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Mobility and the SaaSy reseller option

01 Oct 09

With the emergence of mobile computing, many businesses are now connected to more devices, located in more places  than ever before.

Forrester Research forecasts that enterprise mobile workers will make up 73% of the workforce by 20121. With  customers now accessing a greater number of devices, from laptops to smartphones, it is inevitable that greater IT  support and services are required to ensure that they consistently work together and experience minimal downtime.  This is great news for the reseller channel; not only does the adoption of mobile computing offer additional  opportunities for the channel to sell additional devices, but also to offer support services that troubleshoot and fi x the  issues that are inevitable in a more complex technology environment.

There is a huge opportunity for resellers to build on the relationship with their customers and offer services, thanks to the emergence of sophisticated Software as a Service (SaaS) technology, making them less reliant on simply moving boxes. As the challenging global economy also puts pressure on many businesses, resellers who have added an IT  support and management layer to their business can also minimise their exposure to negative economic impact. Where  customers might delay the purchase of new hardware until business confidence improves, ensuring 24/7 up time is essential and cannot be delayed. 

It also provides an opportunity to delight existing customers with value-added services to their business, which often  leads to greater loyalty and improved business promotion by word of mouth.

So, if including a services component instantly diversifies your offerings, creates an additional, regular income stream  and ensures that you are indispensable to your customers – why hasn’t this market been exhausted?

For most resellers, the logistics of offering support services in a time- and cost-efficient manner has been difficult.  Smaller operators have struggled with the ability to scale their time and expertise in such a way that makes providing  ongoing IT support viable. ‘Truck roll’ support calls can be costly, or nearly impossible for smaller shops.

However with the emergence of robust remote IT support and management tools based on sophisticated SaaS  technology, this has changed. Resellers can now offer customers proactive, ongoing support without the additional costs of on site visits, maintaining fleet vehicles or absorbing costs for skilled support technicians who are limited in the  number of customers they can visit in person.

The ability to address customer issues over the phone, within minutes of the initial call, is not only a huge benefit to  customers, but means technical resources are also efficiently deployed. In addition, the ability to utilise support  technology that can be accessed ‘on demand’ gives resellers the flexibility to add additional licences as their support services and customer base grow.

SaaS technology has gone a long way towards helping smaller resellers ‘punch above their weight’ and make the most  of their valuable relationships with customers.

Despite their flexibility, functionality and low barrier to entry, support and management tools delivered via a SaaS  platform still remain a largely untapped pool of resources for many resellers – something that really should change, given their potential.

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