Day 1 From ITExpo East

The first day of ITEXPO East is expectedly dominated by conversations of Cloud.  How to monetize Cloud, distinguish offerings, technologies, pitfalls and more. I sat in a few  sessions today, however the one worth noting was a session hosted by Peter Bernstein from TMC titled “How To: Generate Monthly Revenue with Unique Service Offerings”.  With a panel consisting of CA, AireSpring, Digitalk and CBeyond and an audience primarily consisting service providers/resellers, the discussion was primarily focused on the Cloud offerings for the SMB marketplace. The panel generally had a consensus on the following issues:

Billing – The need to standardize is required by the Cloud provider however the advantages for new MSPs exists in creating unique billing offerings that differentiate from the large carriers.  The key is centralized billing for the customized services offered towards an SMB, which is admittedly very costly for Carriers to successfully produce.

SMB Sales Strategy/Handholding – Selling technology towards the SMB is not the preferred method to penetrate the market.  IaaS/SaaS are obscure terminologies for businesses with small or non-existent IT personnel. As a result, selling business applications such as High Availability, secured back-ups, business continuity, etc.. are the preferred selling strategies that abstract the back-end technologies required to fulfill service delivery. In addition, as SMBs once again lack the IT experience and personnel to architect the sale, a great degree of handholding is required by the MSP to close each sale and the MSP must be staffed to educate businesses in converting opportunities to sales.

What is the Measure of Customer Satisfaction? – While the implementations of measure vary between the panelists the overwhelming majority agree that customer satisfaction is really the key differentiating factor. Cbeyond uses a more complex scoring mechanism with customer ratings at various stages of sales cycle while AireSpring  utilizes customer surveys as a generic feedback mechanism.

Overall, it was rather interesting to hear that each Panelist agrees the Unique Service Offering does not necessary rely on technologies, instead the Unique Service Offering is an MSP that can differentiate on service quality. Service quality and end-client experience are the key towards differentiating service amongst this increasingly competitive  industry.

Stay tuned for more from Day 2 of ITEXPO East…