How MSPs Can Price Mobile Device Management
Maybe it started with a trickle. One end user at one customer asked you to configure his iPad and make sure it was secure for business data. But what started as a trickle is now a flood and for many MSPs who had been working on the ad hoc device here and there now find they are providing a free service to a fleet of devices. It doesn’t make business sense. But how do you persuade a customer to pay for something that used to be free?
And how do you get a customer to pay for a service on a device that just doesn’t break? Joe Panettieri predicted here that MDM per-device pricing is dead:
“I’ve had an iPad for two years. It just works. As a small business co-founder I can’t imagine paying someone a per device ‘fee’ to take care of my company’s iPads and tablets. I think I’ll get some strong debate on this point. Some MSPs are succeeding with per-device MDM fees.”
They may not break, but some professions that are widely adopting these devices have serious data compliance issues to consider. For instance, law firms gravitate towards iPads because attorneys as professionals regularly read a huge volume of documents. Rather than carry them around on paper in a “brief” case it’s easier to access them all from a tablet. Similarly, physician practices are looking to do patient intake and electronic health records with the iPad.
But doctors and lawyers both have heavy compliance burdens and must protect their clients’ and patients’ privacy. So for these organizations the goal is not so much getting proactive maintenance on the devices. It’s enabling the increased productivity that iPad offers while at the same time ensuring that the data is protected.
Per Device Fee
Something like that deployed to multiple professionals as a fleet – especially if they are new customers — may actually be worth a per-device fee, especially if what is delivered is a virtualized desktop or tablet-top delivered to the iPad but hosted on a secure server.
But what if your customer has been with you for three or four years already? Each employee used to have a desktop computer or a laptop. Now each employee has three devices – the computer, the smartphone and the tablet. Is pricing then tripled? That would be a tough pill to swallow for any customer.
Another approach is per-user pricing – a set fee for each user that covers all of his or her devices. That could even include a home PC that needs to be protected since the employee uses it occasionally to do work from home. Are you still charging what you did when you offered per-device pricing? I don’t think so. Instead, you bake the costs of supporting all a users’ devices into the per-user pricing. Maybe pricing doesn’t triple, but it goes up. And it’s justified through the additional services provided.
How are you working with pricing mobile device management and data security on mobile devices? And how have your customers responded to changes you’ve made to the pricing?