Beating the Big Guys by Providing Hands-On Service to SMBs

Beating the Big Guys by Providing Hands-On Service to SMBs

In the latest incursion by major corporations into the increasingly crowded niche of managed SMB services, Verizon is teaming up with the Best Buy Geek Squad service (NYSE:BBY)  to provide a new set of services to meet the IT needs of SMBs across the United States.  Verizon designed the solution, known as IT Help Desk, to provide SMBs with a dedicated team of technology specialists.

As part of the IT Help Desk service offering, Geek Squad agents are available round-the-clock to assist with implementing new technologies or trouble-shooting any end-user issues that may arise. The new offering adds Geek Squad support to Verizon's IT platforms, such as mobility and security. In addition, Verizon offers IT administrative support to businesses for day-to-day IT operations.

Sweating the Small Stuff

While IT Help Desk services encompass “big picture” IT issues such as managed security, SMBs, a promotional press release also cites more mundane issues including syncing mobile devices, removing viruses (managed security services tend to focus on virus prevention), and setting up virtual private networks (VPNs).

It is well-known that SMBs typically lack the in-house expertise and resources to handle most of their IT needs, which is why so many MSPs have taken to offer specialized services to this marketplace. However, with the urging of experts and pundits including myself, MSPs have been focusing on providing SMBs with the kinds of technologies and services typically reserved for larger enterprise customers. These include managed security networks, cloud platforms, social media environments, remote mobile networks, teleconferencing and telecommunications systems, and a host of other toys once reserved for large businesses.

However, in their quest to provide SMBs with the latest and greatest virtual and offsite technologies and services that they realistically could never manage internally, MSPs all too often overlook the small, hands-on stuff that most SMBs probably can manage internally, but don’t want to for reasons ranging from keeping headcount down to minimizing cost to maximizing employee time for other tasks to simple convenience.

This includes the daily IT grudgework such as manually removing a virus from a laptop, or syncing the smartphones of the sales team, or maintaining the network connectivity of employee tablets. It’s less exciting than transferring an SMB’s entire IT environment to the cloud and probably less profitable, but still represents a valuable revenue stream.

Perhaps more importantly, providing these kinds of small, hands-on services shows your SMB clients that you can truly meet all their IT needs, and they can also serve as an important foot in the door of an SMB client that may later be looking for someone to create a BYOD network. If the Geek Squad is already running routine malware checks, that client may likely decide to “call the geeks” when they need something really big done, too.
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