You know that part of the board game Monopoly where it says, “Do not pass Go, do not collect $200”? I’m basically telling you that right now.
Do not read this article (and do not collect $200) until you first read our original blog post on PSA and RMM software impacting the POS industry. I’d also recommend diving into this article detailing more industry feedback on our report so you have a clearer picture of this emerging trend.
Today’s post features the perspectives of channel analysts and POS distributors. They don’t use PSA (Professional Services Automation) or RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) tools, but they study and see firsthand how that software impacts the POS channel on a broad scale.
Our contributors for this article include five executives who have a combined 95+ years of experience in the IT channel:
- Tim Ulrich, Business Solutions Magazine– Channel publication
- Mark Fraker, BlueStar – POS distributor
- Greg Dixon, ScanSource – POS distributor
- Lawrence M. Walsh, The 2112 Group – Channel analyst
- Brian Sherman, GetChanneled – Channel analyst
Publisher, Business Solutions Magazine
It’s such an encouraging trend to see the continued transition of the POS channel to managed services in order to capture more and more recurring revenue. It wasn’t long ago, even just a few years, when it was difficult to find VARs in the POS channel that had really embraced the managed services model. Those resellers understood the business struggles that they faced but often overlooked or didn’t understand the value that managed services could provide to their business as well as their clients.
Today many of these same resellers better understand the benefits and have taken crucial steps to be successful. The additional revenue streams they see, and maybe even more importantly can predict and rely on, help fuel future growth and allow these businesses to scale at a pace greater than in the past.
The POS channel’s willingness to embrace the automation tools available to help with their transition is a key to doing so successfully. The great thing is that these tools have existed for many years. Not only have they existed but they have proven successful and reliable for well over a decade within the MSP (Managed Services Provider) community.
MSPs have relied on these tools to drive their success, and the POS VAR channel can easily benefit from the same tools that have enabled so many established MSPs to thrive. Add to that the fact that more and more of the vendors that provide these tools are now looking at the retail and hospitality markets as a growth channel to grow their own business and expand their reach. This creates a situation where the PSA and RMM vendors are more excited than ever for the opportunity to work with VARs catering to these markets.
That increased desire from the automation tool vendors, combined with the transition of the POS channel to managed services creating a need for these tools, is providing a fantastic opportunity for mutually beneficial partnerships and fueling growth for both sides.
Vice President of Marketing, BlueStar
As we all know, the most successful VARs are those which assist their clients with better understanding their own businesses, both internally and enabling them to compare their operations to industry standards and trends. Merchants are having a tougher time staffing their businesses, and enhancing the consumer experience is top of mind to them as competition for customers reaches new highs. Technology is the catalyst to improving the merchants’ operations by increasing consumer experience through the use of beacons, sensors, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Technology is also allowing more and more consumers to interface with the merchants’ ecosystems either by the use of their smart phones or interaction with kiosks, digital signage, and/or touch mPOS solutions.
All of these technology advances require new hardware and software, more integration, and even updating WLAN systems. Technology convergence and innovation is running rampant in the streets of retail and hospitality and requires a higher frequency of hardware/software updating. This means more services to be performed by the VAR on a regular basis.
The most successful VARs have become the trusted technology advisor to their customers by providing more data points to the merchants about their businesses. The merchants are provided a pathway to make better decisions more quickly and remain in business for more years. When it comes to technology solutions, service is the name of the game.
PSA and RMM software solutions are going to become mandatory tools in the successful VAR’s business bag, as more merchants utilize M2M (machine-to-machine) and IoT solutions. These solutions will lead to unique shopping experiences for their customers, help cut costs in their physical infrastructure, and provide more data for better business decisions.
Chief Technology Officer, ScanSource
Managed services will replace break/fix eventually and almost completely. Someone will always have to “roll a truck” at some point, so the ability to do so may never completely go away. But, the POS reseller/MSP will/should do anything to prevent a truck roll. It is expensive and reactive and very “old school.”
With the possibility of proactive and preventive maintenance now possible, no serious retailer or restauranteur would want to risk their customer experience on technology downtime.
So, as these POS end users begin to see the benefits of cloud services, as-a-Service delivery, and monthly OpEx payments, then managed services is just the next logical step.
Even for an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” industry like point of sale. POS resellers – all of them – will have to include managed services as a service offering either now or in the future. Otherwise, they may have no real future.
And PSA and RMM tools are necessities to running a successful and profitable managed services business. There is no such thing as a disorganized and profitable MSP.
The MSP tools are available and the MSP model is proven successful. But, they are not easy. What it takes on the part of a reseller/VAR is to have the courage and foresight and resolve to transition their business to this new, more sustainable model.
Lawrence M. Walsh
CEO and Chief Analyst, The 2112 Group
Automation is the wave of the future. End user businesses simply cannot afford to build, maintain, and operate IT infrastructures and systems, including point of sale. They need resellers that can provide them with the equipment, implementation guidance, support and, increasingly, automated services. The trend seems to indicate POS resellers understand the necessity to adopt the models and underlying tools to make automation a reality for their customers.
Chief Content Officer, GetChanneled
The Vantiv survey points out a number of factors that have enabled the growth of many successful solution providers over the past decade. Automation tools allow firms not only to survive, but to thrive and adapt to meet future customer needs. PSA and RMM solutions also create greater business efficiencies that improve the profitability and scalability of IT services firms, making their route to success easier (and faster). Based on my years of experience in the POS and managed services space, Jim’s conclusions are spot-on and I look forward to his follow up.