Can MSPs Profit From Mobile Device Management?

Can MSPs Profit From Mobile Device Management?

The center of the IT world has shifted from corporate desktops to mobile devices like smartphones, netbooks and notebooks. Now, the big question: Can MSPs truly profit from mobile device management? And if so how?

I started kicking around this blog entry during N-able Partner Summit a week ago. During a few sessions at the conference, MSPs were debating how to support customers' smart phones. And on the financial front, some MSPs were debating the pros and cons of per user vs. per device pricing. One MSP in the room mentioned a plan to charge $5 per month per user to support smart phones. But another MSP in the rumor argued that it's far wiser to simply offer a blanket per-user monthly price (say, $125 per month) that covers all devices (desktop, notebook, smartphone, tablet, etc.) per user.

Life After Bill Gates

What's my view? Frankly, I don't have a firm answer. But I do know this: Even Microsoft is finally conceding that we're entering a post-PC world. Think about that for a minute: For more than two decades, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates talked about a PC on every desktop and a PC in every home. That vision was perfect for MSPs focused on PC-centric support. But will that model hold up as customers increasingly embrace to new form factors like tablets?

Again, I don't have an answer. But the MSP software market certainly is responding. Over the past year, we've seen more and more PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) software companies introducing support for iPads, iPhones, Google Android devices and more. In fact, some of the most popular iPad applications involve remote monitoring and remote management.

That trend will continue at ConnectWise IT Nation, where we'll likely see some mobile announcements from LabTech Software.

Translation: Software companies are introducing tools to manage new mobile devices. My big question: Are MSPs adjusting their business models and pricing models to profit from all those mobile efforts?

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