Thursday, May 31, 2007

Evolving Managed Service: Growth For Business Networks and Home Computer Users

How people tend to their computer networks is constantly evolving in this new century. As computers and networks get more powerful, they get more complex as well, and most small businesses eventually understand that their IT assets require full-time professional attention. The two following pieces from the Web this week demonstrate how pervasive computer issues are for both home users (more than 50 million are hit by viruses, spyware or spam!) and businesses. As the report from India indicates, however, the IT managed service world is rapidly evolving in a way that will only enhance the performance of computer networks and make for more satisfied technology users.

From CEPro

Consumers Will Pay for Managed Services, Research ShowsBy Julie Jacobson
Managed service is a big buzzterm in the commercial IT business. It refers to the ongoing diagnostics, maintenance and other PC/networking services offered by IT providers for a recurring fee.

These providers may charge a regular monthly fee for services such as automatic backup, virus protection and software patches. Or they may sell blocks of time for customers to use their tech support -- on a discounted basis -- as needed. The concept has not yet caught on in the home, but companies like OfficeMax are trying to push it.

Will it catch on? Parks Associates interviewed more than 6,000 North American Internet users to determine how they would buy PC services. The Dallas-based research firm found that approximately two-thirds of consumers prefer ad hoc in-home services versus a consistent monthly subscription for regular IT support.
Approximately 40 percent of consumers would prefer to pay $100 or less per in-home incident.
Still, prospects are high for certain categories of managed services. For example, 8 percent of Internet users are interested in an online storage/backup service, and 20 percent of these high intenders are willing to pay $15 per month for such a service.

Content backup is not the biggest concern for consumers though. Home Internet users are most likely to have home technology problems related to Internet security issues (viruses, spyware and spam). More than 51 million North American households reported such problems.
For most PC-related issues, consumers try to fix the problem themselves, but if that fails, they are most likely to contact their ISP or a friend or family member for technical support.
ISPs and friends/family get a call from 24 percent of PC households when it comes to Internet security, but 12 percent of challenged households did ultimately use a professional service.
For hardware/software issues, ISPs tied with friends and family again, getting the tech-support call from 27 percent of respondents. Professional service providers prevailed 17 percent of the time.

Finally, PC users with networking problems contacted their ISP 34 percent of the time and friends and family 31 percent. Some 15 percent solved the problem (or tried to) with a software fix, but 18 percent gave up and hired a pro.

KitRx Managed IT Services for Small Business