Sun Services Takes Preventative Measures

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Sun Microsystems may still be struggling, but one part of the computer maker that has been an undeniable hit is its services unit; Sun Services has been one of the most profitable and fastest-growing segments within the company, thanks to an expansion into high-margin services beyond break-fix and maintenance and the use of Sun iForce channel partners to reach new customers with heterogeneous environments.

When former Sun Services head Patricia Sueltz, who had helped engineer much of the improvements in the unit, left the company this past February, Marissa Peterson was tapped to succeed. A 16-year Sun veteran, Peterson has given multitasking a new meaning: In addition to running the company's services business, Peterson also retains her current roles as executive vice president of worldwide operations and chief customer advocate.

"My goal is to accelerate that momentum," she says. "Our focus is to continue preserving customer choice and leverage iForce partners."

Since Peterson took over, Sun has already introduced a new services business, dubbed Sun Preventative Services (SPS), in Shanghai, which offers security and data-center monitoring services. By the end of the calendar year, Peterson says SPS will launch for iForce partners.

Along with those new offerings, Sun Services' newest leader wants the computer maker to be more proactive with its iForce community and to develop strategies and programs that incorporate the channel.

"Many of the initiatives and programs for partners at Sun were done retroactively. We'd come up with something new for the company, and then we'd try to figure out how to fit partners in after the fact," she says. "Now it's about co-creation and getting the channel involved up front."

In addition, Sun Services will continue building its managed-services operations, which has been one of the more successful segments for Sun. It also plans to make acquisitions and internal investments for services-automation technologies.

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