Free: The New MSP Strategy?Free: The New MSP Strategy?
A so-called "free" strategy continues to sweep across the managed services market. But whether you're an association, a software provider or a managed services provider (MSP), "free" is a tricky strategy to manage -- especially as you try to convert free clientele into paying customers. Here's a look at the trend.
October 22, 2009
free_managed_servicesA so-called “free” strategy continues to sweep across the managed services market. But whether you’re an association, a software provider or a managed services provider (MSP), “free” is a tricky strategy to manage — especially as you try to convert free clientele into paying customers. Here’s a look at the trend.
First, a look at some of the free efforts in the MSP market:
N-able has launched free software agents and free endpoint security options for its existing MSP partner base. The move aims to help MSPs expand their customer bases
Trend Micro offers Worry-Free Remote Manager remote monitoring software for free to its security MSPs
Stay tuned folks. I suspect we’ll hear at least one new “free” MSP-oriented offer in the next 10 business days, and it could be dramatic
Free can be a great way to generate buzz and engage partners/customers. But at some point, you need to convert many of those free folks into paying clientele. Some businesses have done a remarkable job converting free audiences into paying customers — the prime examples including Google (free search to paid search) and Red Hat (free Linux to subscription Linux). But free can also kill a company (prime example: Netscape).
Free for the Long Haul?
In the MSP space, the free strategy will need time to play out.
I’ll be watching the N-able partner ecosystem particularly closely.
How will existing partners use those free remote management and endpoint security licenses?
How will they pitch the offerings to customers?
Will MSPs bill for the free offerings and pocket the profits?
Or will MSPs offer up the software for free to customers — just to get them hooked on managed services?
So many questions. But one thing seems clear: Profitable companies like Red Hat have proven free is here to stay. Now, the rest of us have to figure out our free strategies — especially in the managed services industry.
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