Consumerization of IT: How Can VARs and MSPs Profit?
Tablet devices are probably the hottest consumer technology right now, and for good reason. It’s a form factor everyone is craving, and the technology has matured to the point where a device 10 inches in size is actually lightweight and very powerful. But the vast majority of the tablets available are geared for the consumer space — not exactly a plus for a channel. Or is it? Is there a way VARs and MSPs can take advantage of the tablet craze and make some money? We’ve got three ideas:
1. Partner with the right distributor: Ingram Micro has a relationship with Apple, providing a channel resource for iPads. And let’s not forget Unisys has also inked a deal with Apple to provide Apple products in the governmental and business verticals. It’s likely that as more tablets come to market, Ingram Micro and other distributors will add these devices to their inventory, providing a channel for resellers to work with. There’s no question the demand is there.
2. Wrap services around devices: If there’s a channel-driven demand for a tablet, more than likely that demand is driven by a specific need the tablet addresses, and more than likely there are related services or apps a VAR or MSP can provide. It may be something the tablet already does, or it may be a custom app, but either way, it’s an opportunity. VARs and MSPs could integrate in the device everything from custom software (especially easy with Android) to e-mail services and back-end hosted solutions that bring the tablet into the workplace ecosystem. Even something as simple as a customized web portal can be useful if the site is designed with the tablet in mind. VARs and MSPs also can wrap regular old tech support around the devices to help out with configuration or troubleshooting.
3. Combine and sell into the vertical: Healthcare and governmental verticals are skyrocketing exponentially. One iPad commercial highlights medical imaging software, and there’s no reason to think the new wave of Android tablets won’t be able to do the same. VARs or MSPs that wrap custom backup and e-mail services with a suite of healthcare management applications can provide a truly robust solution to their customers, especially if they have a distributor to work with that can supply the demand.
What’s more, VARs and MSPs can be more competitive with these offerings because consumer products tend to be cheaper than their ‘enterprise’ or ‘business’ counterparts. There’s also a very small learning curve for users because the devices tend to be familiar or intuitive, which could mean that support is relatively minor for tablets.
We’ll be keeping our ear to the ground as these trends evolve, but let us know what trends you’re seeing.