Channel Marker

May 3 2007   3:17PM GMT

Ingram Micro preps NOC-for-hire for MSPs, VARs to rebrand, resell

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

SAN DIEGO — Ingram Micro plans to announce on Monday a set of back-end services, including a managed network operating center (NOC), helpdesk, and email hosting including anti-virus and anti-spam filtering, a company executive told attendees at the CompTIA Managed Services summit today.

The services, part of Ingram Micro’s Seismic program, will be sold to managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) who will be able to rebrand them as part of their portfolio to end users, said Justin Crotty, vice president of Ingram Micro’s North America services.

The program will essentially create a virtual NOC VARs and integrators can sell to their own customers, but the service is even more virtual than that. Ingram isn’t building the NOC itself; those will come from Network Synergy — a network services and design company in Trumbull, Conn.

Ingram will resell Network Synergy services to VARs and integrators, who can rebrand and resell the same services themselves.  

The arrangement is the next step in the commoditization of managed services that some MSPs have worried about even as they started their migration out of a traditional break-fix model. Crotty said MSPs should focus not on the services themselves, but the consulting and business-specific relationships built around them.

“The tools are commoditized today,” Crotty said. “If you’re competing at the tool level, yeah, you’re going to have a problem.”

Crotty said Ingram Micro will sell the services exclusively through resellers and has no interest in direct sales.

Ingram Micro’s additions – and similar offerings that could come from other distributors in coming months – will partially level the playing field for MSPs, which will increase competition, said Juis Alvarez, president of the Alvarez Technology Group Inc., an MSP in Salinas, Calif.

Alvarez said he is not very worried that his existing customers will leave him, but the ease with which other companies will now be able to offer managed services may make winning new contracts more difficult in the future.

There is also some irony, he said, in an announcement that will force companies away from the MSP model and towards the “trusted advisor” role coming at an MSP conference.

“Isn’t the whole thrust of this conference that we’re all trying to get into managed services?” he said

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