SAN DIEGO — Day two of the CompTIA Managed Services Summit, which yesterday focused on research and trends for managed service providers, centered mostly around round-table discussions and Q&A sessions among MSPs — or those trying to break into the market.
At the top of priority list for nascent MSPs were questions about pricing and how to market managed services — either to existing clients who might be persuaded to upgrade from product purchases to service contracts, or to new customers altogether. Others asked for advice in effecting internal changes as they move from a more traditional reselling model to managed services.
How do you price a managed service?
There are three main approaches for pricing managed services: a completely à la carte model in which the customer pays different prices for different levels of service; an all-inclusive, flat-price model; or a hybrid that lets customers pick among predefined levels of service.
You know those days when everything just seems too serious? You’re consulting or meeting a customer to pitch the latest addition to your UTM line card, and your stockings or tie just start to suffocate you?
I have the solution. Let your hair down. Breathe a little. Sport a snarky t-shirt underneath that pinstripe suit, and even if no one ever sees it, you’ll know you’ve got it on. It will make you laugh, and help you approach that new security awareness training project with a smile on your face. Wear your gear in just enough to make it look like your standard attire when you don it for show at Black Hat or Burning Man. It might even help you stay cool.
In your busy life as a VAR, you might not have time to seek these garments out, so I’ve done some of the legwork for you. Here are a few of my favorites:
- It’s OK
- Understanding computer technology
- I read your e-mail
- No I will not fix your computer
- There’s no place like 127.0.0.1
- Old School Computer (Represent)
- Picked last in gym class
- I heart spyware
- Packet storm four continents
The moral of the story, of course, is to keep your humor about you. Your customers will appreciate you for it (even if they only see it in your attitude), and your day will be better. I promise.
One of the snags in VoIP installations is how to extend them to small branch offices or home offices (which are getting more common in all industries that rely on knowledge workers). According to IDC, VoIP is growing faster in home offices than in corporate offices.
Connecting a corporate VoIP network across the Internet, to a home office or a hotel (once it’s outside the firewall, does it really matter from where a remote worker is connecting?) so telecommuters and travelling employees can connect with it is daunting. It’s hard enough (and expensive enough) to get acceptable VoIP performance in a corporate setting.
Cisco is offering some corporate/home VoIP configuration guidance, in a document, in a paper that — judging by the rule that the usefulness of any technical document rises in direct proportion to the awkwardness with which it’s written — is very useful indeed: PIX/ASA 7.x: QoS for VoIP Traffic on VPN Tunnels Configuration Example
(Here’s some advice on how to set up a comfortable and productive home office, btw.)
Apple patches security hole in QuickTime QuickTime one of four popular apps currently at risk. [TheReg]
VXers push small coc Trojan on unwilling world It’s not the size that matters [TheReg]
Dell to offer Ubuntu Linux desktops and laptops After months of speculation, Dell Inc. officially announced it will sell pre-installed, 100% certified Ubuntu Linux on its laptop and desktop computers.
[SearchEnterpriseLinux.com] Continued »
EqualLogic, today announced changes to its channel partner program that will further assist partners deploy its technology among midmarket customers who are increasingly adopting iSCSI storage area network (SAN) systems
The Nashua, N.H. – based company is enhancing the way partners communicate with EqualLogic, both by adding more people who will be assigned to work with partners on customer accounts but also via the Web.
In its announcement the company said it has established a channel management team from EqualLogic that will be dedicated to addressing the challenges partners face in a number of areas that go beyond selling technology.
The company will expand its field teams, positioning technical experts based on a regional focus. Incentives are driven by increasing sales through the channel and team members are expected to identify, qualify and close sales deals as well as provide on-site training to partners’ technical staff.
To further assist partners, EqualLogic has developed a field marketing team to help partners gain greater exposure to end customers and to develop plans for co-marketing.
Other improvements include telephone lines dedicated to channel partners who want to resolve issues relating to sales, product, marketing, competitive information. EqualLogic will also offer Web-based training, regular webcasts, and forums where partners can air their complaints and discuss business strategies.
James Tenner, president of Broadleaf Services, said he expects the changes will assist his company as it implements iSCSI technology to midmarket customers, particularly those who lack technical skills.
“A number of these changes help us to educate the marketplace, whether it is the webinars, or the ability of the channel managers to come with us to do seminars in the marketplace or the ability to have the latest reports and data, they all help us give our customers comfort that they are moving to very mainstream, accepted, highly reliable technology,” Tenner said.
Symantec fixes flaw in multiple products In other vulnerability news, a critical flaw is found in Adobe Photoshop and Cisco fixes flaws affecting a number of its products. [SearchSecurity.com]
Dell Linux is go Ubuntu named as distro for desktops and laptops. [TheReg]
Dell’s founder is rethinking direct sales Michael S. Dell is now thinking about changing the way the company markets its computers. [NYT]
Cisco primes Linksys for small-business channel Cisco Systems is strengthening its attack on the small-business market with the launch of a revamped channel program for its Linksys division later this year. [ChannelWeb]
Apple says some notebooks may have battery issues Apple Inc. said on Friday some batteries in its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook computers may have performance problems, but they do not pose a safety risk. [Reuters] Continued »
NetApp VP says storage virtualization overrated NetApp’s vice president of emerging products, Jay Kidd, discusses storage virtualization, competition with Isilon and NetApp’s current identity crisis. [SearchStorage.com]s
VMware goes public with $100m plea Costs and CEO salary way up. [TheReg]
Microsoft’s Vista sales boost 3q profit Windows Vista buoyed Microsoft Corp.’s quarterly results, easing fears that the new operating system is too pricey, requires too many hardware upgrades and doesn’t work with other companies’ applications. [AP] Continued »
Letter to the editor, SearchITChannel.com
As a principal partner of a Sun Microsystems reseller, my sales people are asking what our response should be to the large number of our customers that have been contacted directly by Sun inside sales people regarding the huge discount they can get on Sun servers, storage, and other products at Sun Store [Massive Savings; Two Weeks Only].
These discounts are not available to Sun resellers like ourselves, and I would like someone to ask them what their thoughts are regarding the impact on their partner resellers.
I have been a Sun reseller for a long time, and they have always been channel friendly in the past. It’s disheartening to see their lack of consideration for those businesses that have stuck by them through their financial troubles.
Sun and IBM to offer new class of high-end servers The companies plan to introduce specialized high-end server systems that provide fresh evidence of a new era in computing. [NYT]
Phishers add call forwarding to their arsenal The evolution continues. [TheReg]
Acer recalls 27,000 notebook batteries Blog: Got an Acer TravelMate? Check the battery. It might have been recalled. [CNET]
Laptop theft affects 160,000 Neiman Marcus employees A laptop, stolen from a consultant, contained sensitive data of about 160,000 current and former Neiman Marcus employees. [SearchSecurity.com] Continued »