These comments are supposed to draw a comparison between today’s software as a service (SaaS) market and another, extinct software delivery model with some important similarities and differences. The purpose of that comparison is to provide insight into the modern SaaS market, while summarizing the history of an important era of computing.
By Andrew Alegria
As published March 11, 2013 in CRN
As an increasing number of VARs add SaaS offerings to their portfolio, those without cloud services will find it increasingly hard to compete for customers – and to maintain profitability without the margin-rich reoccurring revenue streams that SaaS services provide.
In North America, there are ~100k providers that provide IT services. Of this total number, most are hardware VAR/Resellers, and 15-20k would be considered Managed Service Providers. The largest growth opportunity for hardware resellers is with those who can provide their customers with a full portfolio of hardware and managed/SaaS services. There are many reasons the market opportunity here is massive for those who offer both hardware and managed services:
A thicker managed services portfolio lessens the opportunity for a competitive VAR to provide a unique service.
- It helps the hardware reseller stay relevant to their customers.
- It provides the opportunity to grow their business by providing everything a customer needs on one bill.
- Adding SaaS services may serve as a disruptive advantage to gain access to new accounts.
- Since SaaS services are ‘sticky,’ it will help the services provider to maintain a long and profitable relationship with the customer.
And Then There’s the Money
If the above reasons for offering SaaS services are not compelling enough, think of the opportunity for those services to provide reoccurring revenue. As the article “The VAR’s Path to Managed Services” illustrates, recurring revenue grows over time with greater profit margin than hardware sales. The result, as shown in this example, can easily be more than $700,000.
Channel experts agree that providing customers with more options through monthly services is a key to future success. New technologies, with scalable options for monthly service costs, are appealing to customers. The remaining challenge is in planning a strategy that will take a VAR business owner from today’s hardware-centric business into tomorrow’s SaaS business. Planning advice is offered in the blog “How to Get Your Business in the Cloud.”
The Cloud Growth Path for Distributors
Hardware distributors also see an opportunity for growing SaaS revenue. They have a huge base of partners who purchase hardware. Why not offer a complete services portfolio to these partner bases and help them develop a SaaS business? Tech Data (TD Cloud), Ingram Micro (IM Cloud Services) and Synnex (CloudSolv) are all helping channel partners shift their businesses by adding SaaS services. They provide a complete hardware portfolio, plus a growing SaaS portfolio to become a one-stop shop for VARs who want to sell both. These distributors also offer resources to grow a managed services business, including training, thought leadership webinars and events, and feedback from peer resellers/MSPs to help the VAR/MSP grow their services business.
Managed services continue to evolve. The move into SaaS services is a huge step, but a necessary one to thrive in a future where customers needs and wants change. VARs and distributors who plant the seeds of a services business now will have an easier time offering the next generation of services as well.
Andrew Alegria is senior manager of strategic relationships for Axcient.
Today, customers expect businesses to be always up and available, and to safely handle more personal data than ever before. The more common these expectations become, the higher the cost of falling short by suffering from data loss and extended IT downtime.
By Eric Quach
When you work for a rapid-growth technology company, you’re living in a fast-paced working world. As more people see value in your product, and for the industry itself, demand rises. It becomes even more critical to deliver top-tier products. It is imperative to challenge yourself to broaden and hone your skill-set in order to keep up with these high standards.
Written content is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. Blogs are needed for SEO and thought leadership. Bylined articles and press releases support PR efforts and drive awareness. Captivating web copy catches the attention of site visitors and increases the time they spend on the site. White papers, well-crafted emails and landing pages are critical to lead generation campaigns.
Content that is interesting and easily digestible for your target audience can truly bring in leads and help sales reps close deals. While there’s no magic formula for creating compelling marketing content, any talented writer can use the following pre-writing checklist to help create content that sends the intended message to the intended audience. Continue reading “5 Steps to Creating Great Content” »
For years writers and marketers have used compelling written content as an essential tool to drive sales and build a strong brand. But “Content Marketing” as a strategy has become especially sexy for 2013, especially as content publishing opportunities increase and measurement tools improve. Copyblogger calls 2013 the Year of the Online Writer. A typical array of content assets – white papers, case studies, etc. – can be viewed on a company’s Resources Page. Continue reading “The Essential Content Review Checklist” »
Like most things in business, maximizing your time at technology conferences is all about strategy and planning. This year’s Dreamforce Conference had more than 90,000 attendees with more than 700 sessions and 350 companies showcasing difference solutions. Registration for the conference ran anywhere from$300-$900. Many other conference passes are equally expensive. So how do you make the most of your investment?
Continue reading “How to Make the Most of Technology Conferences” »
This blog was originally published on The VAR Guy on Nov. 12, 2012.
How IT Providers Used the Cloud to Weather the Storm
With damage estimated at $60 billion, Sandy is the second costliest hurricane on record in the United States. Countless businesses lost revenue while waiting for power to return or floods to subside. But many others were prepared, thanks to the IT professionals who made sure they had the right technology in place to weather any storm. Here are a few of the positive stories to come out of this disaster.
This blog was originally published on MSPmentor on Oct. 8, 2012.
I had a conversation with a couple coworkers the other day about Twitter followers and what made someone click the ‘Follow’ button. We agreed that a company should care more about gaining quality followers who understood them and their industry, than completely useless spam followers. To achieve that, I said, you have to engage your followers and industry by dedicating time and utilizing hashtags and @mentions.
And oddly enough, I learned some of this from tweens. Yes, tweens and business. It sounds like a crazy combination, but when it comes to social media, 12 and 13-year-olds rule the world. Hear me out.
Service providers are great at advising their clients on how new technology should be implemented, managing the resources of that implementation and getting signoff on the implementation. However, few of them do the same for their own projects. Without a project plan you have no guide, no structure.
There are several steps in evaluating new technologies for your business. Once you have chosen that new technology, service providers should work with the vendor who provides it to put onboarding steps in place. Do you have a project plan that you use to onboard new technologies? No? Well, let me share what I think are some of the important components that should be included in that plan.
Communication. It is hard to communicate too much with a new vendor when you are just getting started with them. You need to get all of the contact information of everyone you may need to communicate with now that you are a partner, not a sales prospect. The salesperson may have been your best friend, but now you need to make new ones. Who is your account manager? Who deals with billing questions? Who and how do you contact support? Get this contact information, and talk to them before you need to talk to them.
Time. Plan enough time for training, enough time for testing and enough time for understanding. Most service providers look for a new solution when they have a new opportunity. This type of timeline rarely allows for enough time to deploy a solution smoothly the first time. Incomplete training and testing will cause incomplete knowledge of the solution which causes incomplete satisfaction with the solution, forever. Don’t handcuff yourself and your vendor by limiting the time you spend learning that new technology.
Follow-Up. When is the last time you set time aside to retrain yourself on a solution that is a core piece of your business? Do you read the release notes of the updates? Do you have a sandbox environment in-house to test the new features? Do you ask your vendors to give technical and sales presentations to your staff to keep them up to date? These are the types of things that keep a vendor partnership active and productive.
Without a plan, no project will run smoothly, even your own. If you treat onboarding a new vendor as a project and build a project plan to keep it on track, you will have the best opportunity for both short, and long term success with your new technology.