squeezed margins so tight that it became impossible to make a decent buck. Yet, according to a recent study, SMB customers still prefer to buy PCs from channel partners.

Clinton Gatewood, vice president of corporate development at Zenith Infotech, a managed services platform vendor in Warrendale, Pa., argues that remote monitoring already is commodity.

So the pressure is definitely on. Dell may well become the world’s largest MSP, but only if existing MSPs allow it. Because no matter how the vendor may try, it cannot provide the level of customized service tailored to a customer’s specific needs that a channel company delivers.

And if you haven’t yet embraced the MSP model but are considering it, it’s time to make a decision. Click here for some insightful tips from the Channel Insider’s technology expert, Frank Ohlhorst.