Here’s a Quick Way to Peek Inside IT Directors’ Heads

Insight from IT solutions distributor D&H offers eye-opening view of IT directors’ challenges, needs.

Tom LeBlanc

In my company all technology decisions go through our IT department.

I’m guessing you’re in the same boat since that’s the case with most companies.

We’ve watched the tech purchasing influence of IT professionals grow increasingly and dramatically over CI’s last few State of the Industry surveys. It’s very clear that if you want to sell technology to an organization, you have to understand the challenges and needs of their IT departments.

As VP of VAR sales for IT solutions distributor D&H, Peter DiMarco gets a clear view of not only what IT dealers want to sell but also what those IT directors want to buy.

We caught up with DiMarco at D&H’s New England Technology Trade Show and he shared his unique perspective of what’s going on inside IT directors’ heads.

CI: In talking to IT VARs, AV integrators and end users, we’ve seen a lot of interest in offering or leveraging hosted- or managed-services. What are you seeing?

DiMarco: It’s a function of a couple of things that are coming together. One is, many of our SMB VARs [had] traditional what I would say product-based businesses and service components of their business that were separate—taking that and combining that together and becoming managed service providers.

“We’re seeing more growth right now in the hosted voice space,” DiMarco says. “The ability for an SMB end customer to leverage a provider to provide voice access is a huge growth opportunity today.”

As VARs evolve their offering, they want to be more consultative, provide more outsourced IT to SMB end users. They’ve become what you call MSPs [managed services providers]. As part of that, they’re providing fixed services on a monthly basis, for a fee versus services that are provided through timing materials and break-fix. Sort of event-based, right?

By moving more to [an] annuity-based model, they provide a more predictable business, not only financially, but really in the support and staffing and work that they have to provide every day. Many of our partners have grown out their services and also evolved the customers that they’re calling on today. That’s led to more recurring revenue and then that’s led to also selling more hosted services.

CI: What are some of the services that customers are clamoring for?

DiMarco:  First and foremost, it’s the ability to provide IT support on a monthly basis. If one event occurs or 100 events occur, there’s a consistent level of coverage that the provider will provide to the end customer. They’re on-call and they’re doing any number of tasks that have to be done if there’s a problem or a challenge.

No. 2 is managing the network and the security associated with the network. Remote network monitoring or remote management monitoring is kind of a centerpiece of what every MSP solves today.

The ability to have visibility into a network, understand all the endpoints, put workflows in place to solve network problems or remediate them in an automated fashion to provide people watching the network on stamp at the MSP is a big headache for an end user, right?

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The VAR is able to solve that problem by reselling or selling that service. That’s kind of the foundation. Think of that as, “We need auto insurance” as an example, and they provide [it], right? Combining that together with physical services like labor is the foundation of what they provide today.

Layering on top of that are problems that every end user has. One could be something like end point security. Protect your endpoints against any virus. Protect your network devices against any type of malware or threat, or protect vital information from getting out into the public Internet, providing network security and web security as a function of that.

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