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Monica Paul

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Great Solutions for Big Problems…

IT Managed Services may be visible and tangible

Managed Services Providers face a variety of challenges. They struggle trying to sell an intangible and invisible service. Quoting Harry Beckwith, author of the book “Selling the Invisible”: ‘You can’t see them – so how do you sell them? That’s the problem with services.’  However some services can be transformed into something tangible, PR services can be touched and sensed in the publications for instance, telephone services are sensed when making a call; but the IT managed services are never sensed, these services just are there. The computer works, the antivirus is updated, the printer prints, they are supposed to do so, isn’t it? It is their purpose. But behind all this normally expected performance are the IT Managed Services, intangible and invisible to users, but a key activity for the devices’ deploy and performance.

IT Managed Services are turning into an important trend for this year and the coming ones; hence bringing the own mobile devices to work is becoming a norm; according to Gartner, in 2015 a 50% of the mobile devices will be employees self tablets. Companies’ information will be flowing freely through Big Data and Cloud Computing technologies in these personal devices. The question is; how can all these information be secured and controlled?

The IT infrastructure’s remote monitoring and managing then becomes a highly productive opportunity for the Managed Services Providers –MSP-, either giving pure managed services or providing technical support if IT also are solutions providers; these activities may help these companies to become important players helping their clients to address their business goals.

Insight Research predicts the managed services market growth from USD $29 billion in 2010 to USD $47 billion in 2015, with an approximate 15% annual growth. This scenery seems to be a very good business opportunity for Managed Services Providers (MSP).

In a study performed by Forrester with 208 IT executives 36% consider the mobile applications for tablets and smartphones as important change factor, 32% consider mobile applications deliver worth to business. All of them consider all these devices need to be managed, controlled, and secured.

However, the IT managed services and remote monitoring are invisible and intangible; the challenge is convincing managers about their worth, these activities are in the lowest part of the network, it is not a software that executives use to be more productive, not an add-on to their devices; it is a constant monitoring service performed by another company. According to Fernando Tejeda, Founder and Managing Director of Consulta ITS, a well known MSP in Mexico, it’s in this moment when a hundred questions and doubts arise on the prospect side. What about my information and devices? Will you have direct access to all of them? What about the security? How do I know that your staff is doing their job? How do I know that the monitoring is really continuous and effective? IT Managers concerns go from being substituted to lose their infrastructures control. Directors become unsure, they can’t see or touch what they are paying for, they experience it every day in an indirect way; yes that’s an issue, results are indirectly appreciated in the tangibles – devices- therefore the ROI becomes hard to measure.

Facing all these challenges, require big solutions; building an effective marketing and direct sales strategy to support all the prospects’ questions and fears when offering IT Managed Services.

According to Jason Magee, Global Channel Director in a highly recognized remote monitoring (RMM) software solution firm -LabTech Software- IT Managed Services Providers also delivering IT Solutions have three interesting business opportunities: 1. Using the arsenal of remote monitoring tools in a help desk to give technical support and services to their IT solutions clients; 2. Providing complete sets of managed services to companies helping them to control their technological infrastructure, including all the hardware and software; 3. Reselling the software licenses to the large corporations trying to manage their own networks.

These three options presented by LabTech Software represent very interesting opportunities that may report a fast return of investment. But two of them are intangibles and invisible; the challenge is how to market them?

Selling the Intangible and Invisible
Taking IT managed services to the market effectively may need to main initiatives:
-    Build up your IT managed services levels and brand giving a sense of tangibility to clients, and
-    Generate quality leads

Yes, make your IT managed services tangible, give them a brand; make them stand out from the ones offered by your competitors. Your objective is to give them a – name+image – and a description that your prospects can easily relate with you and to the solution to their specific challenges, making your clients sense them into their daily business activities and financial results. However, never allow your IT Managed Services to become a generic; or else you will be promoting your services and your competitor’s as well.

To give the correct brand to your services; be aware of the analyst predictions and market trends. Perform a survey to know your prospects strongest challenges in this area. Remember that the bigger the obstacle you go over, the bigger your reward will be. Ask them the correct questions  including the business performance related ones in order to make them see the impact of the remote devices monitoring and managing in their daily activities; adopting IT Managed Services may not represent a need for them, but solving mayor problems in their daily business activities and profit may be all to them!
Use these survey results to define your services and their levels, take on account your prospects sample needs, challenges, size, as well as the kind and amount of devices in their companies. Write down a detailed description of each service level and profile. Now that you have all the information and foundation to create a brand; take a marketing professional service, an expert that will help you to transform your information into a brand and accurate messages that will attract your prospects. This way you will be giving great definite solutions to each company unique great problems; something that executives can hardly resist.

Next step is to generate quality leads. “Nothing endures but change” stated Heraclitus. And changes become priceless when they solve big problems. Once again, same as you did in your survey, when qualifying prospects ask them the correct questions as a key activity.

Let’s see an example; in early 2010, NII Holdings, a leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in Latin America decided to use IT Managed Services to standardize their processes and enhance the customer satisfaction through a higher voice, and data services quality. The CTO in the company stated that given the opportunities to deliver profitable growth, including their plans to deploy 3G capabilities, the IT managed services’ experience enhanced their IT infrastructure efficiency and flexibility.

If you interview CIOs about the technological mayor challenges they have regarding their IT infrastructure performance from a business perspective, it is very suitable that you would obtain interesting clues to give great solutions to their big problems, so take the place of the expert and provide the solutions using your managed services features and messaging! Mobile devices, for instance, represent a challenge to the IT management in most companies; so give a solution using your complete arsenal of remote monitoring tools, turning them into a complete IT infrastructure managing and control service.
Remember, the bigger the challenge is, the bigger the reward becomes; change means nothing if it does not give a solution to big problems; and listen carefully to be able to make the correct questions. Controlling IT infrastructures is a trend, and you as a Managed Service Provider – MSP - may get a key role in this activity of course with very interesting profit.

More Stories By Monica Paul

Monica Paul is a marketer and web developer with 20 years experience in local, regional, and global marketing strategies. In 2001, after eight years working as an employee for several IT companies such as Micrografx and Visio; Monica founded Marcomtec, a division of Magic Masterminds LLC, a marketing firm providing strategy and content services, as well as marketing campaigns in English and Spanish. In 2013 Monica launched Magic MasterMinds (www.magicmasterminds.com), a publishing platform to help writers all over the world to publish and market their books.