Avoiding the Managed Services Stranglehold

Many of our mobile computer hardware resellers offer bundled support packages for mobile computers and associated solutions called managed services. These are typically offered under a service-level agreements.

From a broader vantage point of the mobile infrastructure, the managed services value proposition of one-call support puts the managed services provider (MSP) in a position that squeezes margins and leaves the customer looking at competitors.

The Stranglehold

Managed services are contracted as a fixed amount, per device for a contract period. Generally, the price quoted is driven by the cost of the MDM/EMM solution plus an add-on amount for value-adds. However, the costs to support the customer are not fixed, and neither is the expectation of value.

The value statement the MSP offers is all or any combination of:

  • One call support (read “one neck to choke”)
  • Increased uptime
  • Lower cost to own


Consider this:

Only 3 in 10 of mobile user issues after deployment are caused by mobile device hardware/software.* Yet 90% of the time, the company associated with the mobile hardware, gets the support call.  Most MSP’s services are based on the use of mobile device management which might take care of the 3 calls for support, but what about the other seven out of ten?

It is the more serious, non-hardware related mobile user complaints that are the challenge for the MSP. These issues are intermittent, escalate to business leaders, and are very difficult to troubleshoot and resolve with the device-based and standard networking analysis tools and related skill-sets.

Rising Costs to Support

Having an SLA that does not cover the technology, man-power, or expertise required to fulfill the contract of “one call support” for all mobile user complaints puts the MSP in a stranglehold that forces them to do work at no or low margin and rack up the cost to own the customer:

  1. Technician and sales manager travel onsite
  2. Free or low margin services, such as packet captures or log analyses.
  3. Shipping and reshipping of hardware

The alternative to give-aways is to charge fees for additional services, opening the door for a competitor with a better offering.

Per incident, the costs to the MSP will range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Over time, failure to deliver will cost the MSP a contract renewal or force the price down, leading to a tighter stranglehold during the next contract period.

Don’t Tap Out Yet

Anyone who has watched a WWF or MMA fight knows that once the stranglehold is on, it is too late. Fighters don’t avoid the stranglehold by not entering the ring, they do it by having a better set of moves than your opponent. In business speak, this is differentiation.

How can the MSP differentiate?

  1. Go beyond the device and network biased tools and skills
  2. Use comprehensive system visibility that allows for proactive and reactive support
  3. Confidently validate services success with meaningful data analysis

Talk with Connect about how a unique and powerful service does more than eliminate risk and cost, it justifies additional revenue and margin.

Here’s what some customers and partners have to say:

“I wish we had this from the beginning!”

“Of all the value-adds we offer, this is the one the customer really needs.”

“This is the best kept secret in the industry.”

“Your analysis saved us from major roll-out delays and lost production.”