What is the right services model for the channel?
Should services be sold on behalf of vendors or independently? That's a question that has exercised the minds of quite a few channel partners in recent times.
A number of businesses will have already made the required investment to build up their own services capability and will feel wary of outsourcing that work to a vendor. But many others may have only limited service expertise and should be attracted to the idea of reselling or co-delivering services on behalf of the vendor. In theory at least.
HP has begun to exploit its acquisition of EDS with the launch of Critical Advantage Services (CAS) - including patch management, remote monitoring and options to buy various response times - to the channel and distributors are starting to train resellers to sell and support it.
While HP business manager for technology services Paul Early believes the services covered by CAS will become more critical as midmarket businesses shift to virtualised environments and the cloud, he is realistic about how quickly it will be deployed.
"It will take a while to ramp up, probably a three year ramp. We don't expect to sell hundreds of these from day one," he admits.
CAS should prove attractive to a number of channel partners, but the ones it is most attractive to are the ones that probably need to invest more time, energy and resource to be able to sell and support it. Ironically, the channel partners best qualified to deliver CAS are, to all intents and purposes, probably already able to provide most of the services it covers themselves. As Softcat managing director Martin Hellawell tells MicroScope: "There is a little contradiction in the model for a player like us."
This was first published in January 2011