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Vendors have supported this evolution, pushing channel sales teams to maximise support contract sales and investing in contract renewal initiatives. In parallel, vendors have developed their own technology partner and collaboration programmes with third parties whose complementary products and services can offer some competitive advantage to resellers. For example, ServiceNav Monitoring integrates with APIs from dozens of vendors, most recently Watchguard, through the WatchGuardONE Technology Partner Program and in the near future, Nutanix as part of their Elevate Technology Alliance Program.
Everyone in the IT channel feels the pressure on margin and, as a consequence, business models are evolving. From simple resale, to additional vendor support contracts, to break-fix support, to managed services; many resellers (the ones who haven’t been bought up along the way) have taken a similar path at their own pace to adapt to the needs of modern customers and to find new ways to maintain a healthy profit margin.
For the resellers who developed a break-fix service for customers which was sold alongside the hardware, the next natural step in service evolution is into more lucrative Proactive Managed Services. The shift in business model is to make their money from keeping systems running rather than from correcting failures in the environment, which customers can initially find difficult to accept.
Demonstrating the benefits of proactive managed services in practice is straightforward with basic alerting. Customers can be charged for any fixes arising from alerts,will see an improvement in quality of service through the proactive nature of responses versus break-fix and can be encouraged to convert to a managed service contract with defined SLAs.