Windows 10 Is Here – So How Will This Affect Your Managed Services Business Over the Next 12 Months?
Resellers – I’m talking about the SMB VAR that has converted most of the business to managed services.
There are many; if you’re a VAR, it’s you and your competition. Since the late 1980’s, when Microsoft Windows first appeared as a viable business choice, beating out OS/2 for the majority market share, Window’s problems have dominated IT’s time. This operating system has never really worked – not like other operating systems. If you don’t agree – you may not have experienced the amazing capabilities and stability of IBM Mainframe technology, the OS/400 and it’s System 36 predecessors, and of course many flavors of UNIX. These computers run circles around Windows. But that’s another subject for another day.
The point is, Managed Services has been sold as a way to even out the expense associated with the support nightmares small businesses face every day. And I have to believe that 90% of them, based on many VAR interactions, are Windows problems. What happens to your manage services business if this version actually works?
I Use Mac and Don’t Really Need An IT Group
I started with Apple back in 1984. In 1987, taking a job with what is now Bank of America, I was forced to move to DOS (which was also extremely stable and easy to use,) and eventually Windows 3.0 (The First real Windows look and feel). Windows 3.0 was not an operating system – it was an overlay that ran on DOS. Eventually Microsoft turned this thing into a complete operating system – NT.
Remember Vista? Many revisions after the original NT operating system…It was supposed to be the silver bullet. I bought my a new laptop from Dell around that time, with Vista installed. By the time Windows 7 came out I was ready to convert! I did – I moved back to Apple. I rarely need any support, and have no regrets. It’s been over seven years now.
Mac People Converting? It’s a Sign.
When Microsoft Windows 7 came out, many of the problems were said to be corrected. And they were. I had one Windows desktop remaining in my office, and immediately upgraded it to the new Windows OS. Running 4 Macs and one Windows 7 computer was interesting. In case you haven’t guessed, the Windows box was the only system that required frequent rebooting, laborious updates, and periodic wiping and reloading.
So I was surprised when I read last week in the Wall Street Journal about a Mac follower converting to Windows 10! Something about 10 must be really good! I guess we’ll see – but what happens to your business if Window’s users suddenly don’t need much in the way of support?
Sure, there will always be a need for some support. The entire city of Charlotte, NC and surrounding 100 mile radius is supported by about 2 Apple Stores. There might be a third. This is actually good. I mean, computers should be getting better, and software should be more stable over time. This technology is maturing. But what’s you’re next move.
The Point Is, VARs Must Change
I’ve written about this before, but it needs to be written again. I just got off the phone with a long time customer and friend. His business has been very successful over the years – he sells managed services. This year growth is flat. I know many resellers are making money – they’ve built substantial recurring revenue through managed programs. It was the smart thing to do. Those who didn’t do it are probably in trouble right now.
But there’s always a next move. The technology business won’t stand still. And it’s about that time. Regardless of when you made the transition, it was 2003 when the early adopters did it.
You have two choices, the way I see it. Security or Software. Either help companies make the digital transformation with customer software (a competitive advantage sell) or move to security – intelligent, predictive security. The technologies are new, but now’s the time to jump onboard. If not, you might find your Windows 10 customers don’t really need you. After all, it’s moving to the cloud…like just about everything.
© 2015, David Stelzl
P.S. Not related to this post really, but there are some interesting and concerning security issues emerging with the release of Windows 10. Your team might want to be up on these – might create some new business opportunities.