The State of US SMB Managed Services Channel

The State of US SMB Managed Services Channel

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The IT channel has reached an inflection point. Faced with an expanded buyer community and requirements for specialized skills to support different solutions, the channel is beginning to segment by focus area. Although the different specialties are starting from a common point today, Techaisle expects to see each develop unique characteristics over the next several years.

This report focuses on the US SMB managed services channel.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Prologue
  • The business of the SMB channel
    • By the Numbers: The SMB channel
    • Time Allocations, and “the dog that didn’t bark”
    • Delivery models and target markets
      • The links between average sales cycle length and delivery model – and cloud positioning
    • Trends in specialized offerings
  • Managed Services in the SMB channel
    • What is the current state of managed services in the channel?
    • Comfort level with – and profitability of – managed services
    • Key current and planned MSP offerings
      • Whither the VARs?
      • Increasing service granularity spurs demand (and opportunity) for specialists
      • Addressing SMB buyer preference for a single source
  • The role of the vendor in the managed services channel
    • Common and unique areas
      • Best-of-breed vs. single vendor solutions
    • Important vendor partnership criteria
      • Key vendor contributions to channel business success
      • Supporting the managed services channel
      • Supporting the managed services value proposition
      • Marketing to the channel
  • Working with the SMB managed services customer
    • Managed services in the context of IT and business imperatives
      • Managed services bridges a gap between IT requirement and IT capacity
    • Complexity and managed services: is the solution also part of the problem
  • Summary observations
  • About Techaisle

List of Figures

Figure 1. By the Numbers: The US SMB Channel in 2016
Figure 2. Time allocation across sales activities by channel businesses
Figure 3. Delivery models, target markets and growth expectations
Figure 4. Average length of SMB sales cycle by channel delivery model and by cloud business approach
Figure 5. Current and planned technology offerings, US SMB channel, 2016
Figure 6. Managed services deliver by channel business model, 2013 and 2016
Figure 7. SMB channel partner comfort levels with managed services by channel business model
Figure 8. Current and planned channel partner managed services offerings
Figure 9. MSP and VAR managed services offerings, current and planned
Figure 10. Demand for and supply of managed server services
Figure 11. Single-source vs. multiple source supply of managed services by e-size
Figure 12. Channel partner preferences: best-of-breed vs. single vendor solutions
Figure 13. Important vendor partnership criteria within the US SMB channel
Figure 14. Important vendor sales and marketing support offerings to the US SMB channel
Figure 15. Biggest challenges faced in offering managed services to SMBs
Figure 16. Key value propositions used by channel partners to sell managed services
Figure 17. Sources of information used by channel partners
Figure 18. Sources of information used by channel partners grouped by primary effect
Figure 19. Business dependency on technology
Figure 20. SMB IT staffing levels, 2010 and 2016
Figure 21. SMB perceptions of IT complexity
Figure 22. SMB Most complex IT solution areas

Price of Report: US$6500

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The survey was conducted in the US with SMB Channel Partners. Each Channel Partner was screened for their focus on SMBs - deriving 50% or more revenue from selling to SMB customers. SMBs are defined as businesses with 1-999 employees.

A 25 minute questionnaire was administered to each respondent. Respondents were Senior Decision Makers within the Channel Partner Organization.

Channel partners covered in the study include MSPs (Managed Services Provider), VARs (Value Added Resellers), SPs (Service Providers), Consultants and SIs (Systems Integrators).

This report is one in a series of four similar deliverables. The other three are focused on 1/ Cloud, 2/ Mobility, 3/ Virtualization

Report is delivered in Word/PDF format.
Report consists of 33 pages and includes 22 figures and charts.

Report has four distinct focused sections:

  1. The business of the SMB channel
  2. Managed Services in the SMB channel
  3. The role of the vendor in the managed services channel
  4. Working with the SMB managed services customer

Building an effective managed services channel is likely to be a long and complex undertaking. On the positive side, many channel members participate in managed service delivery today, and longer-term trends indicate that a sizable proportion of the channel community will develop managed services specializations. There is also compelling evidence that buyers need and value managed services, and that this need has been growing over the past five years, and will continue to increase. However, the data also shows that channel firms struggle to transition from delivering some managed services to building viable businesses on a managed services model. To be successful, vendors will need to set objectives spanning the three-year period over which the managed services specialization will emerge, and invest in the tactics (and execution excellence) required to support partners through this period.

Price of Report: US$6500

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