Software & System Vendors SaaS-Empower Managed Services
Anyone who follows this blog or the broader on-demand services market is well-aware of the disruptive impact Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is having on the software industry. Now, software and systems vendors are offering SaaS solutions that could have an equally profound affect on the way organizations acquire and manage technology, as well as transform the way vendors and channel companies sell and support technology.
While the managed services has grown steadily, many channel companies have experienced limited success migrating to a managed services model. As I’ve stated in previous blog entries and my other writings, part of the problem is that executives within established channel companies don’t fully understand what it takes to transform their businesses. But, another barrier to success has been the lack of cost-effective tools.
Until recently, many channel companies were unable to successfully transition to a managed services model because it required considerable investment in IT management tools and skills. Few of these companies could afford the upfront license fee for traditional management software packages, especially given the incremental revenue streams that come with managed service agreements. They often lacked the requisite skills to implement and maintain these management platforms.
Today’s SaaS-based management solutions can be acquired on a pay-as-you-go basis, and are easier to deploy and administer, making them perfectly suited to help channel companies transform themselves into viable managed service providers (MSPs).
These attributes led Dell to acquire SilverBack Technologies and Everdream, which now serve as the cornerstones of its new SaaS-empowered managed service offerings aimed at channel companies.
Cisco’s acquisition of WebEx was also partially driven by its SaaS-empowered remote management capabilities, as well as its collaboration applications. Cisco is now aggressively promoting a Managed Services 3.0 initiative aimed at helping channel companies and service providers more effectively develop and deliver managed services. (You can hear my views about Cisco’s initiative on a recent Lippis Report podcast.)
The most recent example of this phenomena is EMC’s new SaaS initiative, announced yesterday, that kicks off with MozyEnterprise™ powered by EMC Fortress™, an online backup service for desktops, laptops and remote Windows servers based on the service delivery capabilities it acquired from Berkeley Data Systems.
Not all systems and software vendors are buying their way into the SaaS-empowered managed service enablement business.
Symantec unveiled an internally developed SaaS platform nearly a year ago. While the Beta program that was a part of its initial SaaS launch generated mixed reviews, Symantec is committed to delivering a full-suite of SaaS solutions for its channel partners that will span its traditional management capabilities. The company’s channel partners will be able to leverage these SaaS offerings to build or enhance their their managed service capabilities.
This trend demonstrates that managed services and SaaS is gaining widespread acceptance at both the end-user and vendor levels. Approximately 40% of the companies surveyed by THINKstrategies and Business Communications Review a year ago were already utilizing a managed service. Over a third of the respondents to THINKstrategies’ most recent user survey in conjunction with Cutter Consortium are currently using a SaaS solution and another 37% are considering SaaS.
While many SaaS startups are trying to establish channel relationships to expand their market penetration, many established systems and software vendors are acquiring SaaS companies or adopting SaaS strategies to help channel companies migrate to a managed services model.