Ingram Extends Managed Services Offerings to Mid-sized Businesses

Distributor positions itself to help IT resellers migrate to mid-market.

September 8, 2009

D.H. Kass

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Distributor Ingram Micro has advanced its Seismic-branded portfolio of managed services to include mid-market solutions by enlisting an IT management and monitoring offering from Nimsoft Inc.

Company officials said the agreement encompasses the entire suite of Nimsoft monitoring solutions, which will be housed under the Ingram services division’s Seismic banner and called Seismic Enterprise Monitoring powered by Nimsoft.

Seismic is Ingram’s platform of managed services solutions, featuring products and services by an array of providers as well as education, resources, guides and consultants for channel partners.

The Nimsoft solution fills an open slot in Ingram’s Seismic lineup, said Jason Beal, director of sales, services division. He said that even though 75 percent of the 1,000 resellers currently leveraging the Seismic portfolio are deploying managed services to small- to medium-sized businesses, a significant number are now examining budding opportunities in the mid-market.

“We see it as an opportunity,” Beal said. “The traditional solution provider within our Seismic community focuses on small business but many are starting to migrate to the mid-market.”

Beal said that the competitive advantages of the Nimsoft solution—low complexity, highly sophisticated, scalable and easy to use—are a good fit for the mid-market managed services customer.

“In the mid-market, there are more complex technical requirements, virtual environments, unified communications, the move into the data center,” he said. “Some traditional managed services tools focused on the desktop aren’t sophisticated enough to service the mid-market customer.”

He estimated that initially more than 10 percent of Ingram’s reseller base that participate in the Seismic initiative would adopt the Nimsoft solution.

“This is an example of us moving up market and forming relationships with the right partners.” Beal said. “It’s a broad opportunity for existing Seismic partners and partners focused on the mid-market. It’s not about us adding a vendor’s line card to resell--it’s more about helping our partners.”

One Seismic reseller praised the Nimsoft solution for its advanced monitoring and alerting to mid-market and enterprise clients. Dan Sottile, senior vice president of Long View Systems, a Denver, Colo., solutions and services provider, said that the Nimsoft service management tools offer clients a “clearer view of the business value and impact of the systems we are managing for them.”

Selective outsourcing

Ingram’s Beal said that the economic downturn has opened up the mid-market for outsourced managed services providers. Because mid-sized and large businesses are directing available budget at proprietary applications central to their business, new opportunities have surfaced in other areas of IT support.

“Small businesses are outsourcing managed services in their entirety, but in the mid-market space companies must spend their dollars differently,” Beal said. “Rather than outsourcing all of IT, they are focusing their internal budgets on the most critical or proprietary applications central to their business, leaving more common parts of IT support such as remote server monitoring and help desk management for outsourcing.”

Beal said that economic constraints and the growing sophistication of managed services technology will continue to prompt businesses to enlist the assistance of MSP specialists.

“On a weekly basis across our Seismic community we are seeing wins not just in small business but also in the mid-market as a result of economic pressures,” he said. “Many of those businesses outsource owing to internal cost constraints.”

Both Ingram and Nimsoft jointly will support channel partners in the field, Beal said.

“The primary support benefits are around sales and marketing, technical help, managed services education, training and best practices,” he said.

“Our support spans from opportunity identification to product installation,” Beal said. “We’ll partner on sales opportunities when partners ask us to. In pre-sales we provide education, best practices and pricing information. We won’t dictate end user pricing but we’ll offer guidance on expected margins.”

Beal said that while Ingram assessed the managed services opportunity in the mid-market as less robust than the small businesses segment, the distributor believes that its evolving stable of MSP partners will move upstream as sales opportunities emerge.

TAGS: unified communications,SMBs,managed services,channel program,Ingram

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