Friday, April 2, 2010

How do you bring vPro into mainstream computing?

Jay McBain, Director of Small and Medium Business, Lenovo.
I was doing quite a bit of thinking on the plane coming back from Las Vegas over the weekend from SMB Nation. Managed Services is quickly maturing as a business model as well as a Channel community. Much of the focus, deservedly so, was on the cloud, Saas, RMM and PSA tools. There are, however, key things that hardware vendors can bring to the table to enable Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to:
A) Make current recurring revenue model more profitable and
B) Drive incremental managed opportunities at each client
The buzz around Intel vPro was very strong at the event, and many MSP’s have been successful in recommending the technology as a requirement for supported hardware. I even heard an example of a dual-pricing model for managing PC’s – one with vPro enabled and one without.
The challenge to MSP’s is that new SMB clients will likely not have the technology in house as it predominantly sells to large enterprise and public sector. This means that the potential pricing and service levels will be less aggressive at the beginning – exactly the opposite of what you need to win a new client!
It was reported that Lenovo sold more vPro world-wide than any other PC manufacturer. It is not surprising, given the focus on manageability and security dating back to the mid-1990’s. Given this history, the question becomes: How can Lenovo enable this technology to all clients? From 5 employees to 500, there are key benefits of rolling out this technology and we need to help make it happen.
Intel vPro is a combination of processor technologies, hardware enhancements, management and security technologies that allow remote access to the PC. Lenovo has worked closely with Intel since the beginning in all areas of the technology, most notably around Trusted Platform Module and Wake on LAN. ThinkVantage Technologies by Lenovo extend and enhance the technology even further by focusing on the entire lifecycle of the PC from deployment thru disposal.
The ability to intercept the boot cycle of a PC remotely is the cornerstone to a successful MSP business. Accessing a PC regardless of the state of the operating system can significantly reduce truck rolls and give the management and security options necessary to stay on top of anticipated or reported problems. The proactive options available allow monitoring tools to predict errors, reduce downtime, and elevate security of the client.
Now, back to how Lenovo can help. First are the products themselves. The majority of SMB’s buy products in price cells much lower than vPro is positioned at today. Here are some Channel-only specials we are running from now until end of December, 2009:
These products are at the lowest vPro prices we have ever offered, over 30% lower in some cases. This should help MSP’s position the products, not only for the obvious benefits I talked about above, but for the attractive prices available specifically to SMB clients. Beyond price, Lenovo has also worked hard on making sure the programs and incentives are relevant and profitable for MSP’s. This includes taking away reporting requirements and dropping minimum clip levels to participate. Feel free to explore lenovopartnernetwork.com for further information. The products above can be purchased at any of our authorized Distribution partners: D&H, Ingram, Synnex and Tech Data in the US.
It is incumbent among the hardware manufacturers, or the “edge” of the cloud, to ensure that technologies are enabled and merchandised to SMB clients. Stay tuned for more news from Lenovo over the next few months…

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