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Tech Data Unveils Managed Mobility Services To Drive Subscription-Based Sales For Channel Partners

Solution providers looking to retain existing clients and boost profitability need to move to a model where they're providing ongoing management and perpetually delivering post-sale services, says Tech Data's Harish Sathisan.

Tech Data has rolled out managed services offerings around mobile device management, cloud Wi-Fi and augmented reality to help partners grow their base of recurring revenue.

The Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor said its new AccessEMM portfolio will make it possible for end users to consume emerging technologies without a large, up-front capital expenditure, according to Harish Sathisan, Tech Data's director of mobility in the Americas.

Sathisan said Tech Data's non-cloud partners have not, for the most part, capitalized on recurring revenue business models. Solution providers looking to retain existing clients and boost their profitability need to move from a transactional relationship with their customers to one where they're providing ongoing management and perpetually delivering post-sale services, Sathisan said.

[RELATED: Tech Data Tightens Cloud Integration With Microsoft To Unlock Simpler Experience For SMBs]

"Our partner ecosystem needs to get on to the MSP model," Sathisan told CRN. "That model isn't going to change."

Many end-user businesses already provide employees with access to work emails on their personal iPad, iPhone or Android device, Sathisan said. Tech Data's mobile-device-management-as-a-service is intended to empower channel partners to support clients who have adopted bring-your-own-device, choose-your-own-device, or company-issued, personally enabled policies, Sathisan said.

"There isn't any existing MSP offering around that," Sathisan said.

Many of Tech Data's existing wireless resellers already sell access points or wireless local area networks, Sathisan said, but the distributor's new cloud Wi-Fi offering is intended to enable partners in the state, local or education (SLED) space to manage their customers' wireless product or even revamp their network without forcing schools or universities to invest in internal IT administrators.

"Teachers are too often the IT administrators, and having that expectation doesn't behoove either the teacher or the school district," Sathisan said.

Tech Data's next-generation offerings have thus far focused primarily on the Internet of Things, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, Sathisan said. As customer demand for augmented reality and virtual reality begins to emerge, Sathisan said Tech Data is committed to helping partners understand the value of augmented reality services and enabling them around it.

While the distributor had previously enabled partners to resell products focused on enterprise mobility management, point-of-sale Wi-Fi and virtual reality, Sathisan said Tech Data hasn't been focused on the services side of the equation.


Tech Data expects its mobile-device-management-as-a-service offering to have the broadest channel audience since it would be a good fit for any solution provider interested in the mobility space, Sathisan said.

The other new offerings will have a somewhat more narrow focus, Sathisan said, with the cloud Wi-Fi intended for resellers already providing wireless products to customers and the augmented reality services targeted at partners that have close relationships with development teams or teams that create apps for organizations.

Tech Data partners will be able to offer mobile-device-management-as-a-service and cloud Wi-Fi to their customers as a one-year, two-year or three-year subscription, Sathisan said. The distributor would like end users to opt for a three-year contract, Sathisan said, but wants to provide partners with the flexibility to do what's best for each individual customer.

The financial model for Tech Data's augmented reality services or other wireless services will be more ad-hoc depending on the specific needs of end users, Sathisan said.

Melillo Consulting has found that it takes substantial time, effort and resources to build managed services that meet its customers' mobility needs, according to Dan Sytsma, vice president and general manager for the Somerset, N.J.-based Tech Data partner, No. 306 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500.

Sytsma said in a statement that Tech Data's AccessEMM will provide both the expertise and offerings needed to deliver leading-edge mobility capability to customers in that space.

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