How to become a managed service provider

The managed service provider (MSP) business holds promise for value-added resellers (VARs) looking to expand their business or migrate away from reselling. Value-added resellers can find techniques and tips on how to become a managed service provider.

Executive Summary

In an increasingly commoditized tech world, value-added resellers (VARs) are gravitating toward managed services as an area with good growth potential. Many VARs operate with a hybrid model, offering reselling or integration services in addition to managed services. While building a managed service provider (MSP) business out of an existing VAR or break-fix shop isn't always easy, this Channel Business How-To will get you started.

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Read more about how to become a managed service provider:

To be an MSP, forget 'selling managed services' and sell yourself

Selling managed services successfully is easier if an aspiring MSP avoids referring to "selling managed services" and comes up with its own brand, experts say. As part of that, companies should take on a trusted advisor role with their clients, selling not just products and services, but IT guidance.

MSP industry growing, but customer satisfaction may be falling behind

Surveys indicate that managed services and software as a service (SaaS) subscriptions are expected to grow in 2007. At the same time, customer satisfaction may be sliding.

IT Channel Explained: Managed services contracts

Value-added resellers venturing into managed services need to consider the details of the managed services contract they provide to customers. Learn what goes into a managed services contract in this edition of Channel Explained.

After-sales service defines success for managed service providers

After-sales service is good customer relationship management for VARs; for managed service providers (MSPs), it's the key to survival.

Managed service providers' business models, pay rates attract qualified technicians

Managed service providers are finding that remote management and changing pay rates help them hire top-notch technicians despite less supply in the job market.

Writing an IT service-level agreement

If you're rolling out a services-based line of business, such as managed services, an IT service-level agreement (SLA) is as essential as your vendor partnerships. Whereas many resellers may have previously acted just as an intermediary between their customers and vendors, more and more are providing service directly -- or at least rebranding services from a managed service provider (MSP) as their own. This closer, longer-term relationship means you'll have to draft an SLA to define exactly what you should and shouldn't be expected to do for your clients. Learn what an SLA is and how to draft an SLA that will save both you and your clients headaches in the future.

This was first published in April 2008

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