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N-able Mid-Market Managed Services Push Proving Lucrative

By D.H. Kass

October 9, 2009

N-able Technologies, a supplier of remote monitoring and management software for managed service providers, said that it has signed about 120 MSPs to its mid-market partner program since launching the initiative last May, a figure it aims to double in the next year.

An increasing number of MSPs have begun to target mid-sized businesses, pressing openings to work together with internal IT departments to provide services such as help desk and second level support.

Company officials said that the vendor’s mid-market program, which guides pre-qualified sales leads to MSPs, now includes 15 percent of its top resellers and about six percent of its total number of partners worldwide.

“Right out of the gate, our mid-market partner program has done really well in North America and we are continuing to see high growth potential and increasing interest from partners around the globe,” said Mike Cullen, N-able vice president of sales.

“We expect to see greater traction around the program in the months ahead and will close the year out strong and really hit the ground running in 2010,” he said.

Under the program, N-able’s sales organization fields incoming leads and matches customers’ requirements to channel partners who cultivate the opportunity. The company said a significant portion of sales opportunities come from organizations averaging about 250 seats.

Program suits forward-looking partners

“The program is for MSPs that want to move upstream and want a bigger piece of the pie,” said Frank Colletti, N-able director of sales. “Our sales organization helps partners from beginning to end to fulfill a sale. We’re helping partners to take the cost out of arranging a deal.”

Colletti said that N-able’s move into the mid-market, which it test piloted late in 2008, has revealed clear preferences from mid-market organizations on how they want MSPs to work with them.

“MSPs get push back of they want to outsource a mid-market’s entire IT infrastructure,” he said. “A better way in is with an a la carte approach, perhaps starting with help desk and second level support.”

One N-able partner said that its participation in the mid-market program allowed it to compete for and ultimately win a deal with a customer it might not otherwise have pursued.

“Since signing up for the midmarket partner program in June, we’ve received a number of qualified business leads and just recently closed a sizable deal with a large advertising agency that wasn’t even on our radar,” said Tony Cook, Datapro director of business development.

Colletti said the vendor’s goal for the program is to bring more revenue to its partners.

Channel News Roundup:
Gartner, CompTIA Paint Brighter Industry Picture; HP Ups PartnerOne Designations; Ingram Offers New End-user Leasing Program

Gartner, CompTIA Paint Brighter Industry Picture

Researcher Gartner Group has revised its forecast for 2009 worldwide shipments of personal computers, painting a brighter picture of the industry’s performance than it did in June.

Gartner now figures that computer makers are on track to ship 285 million personal computers worldwide this year, as compared with the 291 million units shipped last year.

The researcher said it expects the industry to post more PC shipments in the fourth quarter this year than in the same period last year. The expected year-over-year decline in PC shipments is about 2 percent.

In the first half of 2009, PC shipments shrank by more than 4 percent when compared with a similar period last year, the researcher said.

A Gartner analyst attributed the rosier view to sustained growth of mobile PCs and stronger than expected shipments of desktop systems.

“PC demand appears to be running much stronger than we expected in June, especially in the U.S. and China,” said George Shiffler, a Gartner research director.

“Mobile PC shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets, and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down,” he said. “We think shipments are likely to be growing again in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008.”

The Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) also sees the gloom that has blanketed the IT industry lifting a bit.

A CompTIA study of 200 technology companies conducted from May to August suggested that the IT industry’s confidence level, while not approaching that of a swagger, may be returning.

Survey respondents included IT companies, solution providers, VARs, hardware and software vendors.

The study’s results showed that 48 percent of companies expect to increase research and development investments and other activities to generate revenue. One-third of the study’s participants said that they will up technology spending in the coming months.

CompTIA’s IT Industry Business Confidence Index, a mixture of three different measures of confidence, rose more than three points in August, on a scale of 0 to 100.

“The data suggests that companies have begun to reset expectations with an eye towards an improved economic landscape,” said Tim Hebert, CompTIA vice president of market research.

HP Adds Designations, Tools and Rewards to PartnerOne Channel Program

Hewlett-Packard Co. has added new Elite designations in key growth areas, marketing resources to help partners stir up sales opportunities and special compensation for resellers that post year-over-year growth in targeted technologies.

The vendor’s strategists are urging channel partners to grab growth opportunities, particularly in important areas such as virtualization, data center and services, and leverage the entire HP portfolio as a competitive advantage.

“These PartnerOne enhancements address key growth areas such as virtualization and networking, along with several new marketing resources to help partners turn those opportunities into real results,” said Tom LaRocca, vice president, marketing and strategy, Solution Partners Organization, HP Americas.

Accordingly, HP is extending its Growth Accelerator, a rebate program that incents partners for year-over-year growth in ProCurve networking, enterprise servers and storage and enterprise services.

The vendor’s new Elite designations include virtualization, data center and point-of-sale.

The Virtualization Elite designation blends the former BladeSystem Server and Storage and Virtualization Solutions tags and includes back-end rebates, special pricing, marketing funds and sales leads.

HP’s Data Center Elite designation provides rewards partners who hold designations in enterprise storage, services and virtualization with back-end rebates, special branding and value-added solutions for the data center.

The Store Solutions Elite designation rewards partners with an expertise in point-of-sale solutions, including hardware, software, service and support with back-end rebates, supplemental demonstration units and branding materials.

HP said that partners holding its Services Elite designation will be measured based on a new yardstick called the Services Penetration Rate Index that rates services penetration irrespective of a partner’s business model. The PRI will go into effect in May 2010. All other program enhancements and benefits will become available on November 1.

The vendor also is offering partners some additional marketing resources, including an e-marketing tool to publish information about HP products and solutions on their web sites, a web-based tool to help partners plan and conduct customer events and webinars, and funds to help offset the cost of sales and technical training to obtain Elite designations.

Ingram Micro Offers New End User Leasing Program

Distributor Ingram Micro has launched a new end user financing program for its U.S.-based channel partners through VAR Resources, a financing company that works exclusively with channel partners.

The financing option provides end user leasing for products from vendors with which Ingram does not maintain an existing leasing arrangement. The distributor holds captive leasing agreements with a number of its major IT suppliers, including Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and others.

Funding is available for a range of IT solutions, including software, service contracts, implementation costs and phased installations. Ingram’s resellers have access to pre- and post sales support provided by VAR Resources dedicated staff.

Keith Bradley, president of Ingram North America, said that the deal with VAR Resources will help resellers by providing ready-made end-user financing options.

“Leasing is a lucrative, yet widely untapped financing alternative in the IT channel,” Bradley said. “The challenge is many channel partners have a hard time finding the right leasing partner and don’t have the expertise in house to manage the leasing transaction or sell its value into the client base.”

Bradley said that the program will help resellers better identify leasing opportunities, land more sales and add more value to the customers.