Ingram, N-able Sing Managed Services Tune

The Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor is working with N-able Technologies to provide a hosted version of N-able's managed services platform through which solution providers can monitor their customers' networks, provide patch and upgrade management and other services, said Justin Crotty, vice president of channel marketing at Ingram Micro North America.

"A lot of resellers don't have the infrastructure or capability to build a managed services practice or to look for partners to sell those services to customers and represent them as their own. That's what we're focused on, how to identify the best-of-breed, third-party providers out there that we could leverage and present through Ingram Micro," Crotty said.

The N-able On Demand program initially will be available to Ingram Micro's VentureTech Network (VTN) members, who can use the tool for up to five end-user customers, said Mark Scott, president and CEO of N-able, Ottawa. After that, it becomes more cost-effective to purchase the N-able platform rather than pay the company to manage it, Scott said.

"We want to be a one-stop shop for managed service providers. You can subscribe to network monitoring, vulnerability assessment [and] remote-access management. If you want to make them interoperate together, you need the N-able platform," he said.

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Ron Cook, president of Connecting Point of Las Vegas, said he wishes there would have been a trial program such as this when he was building his managed service provider (MSP) practice.

"We're already invested in N-able and use the product. Too many people would like to get into it but because of costs they might hesitate to do that. It's someplace people should go," Cook said.

"What if you only have 12 clients but you have to pay for 25 [up front]? This permits someone to go into the program that might not have enough clients to warrant paying to set the system up."

Connecting Point offers remote monitoring, patch management, security and help-desk services to end users with up to 50 PCs, Cook said.

"We've eliminated a lot of headaches. The accounts we work with are up to a certain standard. We find problems before they occur. Our clients are happier."

To help solution providers get started with a managed services business, N-able also has developed an MSP maturity model based on Gartner's maturity model, Scott said, which assesses what solution providers need to become a MSP. For Ingram Micro, it will benchmark VTN members against other members, he said.

In addition to N-able's platform, Ingram Micro hopes to attract MSPs that offer network monitoring, refurbishment services and patch and upgrade management, Crotty said.

"We're looking to provide a service that requires an infrastructure that VARs couldn't make on their own, with recurring revenue and [that] allows them to present themselves as a VAR with a more complex services portfolio than they [have] today," he said.

Ingram Micro may also offer its these managed services initiatives to non-VTN member solution providers. The distributor has had discussions with Netivity, a Waltham, Mass.-based managed services provider and member of Ingram Micro's VTN.

Netivity has managed services on behalf of other VTN members' customers on an ad-hoc basis, said Mont Phelps, CEO of Netivity.

"It's a significant differentiator in today's world. It keeps you engaged with the client. Second, it's good for the business. It's a recurring revenue stream to smooth out some of the valleys," Phelps said.