Who is this article for?

If you’re looking to resell Hosted Desktop services, then this article is for you. Whether you’re an IT services provider, telephony provider, software vendor or another technology specialist, we’ll give you our top five reasons why we believe reselling Hosted Desktop is great for business.

Intro

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already aware of the Hosted Desktop service and where its place is within the Cloud.

For example, you’re probably aware of why it’s such a popular service for SMEs and large businesses alike. To focus on the SMEs, we know that they love Hosted Desktop for the killer benefits of:

  1. No servers are required “on premise”.
  2. Backups are all managed and off site.
  3. Their data and applications sit behind managed firewalls.
  4. Service levels are extremely high.
  5. A predictable monthly capital outlay for their IT budget.
  6. It brings hyper-mobility to their workforce.
  7. Disaster recovery is included within the service.
  8. Having a managed service desk for their IT support needs.
  9. All the while, staff have a familiar Windows Desktop!

The best of both worlds

All the benefits of Cloud, whilst retaining all the traditional IT familiarly for their staff.

With all of these plus points, it’s easy to see why the Hosted Desktop continues to be such a success across the industry!

Even with the advent of SaaS-based applications, such as Xero and Quickbooks online, customers find they still love to have a “base” for their IT – a container for their applications (SaaS or Desktop) and data – with the Hosted Desktop continuing to show why it reigns supreme in this regard.

Have we sold it to you? Come on, you were already sold :). Next question, can you sell it to your customers? The answer to this is a resounding yes!

And the easiest way to get selling is to partner with an established, specialist supplier for Hosted Desktop, which will enable you to become a reseller.

But allow us to talk a little further on why it makes great sense to partner with a Hosted Desktop provider to enable you, in turn, to offer the service to your customers.


1. Boost your services portfolio

One of the great things about Hosted Desktop for us service providers, is that it’s quite an easy sell (for the benefits mentioned above). I mean, what business owners don’t want to receive all those plus points, all the while keeping some pennies in their pocket (yes, Hosted Desktop often works out cheaper than the alternatives!). 

Another great thing about Hosted Desktop is that we’re yet to find an industry it doesn’t suit. We’re talking accountancy, legal, recruitment, engineering, you name it, they all make great bedfellows when it comes to Hosted Desktop. 

  1. IT service providers

This is our most common form of re-seller and we see them do very well. A typical IT provider will already be selling IT support, internet circuits, and IT security to name but a few items. However, what an IT company won’t be selling as much of these days, is servers to customers (either on-premise or co-located) – because customers don’t want the expense or hassle.

Enter the Hosted Desktop. It’s a perfect value add for customer and IT companies alike!

It makes for a great IT solution for new prospects or customers that are keen to retire their on-premise servers and replace them with a cloud service. 

It may even help you retain a customer that was otherwise looking to move to the Cloud, whereby previously you didn’t have a compelling cloud service for them.

  1. Telephony service providers

We see our telephony reseller partners do well here mostly with the “cross-sell”. They often have a customer estate, which they’ve accumulated over the years, of many satisfied customers with whom they have built up a trusting relationship.

Quite often the customer may ask their trusted telephony provider whether they’re able to offer more support services, often in the form of IT services.

By reselling Hosted Desktop, of course, you could then satisfy such a request.

Now you’d be supplying them their telephony service and IT service, giving you a totally new revenue stream whilst being able to utilise your existing infrastructure (support team, accounting, legal, etc.). 

What’s more, Hosted Desktop can very neatly accommodate the customer’s telephony system, allowing for smart phone applications and integrations to work seamlessly.

  1. Software vendors

We’ve witnessed an emerging market for Hosted Desktop for software vendors in the past two years.

In many cases, software vendors have an awesome piece of software which already has an established customer take up, however the software doesn’t lend itself to being web based, i.e. operating via a web browser.

That said the software vendors are mindful that customers are disbanding their own servers in favour of operating within the Cloud. So how can software vendors offer a Cloud version of their software… By utilising a Hosted Desktop of course! 

The software vendor can now offer their software with a Cloud bolt-on for their customer. This means that not only is the customer liberated from needing to install their software “somewhere”, but things like backups and security are all part of their software service!

Even better, Hosted Desktop services allow you to offer a “published application” which means the end user doesn’t have a full desktop, which may be overkill for the use of one application. Instead the published application “streams” to any Windows PC, Mac, Chrome Book, etc. as if it was running locally on that PC, when in fact it’s operating within the Cloud.


2. No initial capital outlay

If you’re already a technology provider, you will know the expense attributed to enterprise IT infrastructure. A low grade server might start at ~£2k, a mid-range at ~£10k and a high-end anything up to ~£30k. A similar conversation plays out for firewalls; these can start at ~£200 but for a high-end unit can exceed £10k. 

