Fear of Managed Services

vincent priceThe main feature in the July issue of ENX is “Managed Services Made Easy.” That piece examines how to get started in Managed Services and whether or not buying an IT company is the easy answer. I also asked the experts I interviewed for that story to identify the biggest fears standing in the way of dealers considering Managed Services. Whether you’re already offering Managed Services or still thinking about it, you might be able to identify with some of these fears.

One of the biggest fears a dealer or reseller has about moving into Managed Services is that by doing so they’re walking away from their core business.

“’If I’m going head strong towards Managed Services the rest of my business will collapse,’” says Charles Lamb, president & CEO Mps&it Sales Consulting.

He recommends building a plan from where you are today with your business to move beyond that fear.

“It’s not ignoring what got you here so far,” he says. “You have to build the fact that you must secure and maintain that business during the transition. People are afraid the bottom will fall out.”

“One of the biggest fears is “Am I going to invest a lot of money and not have a ROI,’” adds David Pohlman, Office of the President/COO, GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp. “It’s tough to get into this business in a material way without an initial investment that’s close to a million to a million and a half dollars.”

His recommendation to overcoming that fear is education. “It will reduce a little bit of the fear [because] you’ll know what good looks like and how to navigate down that path more effectively.”

Britt Siedentopf, managed services manager, Leapfrog Managed Services by Muratec, also sees the upfront financial investment as a common concern.

“They better understand that this is a capital investment,” he says. “They’ve got to have the money in the bank to invest because if they don’t the rest of their business could suffer.”

“A lot of it is ‘I don’t know how to sell it,’ which is why we spend time [with them] on how to position the offering and how to bring it to market,” states Dave Sobel, Director of Partner Community at Logic Now.

Logic Now, for example, makes sure the service or services are complimentary to their current offerings.

“A lot of times when they start out they find it’s easier to sell Managed Services to new customers rather than their existing ones because their existing ones are kind of happy with the service they’ve got,” maintains Sobel.

“Our initial fear was can we do it and do a great job,” recalls Dean Swenson, president of The Swenson Group, a dealership that now offers Managed Services. “That transpired to if we go after our current customers who we have great relationships with and a great history with and we do copiers and printers well but screw up on IT we could lose our customers? Those are real world concerns we had when we got into this.”

The Swenson Group overcame those fears with the help of their hardware vendor, Konica Minolta and the All Covered program, and today are a shining example of a dealership successfully offering Managed Services.

That’s the thing. No matter what the fear, there’s plenty of resources throughout the industry to help dealers overcome those initial fears and maybe even achieve a modicum or more of success with Managed Services.

Scott Cullen
About the Author
Scott Cullen has been writing about the office technology industry since 1986. He can be reached at scott_cullen@verizon.net.