Long a leader in the provision of global technology support services to large enterprises, IBM is now extending its tech support to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). IBM’s new Managed Vendor Support Services allows clients to scale their tech support services, allowing smaller companies the opportunity to use IBM’s tech support offering.

Helping SMBs Stay Competitive

Managed Vendor Services includes IBM technical professionals, global parts network and logistical support. Clients can calibrate the amount of support their customers need and then adjust the support model accordingly.  IBM says the offering provides a “single point of accountability and a simplified contract structure for multi-vendor hardware and software support throughout (a client’s) data centers.” This removes the burden of coordinating disparate IT services, which could be especially challenging for an SMB with limited time and manpower resources, from the client’s shoulders.

IBM is offering this expanded tech support solution shortly after releasing a report that indicates technology is becoming more important in terms of brand promotion and customer experience, but despite their efforts, many businesses lack the proper training and skills needed to succeed in the industry. The report specifically cites common deficiencies in the areas of security and IT skills.

Obviously hosted tech support can go a long way toward compensating for these deficiencies in a quick and (hopefully) cost-effective manner. And SMBs are more likely than larger organizations to have technology shortcomings, meaning Managed Vendor Support Services may be just what the SMB doctor ordered.

IBM Treads Carefully Planned Path

In November 2011, a posting in Channelnomics was highly prescient in its discussion of the likely path IBM’s managed services business would follow. “IBM believes the next evolutionary step in managed services isn’t necessarily a move to cloud computing, but a blending of advanced technologies and applications as service delivery models,” stated Channelnomics. “Rather than just having end users offload burdensome tasks to an MSP, IBM sees managed services becoming the agents that enable midmarket end users to compete on scale with their larger enterprise counterparts.”

The article goes on to say “IBM foresees MSPs spreading the cost of delivery and support of advanced sophisticated applications to multiple midmarket companies that otherwise couldn't afford the acquisition and ongoing administration of conventional perpetual software licenses.” It concludes that this concept of focusing managed services on making otherwise unobtainable solutions available to midmarket users is “being explored by many software and hardware companies,” so IBM should expect some competition.