It’s easy to see why customers are not terribly keen on harbouring their own servers these days!

However as a technology supplier, particularly if you’re an IT support company that is considering offering managed hosting (i.e. Hosted Desktop), it could be tempting to go DIY with it. The chances are you have some in-house expertise that could manage some of the technical elements too.

Whilst the DIY hosting approach might be tempting, it is worth knowing that there is a key difference between hosting a couple of customers on server equipment than hosting, potentially hundreds. The key thing is making the solution an “Enterprise” grade solution.

Customers nowadays are looking for service providers to supply uptime, performance, security, and backups at extremely high levels. All this at a competitive price point.

The only way this can be achieved is for that service provider to invest in the best of breed servers, firewalls, communications, backup equipment, software and of course – human resources. Then to get that price point down, it’s up to the service provider to get bums on seats, so they can offer economies of scale.

So put plainly, unless you are willing to heavily invest in infrastructure with a ready-to-go set of customers, it will be extremely tough to get the ball rolling and offer such a hosting service responsibly. 

But…that’s where becoming a reseller can help you out. 

By reselling an existing hosting partner’s infrastructure (such as Hosted Desktop services), the heavy up-front (and continual) investment is all taken care of. Yes, there’s arguably less margin in it for the reseller, but it’s negligible when you factor the lack of costs imposed on the reseller. 

It could be that you use a service provider to build up a critical mass of customers, before then deciding to maintain the hosting infrastructure yourself. Or like many of our reseller partners, stay as a reseller with minimal hassle whilst earning a good revenue stream!


3. Bring in an expert partner to manage the complex infrastructure

For any great service that exists, it’s often a sum of parts that are all working neatly together in harmony.

For example, take the world’s largest cruise liner, owned by Royal Caribbean; “Symphony of the Seas” 

There is no end of complexity and various components which make up the vessel. You have the engine room, the catering, the water/sewage system, the entertainment, the wheelhouse – and that’s just for starters. However, if you lose any of those critical components, the whole service fails.

That said, when all of these critical elements work well and cohesively, the end user often experiences a holiday of a lifetime.

But the key to the service is to appear like the swan. On the exterior there is an aura of calm, whilst under the surface there is a furious amount of work, skill and commitment involved to deliver the ultimate cruise liner experience.

This analogy is true of many themes in life, but never more so than a highly secure and well performing Hosting platform.

If you are an IT person reading this, you’ll recognise the many components involved in building a hosting platform, but for those less familiar, key items include:

  1. Server hardware
  2. Firewalls
  3. Backup systems
  4. Monitoring systems
  5. Internet circuits
  6. DNS mechanisms
  7. Data centre colocation
  8. Virtualisation platforms
  9. Disaster recovery practices

Delving deeper 

With regards to server hardware, items to continually manage include;

  1. Vendor/model selection
  2. Warranty periods
  3. Insurances
  4. Firmware/update patching
  5. Hardware spares/swap outs
  6. Hard disk encryption
  7. Depreciation

You could argue that by using public Cloud (e.g. AWS/Azure) you can move away from a lot of this self-management. This is true to an extent, but only an extent! You would only eliminate the server hardware aspect… The rest you would still need to provision and manage, albeit entirely virtually (e.g. a virtual firewall instead of a physical one).

Needless to say, it requires a lot of manpower and professional skills to get a platform working. Then, crucially, it needs continually managed and monitored. The watchwords are:

  1. Security
  2. Performance
  3. Reliability

This is where the difference is made between retaining customers or developing churn within your customer estate. Although customers generally do not want to move once they have their IT settled, if they have a hosting service that over time lets them down, they will eventually seek a new supplier.

So, coming back to my point, this is where having a hosting platform, that isn’t just good… but exquisite, makes all the difference.

And coming back to our cruise liner analogy, it is the experience, skill and commitment of the crew behind the scenes which make this difference.

Getting together with a superb hosting partner, with a great track record, will give your customers this first-class service.


4. Collaborate with partner on setup and implementations

When creating anything exceptional, the key to success lies within the planning and execution.

For example, if you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime 3-week tour of Asia, you will undoubtedly have the time of your life, but only if you carry out some key planning on aspects such as flights, visas, currencies, time zones, hotels, transfers, sightseeing, security and jabs. Before you know it, you have rather a list!

Some research time invested in each of these items can take a lot of the stress, hardships and pitfalls out of the equation, which will allow you to fully enjoy your trip and soak up every drop of fun from the experience.

