When you consider the number of platitudes that channel executives tend to throw around about their support for the channel and the actual amount of vendor support there is for managed services today, you cant help but wonder if most of the vendors really are that clueless or just cant seem to get out of their own way to actually do something meaningful.
The lack of vendor support for solution providers that have embraced the managed services business model is being brought into sharp relief after Cisco last month formally announced its managed services program.
To its credit, the Cisco program is more thought-out than anything else out there from the rest of the vendor community, so you should probably expect to see every major vendor crib aspects of the program. But it still took Cisco the better part of two years to build out a program, by which time the company discovered that the managed services model had already taken hold across a broad swath of its base of channel partners.
In the meantime, the only other vendors beyond the purveyors of specific managed services platforms such as Level Platforms and N-Able that have been actively helping solution providers embrace managed services have been distributors such as Ingram Micro; IBM; printer vendors such as Lexmark and Xerox; and, to a lesser degree, security vendors such as SonicWall, McAfee and Symantec.
There has also been some lukewarm support for the concept from Microsoft, mostly in the form of press releases about statements of future directions, and Intel, in the form of white papers about the value of its V-Pro management technology. But by and large the rest of the vendor and distributor channel community, including Hewlett-Packard, AMD, Oracle, Juniper, Nortel, EMC, Tech Data and Arrow, have all remained pretty much mute on the subject.