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I recently attended CompTIA’s All Member Meeting in Chicago where I attended many great sessions. There was much dialogue in both the managed services and cloud computing groups about the current state and future of the IT service industry. One thing that caught my attention was how focused many IT service providers were on selling products or as I say, “selling stuff.” I heard questions from some providers asking how they were going to make money with less on premise equipment, and others on how to make money selling hosted email services.
In today’s market, if you are focused on “selling stuff” such as trying to make $1 per mailbox selling hosted email, or $25 selling a PC you won’t last very long. Today’s IT service market is about selling services, not products. I’m not saying to stop procuring products for your client or that you won’t make money doing this, but it should be just a component of your business as a solution provider and not the focus.
What kind of services should you be selling? It depends on your goals. In our MSP we offer Help Desk services, project management and implementation, NOC services, vendor management, VoIP services, and CTO level technology consulting to our clients. Cloud services are included as well as a piece of our service bundle where applicable. We use our expertise to make recommendations to our clients that will help them achieve their business goals. Technology happens to be the wrapper around these recommendations. It is a win for the client as they can see our goal isn’t to sell them “stuff,” but rather to help them find the right products and services for their business which we will then help support. This creates value and a true partnership between the organizations.
A good example is helping a client implement Microsoft Office365. We make minimal margin on the actual sale of the product itself, but that’s okay because we bring value to the client in implementation and ongoing support which they are willing to pay for. This is just one example of where the future is for IT service providers. Stay ahead of the curve with technology solutions for your clients, whether on premise or in the cloud and you will be successful!
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