Rob Mackle on CRN: VARs May Take the White Label Route to MSP Growth

Rob Mackle, our MD (EMEA) was asked by CRN what more can be done to help VARs make the leap to MSP...

Here's what he had to say:

Faced with slower economic growth this year resellers are exploring different options to bolster their portfolios and increase revenues. Many are looking to cloud and SaaS adoption to begin offering consumption only and managed services. But making the transition from a traditional VAR - that resells customised off-the-shelf products - to a provider of managed services is easier said than done.

It's not that VARs aren't capable of diversifying, far from it. It's just that the switch requires a fundamental shift in the way VARs do business and that isn't something you can just change overnight.

The VAR business model is transaction based. It's a traditional buy and sell process based on a very specific order or solution that meets the customer's requirements. The MSP model is completely different.

It's based on usage in return for flexible, recurring monthly payments. It's about meeting a constant flow of demand, and learning how to regulate and service that demand. As such, they need a model that bridges the gap between both worlds. White label is that bridge and a lot more.

Removing barriers to entry

Typically, the MSP model allows VARs to access enterprise grade services provided by the larger OEMs. However, size has often been a barrier to entry. A VAR might slip under the radar for being considered too small, or not having the required footprint to qualify for an OEM partner programme.

A VAR can bypass this obstacle altogether by partnering with an accredited MSP that offers a white label solution that has operationalised the management and delivery of the OEM service. A solution that effectively repackages the managed service offering for aspiring VARs and removes all the cost and complexities associated with starting up as an MSP.

 A well-crafted white label solution can help to absorb all that upfront investment. As a result, VARs should look for solutions that provide them with a well-defined and easy to implement MSP service that they can roll out to customers almost immediately.

The white label route provides VARS with a ready-made go to market strategy which is also supported by legal and contractual processes they can use to sign up new customers and manage relationships. It also provides VARs with the back end and technical expertise needed to support and grow those ongoing relationships, besides troubleshooting any issues should they arise.

But if it's going to work, the white-label solution needs to be an MSP service that is straight out of the box. That's why it's important for VARs to partner with MSPs that have been through the adaptation process already and have managed to hone an OEM service into an accessible white label format that will deliver that product as-a-Service.

One that other MSPs can easily adopt, market, resell and gradually build up their customer base.

Capturing new revenues

Ultimately, this is all about being able to quickly diversify and generate new revenues. The white label solution should provide VARs with quick entry to new MSP markets, but it should allow them to capture all the top-line revenues.

It's no secret that we specialise in the DR and backup space. We assessed the market a long time ago and identified Rubrik as an OEM with a service that we could build an MSP offering around.

We also wanted to build a proposition that was synched with their channel strategy, and we now provide some of the biggest and best VARs in the marketplace with MSP capabilities. But the white label model isn't restricted to immutable backups.

It's an option that's available to VARs and vendors regardless of their domain expertise. It can offer routes to market for businesses wanting to expand into any managed service category, whether that's cloud, security or desktop services.

The path to MSP success

VARs can access white label options that enable them to offer operationalised services based on recurring cost models. They are entry level solutions that allow them to begin building a fully-fledged MSP business designed to cater for on-prem, cloud or consumption only services, depending on customer requirements.

However, VARs don't want to turn their back on their reseller business. They want to be in a position where they can retain and grow existing revenues while offering newer managed services concurrently. The white label path to market means they can roll out new services at a pace that suits them without impacting on their core business.

They can start carving out a new reputation as an MSP, join other MSP networks and eventually make the grade as an accredited partner to a major OEM.

The sky really is the limit even in these uncertain times."

Click here to read the full article on CRN. 

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