Now whilst you may do a fine planning job on your own, what if you engaged a specialist tour agent to assist? Somebody that works exclusively on tours within Asia. Well the probability is that not only will they refine your trip and make it even more enjoyable, but they’ll probably save you some money too!

Such an agent can not only help you with the pre-planning, but they can also hook you up with a trusted guide when you’re on your trip. They’ll give you a shortcut to all the places to see and those to avoid. Furthermore, they’ll do this without smothering you, allowing you, the customer, to dial up/down their assistance to suit.

As a takeaway, you get maximum efficiency, safety, time and, importantly, enjoyment from your trip by engaging the tour specialist.

What does planning a trip to Asia have to do with a Hosted Desktop service?

Well there is significant similarity to the specialist support and advice that a good Hosted Desktop provider will supply.

You understand how important the IT is to your clients’ businesses. It’s often the beating heart. Without it running optimally, their offices, depots and accounting (their business!) can all come to a grinding halt.

You also know how complex their IT systems can be, often having been in place for many years, all delicately balanced! Therefore, to migrate it all from point A to point B (to a Hosted Desktop solution) takes careful planning, experience and poise. (See a recent blog post that we wrote on the subject!).

But one of the great things about partnering with a Hosted Desktop provider is that they will help you through the complex task of migrating your customers to a Hosted Desktop service.

Our welcome

By example, we welcome re-sellers into our offices for discussions and workshops on new or existing clients of theirs, whenever they need it. Sometimes it’s just a quick phone call when they have a potential prospect which they just want to talk through. Whether it’s discussion on such items as data migration, user account provisioning or airing customer security concerns, we pride ourselves on being there when our partners need us.

We don’t charge for this “consultancy” service as it’s purely helping our partners provide an excellent service for their customers. Which of course works in our favour as our partners then utilise more of our services. So all the boats rise together and, the best bit, it’s great fun!


5. Rely on a new virtual helpdesk for your own support team

As service providers, we know how important it is that we not only provide the primary service well (i.e. servers, telephony systems, software), but also the accompanying support service.

A good example of this is the automotive industry. It’s amazing how many consumers are steered by the warranty detail and aftercare support that a manufacturer offers. And who can blame them? They’re parting with their hard-earned cash and committing to a big purchase that they can’t easily undo if they need to. For them it’s mutual assurance that, should something go wrong, they’ll be taken care of and their product or service restored to good health.

With a Hosted Desktop service, it’s a similar concept to the point mentioned above. A customer that moves their business into the service is placing a large portion of their IT system (or all!) into this wonderful IT-system-in-a-box. It’s a major commitment for the business owner and not one whereby they can easily pivot to another supplier should the service or accompanying support fall flat. But this is a good thing for the Hosted Desktop provider that is supplying the system for the customers, as the customer, once in your tenure, won’t want to switch providers, unless they really need to. Provided that is, you can continuously supply them three critical elements:

  1. A great Hosted Desktop solution.
  2. An excellent support service.
  3. Competitive pricing.

Point number one we’ve already covered. But point number two is the support service element.

This is where your Hosted Desktop provider comes in – including you, the reseller. Put simply, the better we can support you, the better you can support your customers.

Again, to use ourselves as an example, we have a manned support desk 24/7/365 for any queries that you have surrounding our service to you. In many cases when your direct customer logs a support request (printer, software update, permissions, etc.), you will likely be able to triage it yourself. However on occasion you may need to escalate such a request up to us, the Hosted Desktop partner, and the speed/efficiency at which we respond to you can make all the difference in the eyes of your client.

This is why a good Hosted Desktop partner will put huge efforts into building a fantastic working relationship with your business, support colleagues and getting to understand your customers’ individual solutions.

We have found over the years that by building a strong relationship between both our own support team and our re-seller partners, the customer benefits from a tremendously good service. The cohesiveness between all parties is efficient, professional and highly enjoyable!


Summary

There’s no denying that Hosted Desktop is a hugely popular service and is so for good reason. It’s been trusted within corporations for over two decades. It’s been filtering its way into small & medium business for at least five years. Is it starting to show signs of aging? The reality is, No!

Businesses are retaining the concept even as more applications are becoming SaaS-based. The reason for this? Because business owners still love to have a base for all their data, users and applications.

We believe we’re going to see Hosted Desktop for years to come yet, especially as Microsoft and Citrix continue to hone the underlying architecture.

So as we see more and more businesses move to Cloud computing, and with that, Hosted Desktop, why not consider finding a great partner so that you too can offer the technology to your customers?

Keep in mind what it can offer your business: a new revenue stream, customer retention, service efficiency, to name but a few benefits!

We hope this article has been insightful. If you’d like to speak to us about our Hosted Desktop partner programme, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

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