Ingram Micro on Monday debuted four additions to Seismic, the distributor's services division. Timed to the start of Ingram Micro's Seismic partner event, "Make Your Mark," which kicked off in Dallas Monday, Ingram is hoping to get VARs still wading tentatively into managed services fully into the pool -- and making money while they're at it.
"Most Ingram VARs now have some component of services in their delivery bag," said Justin Crotty, vice president of services for Ingram Micro North America, in an interview with Channelweb.com. "Some are more successful or advanced than others, but a lot of VARs who would also say they do managed services really don't. I will say that a much smaller percentage of VARs have a majority of their revenue coming from managed services -- and that's going to grow."
The biggest problem many VARs have, Crotty offered, is that they're penetrating too few of their established end-user accounts with services offerings.
"The greater question that not a lot of people are asking is how many end users are buying managed services," Crotty said. "A VAR might have 100 end-user accounts but be selling services into five or 10 of them. The percentage of deployment is still low. That's the linchpin of this whole thing: getting total deployment and finding that services revenue."
According to Crotty, Seismic grew by 158 percent in 2008. Now that managed services are more of a normal progression than a curiosity among skeptical solution providers, Crotty said Ingram Micro's goal is to get VARs with burgeoning practices to make those practices a primary revenue focus.
"A lot of our focus on training and education is going to be to help VARs understand why they're having deployment challenges," he said. "We're over the hump on 'Why do managed services?' Now it's, 'How do you build a practice?' and 'What are the metrics to base your success on?' We're trying to ask the difficult questions: 'What's keeping you out of maximum deployment?' and 'What do we have to get you to do to do it successfully?' "
Among Seismic's new offerings, Crotty said, are a global network operations center (NOC) to build on Ingram's domestic NOC and allow partners worldwide, including in India and Japan, to leave remote monitoring tasks to Ingram.
The distributor also is debuting Seismic Instant Recovery on Demand by CA, a hosted business continuity service for SMBs that guarantees uninterrupted access to critical data and applications when a system goes down and requires no capital investment.
"If it fails, it's immediately brought back up on another device," Crotty said. "We have a lot of requests for this type of capability."
Ingram Micro is also launching a new portal, Seismic Epicenter, to allow VARs to not only manage all of their Seismic services from one interface, but also access Ingram Micro training materials and business resources in a single location.
"It's designed to be a single sign-on portal for VARs to manage all Seismic offerings purchased through Ingram," Crotty said. "They can manipulate the admin dashboards and the reporting screens, and it's a single site -- they don't have to be bouncing around between applications. Down the road, it's going to be a place where VARs can provision services online, can make billing inquiries, can access 'how-tos' and can pull information right from the portal. We want it to be the mother ship for managed services needs out of Seismic."
The last new feature is the Seismic Business Intelligence Dashboard, which Crotty calls "the killer app." The business intelligence tool will allow Seismic VARs using the Seismic Hosted RMM (remote monitoring and management software) to assess their total end-user install base with a set of performance metrics. They'll be able to not only compare performance data between their end users, Crotty explained, but also compare against other solution providers in Ingram Micro's managed services community.
"Right now, the Seismic universe will be the comparison piece, but I'd love to get to a point where we compare to the overall market. If the measurement pool is, say, 50,000 VARs, here's how you stack up against those 50,000," Crotty said. "This is going to be data available nowhere else to these guys -- no single vendor or application vendor can provide this.
"Seismic has really shaken things up in the managed services industry -- taking the focus off the technology itself, and placing the emphasis on the partner's business model," said Patrick Ciccarelli, CEO of solution provider Varsity Technologies, in a statement. "Seismic makes it easier for us to build up our value-add, increase overall profitability and establish a stronger go-to-market strategy that keeps us ahead of our competitors and top of mind with our customers."