"We've looked at some other folks on the market, but we don't want to spend $25,000 to $30,000 up front. We decided to create some of our own [managed services], but at heart we're not a development company," Ockenden said. "If Tech Data has a relationship with an organization that has some tried-and-true solutions, that's more appealing than ongoing development of our own."
Visory Group sat through an online demo of InnovativeTech's solutions and was impressed, Ockenden added. "It really is a la carte. We can pick and choose the services most appropriate to us," he said. "We can mark up appropriately to our clients, and we haven't had to undergo development efforts to get there."
Visory Group is reluctant to make a heavy investment in managed services and then not see a return, Ockenden noted. "If you can't deliver them quickly, who knows [what will happen]? Rather than take six to 12 months to develop it and then hope to be able to adapt, we like Tech Data's offering," he said.
Pittsburgh-based InnovationTechs, which has been in business since 2001 and has annual sales of $6 million to $10 million, plans to assist and support VARs as they deploy the new Tech Data service, said Jake Mitchell, the MSP's CEO.
"The resellers won't just get our technology; they'll get an understanding of how to use it," Mitchell said. InnovationTechs specializes in deep monitoring, "not just break-and-fix tactics," he noted.
Tech Data has been working on the new MSP service for about a year and a half, according to Miller. "Do we expect thousands of solution providers to sign up? Not initially. Like all services, it will start and grow over time," she said. "It's another complement to Tech Data's other suite of services."
The new managed services are the first available to Tech Data's general VAR base. The distributor also has a relationship with N-Able for its TechSelect Network, and TechSelect member ConnectWise also offers the distributor's partners hosted professional-service automation solutions.