By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO
Managed Services are coming. As more services and applications move to the Web, the Internet becomes an easier sale. However, your basic small biz owner wants DSL or cable modem. You know, the lowest possible price. You have to explain SLA, uptime and mean-time to repair. The other route is to suggest redundant links, like an EVDO card for back-up or wireless Internet.
But if there are 20 employees sitting around using Internet apps like Salesforce.com and Google Apps for Enterprise, metro Ethernet might be the way to go. Fiber connections are more stable and repair gets started faster. (I would say they are more reliable but that is an old wive’s tale. It’s rare to see SAFT II rings. The recent episodes of fiber cuts have shown us that.)
The carriers offer managed firewall, IDS, and other security services, but those are a difficult sell to a small business owner who has never experienced a theft or intrusion. Remote desktop management is easier to explain and close. Everyone has desktop support issues. (Thank you, Microsoft.)
Hosted PBX should be offered when that RFP comes in for a new key system.
Again, the accompanying sale is a big IP pipe and perhaps redundancy. The affiliate move would be to offer cell phone service as well for back-up, mobility and follow-me.
Another suggestion is data storage and hosted e-mail services to any office with a T1 or greater. Less headache for the IT guy, since running an Exchange server is almost a full time job itself. And off-site data back-up is important.
One of the lessons from Hurricane Katrina was that law offices and doctors went out of business when their records were lost to the flood. Many businesses cannot operate with out their business records (that are mainly in paper format).
Doctors, dentists, lawyers, pharmacies, clinics, insurance, financial planners – all of these and more – need data storage.
SaaS is coming. CRM, payroll, accounting, human resources, hosted PBX, hosted e-mail, specialized apps and office suites are all moving to client-server architecture. As these online apps proliferate, more and more businesses will be migrating to them. There are quite a few incredible Web 2.0 applications (some of which are free) that can benefit a small business.
It is all about access. (The fight will be that the telcos don’t want to sell $500 Internet T1’s nor sub-$100 DSL. They want the services too, as we have seen with MCI and AT&T entering the ASP space.)
The opportunity is there, look for it. Sit in on some panels at the Channel Partner Expo or take the Verio Webinar. The vendors want to help you sell these services and it means more residual income for you.