ServiceKey: Vendor-Neutral Maintenance
We at The VAR Guy are hearing it more and more: Companies can no longer afford to scrap their hardware every two years and start fresh. This is bad news if you’re purely a reseller, but it’s a potential gold mine if you deal in maintenance. ServiceKey, the a so-called Master Independent Services Maintenance Organization (ISMO), aims to help VARs tap this potential by taking care of all their maintenance obligations for them. Here’s their story.
ServiceKey started six years ago in 2003, solely in the business of maintaining hardware on their reseller partners’ behalf. Their business began expanding far beyond its original scope in 2008, after a client requested a VoIP networking monitoring service they didn’t have, says Christine Callahan, channel and alliances manager for ServiceKey. That simple demand caused them to totally reconfigure their business, Callahan says — maintenance would still be their bread and butter, but they began offering products more traditionally associated with a the MSP industry, like disaster recovery and network infrastructure monitoring.
The Master ISMO moniker comes from a desire to distance themselves from their competition: both the traditional 3rd party maintenance companies, which do direct sales outside the channel, and the first-party maintenance provided by the larger manufacturers like Cisco or IBM, which Callahan says uses the same field engineers that ServiceKey does.
ServiceKey, by contrast, attempts to provide opportunities for VARs by allowing them to guarantee help desk support and maintenance, no matter where in America they are (they don’t do much business out of the country, Callahan says), and regardless of what kind of hardware they’re running.
Now, in 2009, the ServiceKey website claims that they have over 60 channel partners, leading them to have what Callahan says was a good year. What do the VARs in the audience think? Would you be willing to outsource your maintenance contracts if they were executed under your name?