Bell Micro launches MSP program in U.S. first

Published: October 27th, 2006

Canadian resellers will have to wait until the early part of next year for Bell Microproducts’ new Managed Service Provider (MSP) program.

The San Jose, Calif. distributor has teamed with Billerica, Mass.-based SilverBack Technologies, which will provide its managed services platform to the program giving VARs the ability to resell MSP services.

But for the first six months the program will only be offered in the U.S., according to Gary Gammon, senior vice-president of marketing at Bell Microproducts.

Though the distributor has a large operation in Canada, “the initial business development resources we’ve deployed with regards to training has been in the U.S.,” said Gammon.

Plus, he added, this gives Bell Microproducts an opportunity to work out some of the program’s kinks.

“By the beginning of Q2 we’ll actively market (the program) in Canada,” he said.

Bell Microproducts will offer VARs two levels to its MSP program: a managed model, for a reseller startup fee of about $1,000, where the distributor provides the network operation centre infrastructure and data reporting of customers’ environments to resellers; and a hosted model, for $7,500, where resellers build their own MSP practice while using Bell Micro’s systems to monitor and manage end user networks, said Gammon.

He added that VARs should expect to earn margins in the 20 to 30 per cent range. “It’s on the lower end if they’re using the fully managed option,” where Bell Microproducts is doing the backend monitoring.

He added that resellers taking on the entire program will see margins around 35 per cent on a recurring basis.

Not exclusive

Unlike Ingram Micro’s recent managed services partnership with Ottawa-based Level Platform Inc. (LPI), Bell’s deal with SilverBack Technologies is not exclusive.

“But we have no intention of working with another MSP technology provider,” said Gammon. “Due to the investment we’ve made with SilverBack, it’s going to be the platform we go with.”

Many of Bell Micro’s larger resellers already offer managed services.

However, Gammon said that “we also have a vast number of resellers that haven’t been able to participate in this market. It requires capital to get going so distributors are a good place to launch it and resellers get to leverage what they need.

“If they want to make it a core part of their business, many can take it in-house,” he added.

Meanwhile, N-able Technologies of Ottawa which used to sell its Velocity System MSP framework through Ingram Micro until a few months ago, has found direct sales to be more effective, according to Bill Stewart, N-able’s vice-president of marketing. As for Ingram’s relationship with LPI, “we compete against LPI but nothing fundamentally changes. It’s distributing through another channel but its still the same value proposition versus ours. We don’t see that as being a significant change,” said Stewart.