From resellers to MSPs — the time for a new channel business model

Perhaps a better term for resellers these days, as they migrate business from a product-selling to a service-centric model, is ‘managed service providers’ (MSPs).

Zyxel works with a number of MSPs across Europe who are already seeing the benefits of a service-centric model. So is 2015 the year where we finally see those resellers and VARs who haven’t already shifted make the move to becoming MSPs?

The reasons for becoming an MSP are compelling.

Resellers and VARs benefit from a much more consistent revenue stream and do not need to provide the same level of support to customers, who are instead supported by a partner that’s part of the network.

Of course this shift also has implications for the vendor.

We’re now faced with resellers experiencing the same challenges and issues as those previously experienced by customers. However while the shift is significant for resellers and VARs, the products and support that vendors provide remain surprisingly similar.

First, vendors must provide the right level of support and in a manner that’s easy for resellers and end-users to access and follow. The support and extra value that vendors can add will help make the transition to an MSP as smooth as possible.

A key part of this is in helping people, whether MSP or end-user, get the most from their equipment. So training programmes, online support and guides are all essential.

For MSPs looking to remotely manage networks, fully understanding what’s happening with a switch or access point can mean the difference between a simple email to a client and the cost of sending out a field engineer.

MSPs still need access to the latest standards and products, as well as being able to upgrade easily to get there. Whether that’s to provide peace of mind on security issues or offering the latest wireless standards for Wi-Fi, the move to an MSP makes little difference.

The shift from reseller to MSP is not a simple one but it’s something with a lot of potential benefits for all parties.

Vendors still need to offer that extra support and guidance, alongside reliable products. The resellers already working with these vendors are the ones who will find making the move easier.