Best Buy (Symbol: BBY) is set to launch a Geek Squad managed services partner program. Ironically, the move does not necessarily involve mindSHIFT, a managed services provider that Best Buy acquired in 2011. Instead, the Best Buy Geek Squad partner program will promote managed services that telecom resellers can promote to their end-customers. Al Afflitto, strategic partnerships manager at Best Buy and Geek Squad, will lead the effort. Here are preliminary details.
The Geek Squad partner program for managed services will target the SMB marketplace. It will offer standard price-per user and advanced price per user options for desktop support, servers, firewalls and other infrastructure services. The advanced option will include unlimited truck rolls, according to Afflitto.
Channel Partners ConferenceThe Geek Squad partner program is set to launch at this week's Channel Partners conference (March 26-29, Las Vegas). Initial target partners will involve master agents for carrier services, noted Afflitto. Those partners will leverage a Geek Squad branded program, and the partners will gain joint marketing collateral, and other promotional materials. Geek Squad will pay commissions to its managed services channel partners, much in the way that partners earn commissions from carriers, Afflitto.
But here's the twist: Geek Squad will ultimately deliver the managed services to the end-customers, managing billing and customer invoicing along the way. Plus, Best Best has 20,000 field agents -- W2 employees -- and nine call centers to deliver 24x7 support.
In some ways, Geek Squad will certainly compete against traditional MSPs in the SMB market. But there could be a silver lining here: As Best Buy promotes Geek Squad's IT services to small businesses, it could help SMB customers to realize the value of managed services.
Oh, and one final thought: What if Geek Squad offered SMB customers some cloud services -- from Best Buy's mindSHIFT business? Here are the early details on that scenario.