Tech Consultants: Are You Losing Out on Managed Services?

Dear Technology Consultant (one person or 50 person company),
Technology is an enabling solution that should ONLY assist a business, especially a small business with growth. As I have said so many times a florist should be dealing with the core fundamentals of their business, not worrying about if their server is working or not. A law firm you should not have to deal with complex network security issues.
Are they turning to you? Are you positioned to help them using managed services?
This does not mean they should not know about technology, but it does mean that someone WHO IS not a lawyer or a florist but a specialist in technology should be MANAGING the technology for them. Managed Services, the aspect of outsourcing technology to a third party is on the rise – and with a good reason.
The traditional consulting model is to send a guy/gal technician to the customer site when there’s a problem. Spend half the time figuring out what the problem is and then the other half of the time solving the problem. By offering your customers a managed service solution (IBM calls it On-Demand or Autonomici Computing) you can cut out a lot of the time wasted in sending a technician to a client site and solve many problems remotely and before there even is a “problem”. Singlestep (more on their offering below), CompuLinx and others offer managed solutions for you to consider offering to your customers.
Your customers can gain two advantages when using managed services 1) manage their cash flow by paying a fixed price for technology services 2) be assured that an expert is managing their entire technology infrastructure. This DOES NOT mean your customer sits back and not ask questions or ensure things are working well – but they do not (and should not) have to MANAGE their technology. That’s your job.
What are the advantages for you: 1) You can let your technicians do other things to grow your business (sales) and not waste time going to customer sites. You might also find that you don’t need 50 technicians but by offering managed services can make do with 30 technicians for example 2) You will get recurring revenue – just like any other service provider (cable TV, cell phone, etc) 3) You can have a better handle on the state of your customer’s network and technology infrastructure overall.
When you turn your water on, it just comes on. Right? You don’t manage the pipes and reservoirs and etc. Your clients should have the same experience with technology.
If you are not offering managed services to your customers you should be considering it or partnering with someone who can.
Singlestep Technologies recently announced the release of a new offering for managed service providers that allows them to deliver this service to their customers.
Expanding Singlestep Unity’s existing capabilities for remote management and monitoring services, the Singlestep Unity/AME solution integrates elements from IBM to provide a cost-effective, high-value root cause analysis capability. This functionality is part of an overall Unity solution deployed to remotely monitor and manage customers’ networks.
The solution, which was first installed at LAN Solutions, Inc., took less than two days to install, and is already helping to provide increased revenue for the company in a monthly recurring service fee. LAN Solutions is now using Unity to provide this On-Demand (or managed) service to over 15 of their small-to-medium sized business customers.
“With the integration of Unity and IBM’s autonomic computing technologies, we have dramatically reduced the time it takes for our technicians to analyze and identify a network problem at one of our clients’ sites,” said Victor Kellan, president and CEO of LAN Solutions. “Approximately 80 percent of the time required to solve a problem is spent analyzing data√≥just to identify what the problem is. By automating that process, Unity cuts that time to almost zero, helping us quickly determine the root cause of a problem. We’ve also been able to increase our revenues by being able to offer a new level of service to our small enterprise customers.”
Using elements from the IBM Autonomic Computing Toolkit in combination with their Singlestep Unity solution, Singlestep has created a cost-effective, high-value root cause analysis solution that allows a Mid-market service provider to immediately improve the value of their remote monitoring and management service offering. With this solution, service providers can start increasing recurring revenue by adding more customers with fewer new support staff, streamline and reduce the cost of delivering these services, and add greater visibility thereby reducing support costs and burdens.
Singlestep Unity is used to collect management information from a variety of management systems. For installations with the root-cause analysis component, this information is then converted within Unity to the Common Base Event format. This format is a key component in the communication between Singlestep and IBM technologies. The network information, which is currently in the Common Base Event format, is then forwarded to IBM’s Autonomic Management Engine (AME).
AME, along with a newly developed IBM resource model, provides the information for the root-cause analysis. The information then seamlessly feeds back into Unity for processing. Unity receives the root-cause notification and takes appropriate action to update, notify, and potentially repair the issue. Unity provides this information to IT technicians immediately so they are able to quickly and easily identify and resolve problems within their network as soon as the problem occurs.
Initial results for the Unity/AME solution have shown an average decrease of 30 percent in actionable events for NOC staff. Additionally, the customer is able to continually increase monthly recurring revenues and margins as more customers are added to the service– while requiring fewer new engineers and support staff as they grow the business. For more information visit
I highly encourage you to read the article I wrote about CompuLinx’s ManageNow service