Managed Service Providers Say, 'Show Me The Green'


More managed service providers are seeing green in green. They're selling IT services that are environmentally friendly, helping customers save money and reduce their proverbial carbon footprint. In many cases, success is found through marketing current offerings in a new way, said MSPs.

"I have a theory. My idea of how to sell green to small business is to get it integrated into things you're already doing," said Susan Labandibar, president of Tech Networks of Boston, a South Boston, Mass.-based solution provider and system builder of Earth PCs, which are certified by the 80 PLUS organization for meeting energy-efficient standards.

Labandibar said that many customers are talking about green, but it's up to solution providers to show them how to benefit.

"With the spotty history of power management, most IT professionals have a negative image [of green technology]. That's why many computers ship with power management disabled for a long time. It's a hard sale to make to a technical team," Labandibar said.

Managed service platform vendors are also launching their next-generation features that incorporate green technology. Earlier this month at its annual Kaseya Connect user conference in Las Vegas, Kaseya unveiled a new module to help MSPs empower "Green IT" initiatives.

The new Kaseya User State Management (KUSM) module was designed to give MSPs the ability to remotely manage desktops, including power options that let an administrator power down machines when not in use. In addition, the module includes an automated desktop migration solution to help define and deploy group profiles, which provide the tools to integrate power management into Kaseya's advanced systems management console, according to the St. Helier, England-based company.

The KUSM module integrates technology that Kaseya acquired through the purchase of Versora in June 2007 and makes tasks such as providing reporting, backup and deploying user accounts, application settings, user settings and system settings manageable remotely and transparently from a single point, according to Dan Shapero, senior vice president of marketing for Kaseya.

"There's more computers outside than inside the data center, but more interest has been on energy [savings] within the data center. On the desktop, not a lot of attention has been given," Shapero said.

KUSM, combined with Intel's vPro technology, allows IT professionals and MSPs to execute power management without compromising system management, Shapero said.

In addition to environmental benefits, the new functionality also improves backup, disaster recovery or setting departmental profiles on new machines, he said.

"It's one more tool in the bag in justifiying managed services SLAs with customers. There's not many opportunities where you get to do a good deed, help save energy and get a more proactive, more efficient business model to save you money too," he added.

Bob Godgart, founder and CEO of Autotask Corp., an East Greenbush, N.Y.- based managed services software vendor, is increasingly stressing green benefits to his MSP customers, such as the reduction in paper used in running their businesses.

"We're pushing service providers to stop using notepads to capture and organize information inside a CRM," Godgart said. "When you move into the actual workflow, you're being more efficient to look at what really needs to be scheduled."