Coast Solutions Rolls Out Packaged Services For SMB VARs

In some ways similar to the intellectual property and architectural blueprints that Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) provides to enterprise partners, CSG&'s offerings give SMB partners a sensibly priced, turnkey process for offering services for which they lack trained sales and technical staff, executives of the Irvine, Calif.-based company said.

The fixed-fee deliverable services are available for a variety of technologies from Microsoft, Citrix, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Dell and VMware and were developed as a result of many successful field deployments, said Paul Freeman, president of CSG, which now has 110 partners in its network.

Founded in 2004, CSG offers regional and national systems integrators and resellers management, consulting and negotiation, and billing services. Partners can sign up to become a CSG member for a nominal fee.

"Today, partners create services in a custom fashion. We took a subset of common services we've seen consistently requested in the SMB and midmarket and packaged them in a services framework so the sales rep doesn't have to do each customer agreement on a one-off basis," Freeman said, noting that the prepackaged services enable partners to deploy proven solutions faster and at a low cost.

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CSG's packaged offerings include assessment, design, proof-of-concept and delivery services for the midmarket, as well as solutions tailored for SMB customers, such as Hot Labs. A Hot Lab is a four-day, on-site, proof-of-concept and lab environment that provides customers training on and demonstrations of VMware or Microsoft Project, for example.

The roster of packaged services addresses security, storage and backup, systems infrastructure, network infrastructure, mobility solutions, systems management, discovery, inventory and compliance, and desktop deployment. There are manufacturer-specific services for Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, EMC, HP and Altiris. For instance, CSG offers a solution for deploying Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Windows. CSG provides project management services and overhead and support services for solution providers.

Mike Strohl, president of Entisys Systems, a Concord, Calif.-based CSG partner, said the packaged services will give many SMB partners a way to get into the services business and pitch new offerings to customers.

"We're a reseller, and we tend to react when a customer needs something. We'll scope them out and create services for them, but we're not proactive enough," Strohl said. "Here is a service we can put in front of a customer. It's a really good jump-start to do services and can accelerate the transition to services for resellers, who will see an opportunity to get into things they might not have been able to get into before."