By Miles Jobgen, Director of Trustmarks, CompTIA
How well does your IT firm support legal firms, banks, retailers and other customers? Not just their computers, networks, and the applications that manage their information and allow them to run their daily operations — but everything they need to meet local, state, and federal regulations as well as industry guidelines. That’s the ultimate recipe for channel success.
The IT industry continues to shift. With cloud and managed services reducing the cost of entry and a host of direct sales vendors crowding the market, these formerly lucrative offerings are becoming more and more commoditized with each passing year. Businesses simply have more options for spending their technology dollars today. Laptops and tablets are readily available through online retailers and they can set up basic file sharing accounts on their own, or they can just contract with their local phone company for a variety of services formerly offered only through managed services providers (MSPs). That is rapidly diminishing the value of solutions providers who aren’t differentiating and molding their business models to meet the needs of their specific clientele.
Today’s customers need help with design, procurement, implementation, training, and ongoing support. Each can make your business stand apart from the masses, and improve the value of your organization to current and prospective clients. But those who want to go further along on the channel evolution scale address their customers “biggest and hairiest” pain point: compliance.
Aside from growing their revenue, meeting local, state, federal, and industry-related mandates and rules is typically the largest challenge for any organization. For SMBs with few resources and less ability to keep up with all the changes each year, solutions providers who can manage that aspect of their business are invaluable. Of course, if it were that easy, every VAR and MSP would be doing it.
Go Vertical, Go Deep
The truth is, any provider can offer “Compliance-as-a-Service” to their customers. It would typically be offered one of two ways: (1) included as part of the company’s overall IT services offering or (2) sold as part of a separate, billable practice. The latter could include an industry assessment, consultation, and project work that brings the customer into compliance with the appropriate rules and regulations.
Before spending an inordinate amount of time and other resources building out these portfolio options, solutions providers should thoroughly evaluate the opportunities in their own, local markets. What investments and development steps will be required to develop an effective compliance as a service program for that target audience? How will they promote their newfound expertise?
Here are a couple best practices to consider:
While there’s no set path for building or promoting compliance as a service as of yet, many channel firms have already invested in those types of support programs for their customers. They add a unique value proposition in a highly competitive business environment and solve a pain point many organizations either can’t or don’t address on their own. Is compliance as a service an option your customers would utilize? There’s a good chance they would.