From The Editor | July 22, 2010

Panel: I Made The Jump - Successfully Transitioning Your Business Model


Panel: I Made The Jump — Successfully Transitioning Your Business Model
11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 10
Moderator: Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor, Business Solutions

If you are among the many traditional break/fix VARs interested in jumping into managed services, you won't want to miss our panel on just that topic at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10. I've lined up industry leaders and successful MSPs to share their advice and answer your questions about successfully making the move from break/fix to managed services. Hear insight from Jeannine Edwards, Director of ConnectWise Community; Edward Stringfellow, President of Stringfellow Technology Group; Alex Rogers, CEO of ARRC Technologies and CharTec; Scott Barlow, VP of Sales and Marketing at Reflexion; and MJ Shoer, President of Jenaly Technology Group.

Among the advice you'll hear:

  • Get outside your box. Rogers stresses that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to make the transition. "There are so many great players out there who are so willing to share their experience with managed services. See who is successful, find them, talk to them, copy them," he says. "Don't think you have to create the path."
  • Edwards adds that while there are ways to make the transition easier, be prepared for some major changes in your approach to your customers, namely your sales pitch. "It's been said that only 1 of 3 IT sales professionals successfully transition to managed services sales," she cautions. Why? Technology product sales pitches — those conversations about speeds, feeds, features, and functions — are quite different from the conversations you will have as a services provider to your customers. How do you tackle that transition correctly? "You need to enable your sales team to become business analysts; this means being able to explain how what you offer (services and IT expertise) will transform your customer's business."
  • At the base of a transition to managed services is the investment in the tools you will need — remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools, professional services automation (PSA) software and more. Shoer says that he sees many evolving VARs get overwhelmed by those costs. "The costs can seem staggering, even unmanageable, but the key is to not let yourself get stuck on price," advises Shoer. "This is not a decision you want to make on price, but rather one that will position your company to succeed and bring compelling services to your clients at a level of affordability they would not have otherwise been able to enjoy." He says VARs should tackle the evaluation of these tools based on what services they need to deliver and then select the tool that allows them to deliver on that promise. "Then, if you price your managed service offering properly and realize the right margins, you will have ample cash flow to cover your tool costs," he promises.

Want to learn more? Join us at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10. And if you simply can't make it to Breakaway, watch for continuous live coverage from the CompTIA event at starting Monday, Aug. 9.