Lumen21 Rolls Out Tiered Managed Services Offering For VARs Breaking Into Services

Lumen21 has launched a new tiered program for outsourced managed services to help traditional value-added resellers break into a services-focused model, the company said Thursday.

The Orange, Calif.-based service provider has been in business for seven years with a focus on compliance, technology solutions and managed services. Its newest offering brings its extensive managed services expertise to fellow VARs to augment their portfolios, extend their services offerings in new areas or even act as their first toe dip into services.

Lumen21 estimates that for VARs jumping into managed services for the first time can cost $1.5 million or more to staff a 24/7 operations center, a price tag that Lumen21 President Eduardo Don Jr. said is prohibitive to many smaller businesses. However, he said it's important for VARs to offer services to differentiate themselves from their competition, something he said his own organization refers to as the "it" factor.

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"We all have that same challenge in how to differentiate ourselves at the end of the day ... what we try to do with our services is give them the ability to say all these things are equal, but we also have this other thing that this other VAR may not have," Don said.

The tiered program gives VARs the option of referring, reselling or rebranding their services, depending on what works best for them.

"Our idea was to, when we define our channel ... we want to define it in such a way that we wouldn't exclude anybody," Don said.

The different tiers give different levels of client visibility into the Lumen21 partnership with their VAR clients. The first referral option gives VARs the opportunity to simply refer a client to Lumen21, in turn getting a portion of the profits. With reselling, the Lumen21 name would be retained on the services, but VARs could offer them directly to their customers, similar to software or hardware reselling models. Finally, the rebranding option would let VARs brand the services under their own name.

Having the variety of options is a win-win for VARs and for Lumen 21, Don said, as VARs are able to leverage Lumen21's services expertise and not turn away business because of a lack of services capability. In addition, Don said that being able to offer services to end-user clients is crucial as VARs move toward recurring revenue and long-term trusted adviser relationships with their clients.

"What we found is we give the channel a few more options to engage with the client," Don said. "That's a little differentiating. We really are in the business of delivering services. They're really getting a delivery mechanism to allow them to enhance their offerings to their own clients."

The driving force behind the changes, Don said, is Vice President of Sales Carol Kinney, who has an extensive channel background and is helping the MSP drive its push out to the channel.

"Our managed services program helps resellers build stronger client relationships and improve customer services without the risk," Kinney said in a statement. "Our program grows with the reseller as they invest in their own Managed Services practice. We can start with a 'referral' relationship, where we do everything, and grow into a 'resell' or 'rebrand' relationship, where the reseller would take more ownership of the sales and marketing process."