Intel Gives MSPs a Small Business Advantage
One of the more frustrating aspects of IT from the perspective of solution providers in channel is the number of potential customers that don’t use their services. Customers complain all the time about how systems are difficult to manage. At the same time, there’s obviously no shortage of solution providers more than willing to help. The real problem has been that once a system is acquired there’s no real simple way for customers to easily invoke additional IT related services.
Intel wants to change all that. At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing this week Intel unveiled a new Small Business Advantage (SBA) program under which PC vendors and resellers can bundle software that makes it easy to invoke a managed service with every x86 system sold.
According to Dan Russell, director of business client solutions marketing at Intel, the SBA program leverages the company’s investments in vPro processor technology that can now be used to embed a range of software, including everything from backup and recovery tools to any number of enterprise-class applications, below the operating system level.
Intel is taking advantage of this capability to include in every 2nd Generation Core Duo system sold PC Health Center, which is software that automatically runs regular software updates and maintenance tasks after-hours, even when the computer is turned off. The PC will power itself on to update software, defragment disk drives and delete cookies and temporary Internet files. When the tasks are completed, the PC will power itself back down.
Also included is an Energy Saver tool that will power a system down automatically, reducing after-hours energy consumption up to 95 percent. Energy Saver can be used to turn PCs on as the workday begins so employees no longer have to watch systems boot up.
Intel is also including Intel Wireless Display, which makes it easy to connect flat panel displays to a PC’s wireless display, software that alerts business owners when security or backup and recovery software has been compromised or interrupted and USB blocker software that make sure that only approved USB devices are inserted into machines.
The SBA technology is being made accessible to both PC manufacturers and resellers alike. In some cases, PC manufacturers may want to embed software that will create managed service opportunities for their channel partners. In other cases, resellers might want to take advantage of SBA to embed software that makes it easier for customers to discover custom services.
In both instances, Intel is trying to promote the adoption of managed services that it expects will increase the overall size of the x86 market. The basic idea is that if customers are a better system experience, they will be more inclined to buy additional systems.
Managed service providers (MSPs) have been frustrated for years by an inability to expand the market for their services, especially in a small business segment that typically has no internal IT expertise on hand. By making it easier for resellers to embed software in every system sold, resellers can more confidently op to deliver their own managed services, or opt to make the opportunity to deliver those services available to the highest bidder.
Arguably, the capabilities being provided via the SBA program are more than long overdue. But as far as MSPs in the channel are concerned, late is a whole lot better than never.