Perhaps it’s the most important document any company will ever create, the business plan. It forms the foundation for your company’s future success. Without an effective framework of corporate guidelines and organizational aspirations, keeping the wheels on the track becomes much more challenging. Solution providers need a cohesive plan to develop new business unit strategies.
Many VARs and MSPs don’t have the expertise required to form a solid business plan. The whole process often becomes costly and time consuming. Rather than conducting the required market and industry research themselves, they can rely on outside experts to provide the needed information, but that can be prohibitively expensive as well. One of the most cost-effective options can be to leverage the resources of CompTIA.
Several of our collaborative communities have created a variety of technology- and vertical- market-specific roadmaps over the past two years, each designed to address specific segments of the IT channel. Each of these documents contains the latest, most relevant industry research and business intelligence available to solution providers.
These guides are particularly useful to channel companies looking to build new practices and the business plan to support them. Each industry roadmap includes a comprehensive list of opportunities, threats and other factors that need to be addressed before investing in new technologies or markets, each carefully developed and vetted by members of the sponsoring communities. CompTIA prioritizes and edits these resources under the direction of solution providers and related professionals with a particular talent in that precise discipline.
CompTIA roadmaps offer guidance and set real world expectations for VARs and MSPs, as well as the vendors and distributors with which they work. This information can be used to assess the benefits and potential liabilities in each market or technology as divided into three trend classifications:
Emerging: Those technologies or industry trends that are gaining traction, offering a greater revenue and profitability potential for early adopters, could be a significant differentiator.
Current: Developments that have already gained a foothold in the IT channel, so the business opportunity is proven. This may be more competitive and less profitable.
Fading: Sales opportunities and profit potential may be limited for the technologies and trends that have either become commoditized or are declining in sales or market share.
These IT channel-specific roadmaps also make great tools for educating new employees and allow solution providers to introduce new technologies or market information to their current personnel. Vendors and distributors can use them as partner and investor resources, giving them a wealth of information in an easy-to-digest format. Each roadmap covers a number of issues that current or potential stakeholders need to understand, helping them validate previous investments or make more informed decisions in the future.
The Signs to Watch for in Mobility
With the rapidly escalating demand for smart phones, tablets and related technologies, members of the CompTIA Mobility Community developed their own roadmap to chart the opportunities and challenges for solution providers. After securing the entire group’s commitment to move ahead, their team created a framework and collaborated closely with CompTIA research professionals to build a valuable tool that an IT firm can use to grow a successful practice. The Mobility Industry Roadmap provides crucial details related to customer expectations, security and compliance concerns, channel opportunities and key infrastructure issues.
With Gartner Research predicting that almost half of all businesses will soon require their employees to use their own mobile devices for work-related activities, mobility will continue to grow. Since few companies have the in-house IT resources to support their growing mobility needs, solution providers with those particular skills should have no problem finding new clients.
After all, VARs and MSPs have the upper hand when it comes to the SMB market segment. Carriers and other large mobility providers don’t have the rapport and consultative skills, or the reach, to satisfy the needs of the vast majority of businesses. The comprehensive IT support and solution customization skills that most VARs possess are a key advantage, allowing them to cater to the precise needs of a variety of customers. With organization-specific consultation and the ability to diagnose a wide variety of client issues, a well-prepared solution provider can create a cost-effective mobility platform for any business.
While the Mobility Roadmap won’t build the entire practice plan and offer solutions for every situation, it is a valuable tool to help VARs and MSPs set the right course for success in this rapidly expanding field. Check it out for yourself – it is free to all CompTIA members – and send a message to me at [email protected] if you would like to join the Mobility Community or learn more about our latest initiatives and how you can get involved.
Kate Hunt is director of member communities at CompTIA.