Management Service Provider NetSolve Inc. on Tuesday launched a bundled pricing option intended to simplify the buying process.
NetSolves move to offer a package of services under a single monthly charge is unique among MSPs, but its not a surprise.
"There is so much complexity in just pricing the services you need a slide rule to calculate everything," said Eric Goodness, industry analyst at Gartner in Lowell, Mass. The single pricing bundle is about "trying to make the services a lot more understandable to the general public," he added.
NetSolve has created five different bundles that combine desktop, asset, server, security, LAN and WAN management services.
For example, one bundle geared for a small office at a remote site provides management of a router, LAN switch server and five desktops for $400 per month. Take away the server and that same bundle is priced at $300 per month. Add firewall IOS management to the first bundle: $495 per month.
NetSolve officials acknowledged the difficulty prospective customers are having with the complex pricing structures in the MSP space.
"Weve heard it from prospects and from industry analysts and weve seen some pricing from the competition. It becomes very difficult if it is totally unbundled to understand what [the service] really costs," said Craig Tysdal, president and CEO of the Austin, Texas, firm. "If you have to go through a 10 or 15 page RFP to find the price, that elongates the process and provides the opportunity for customer dis-satisfaction," he added.
Both the desktop and server management components in the bundled pricing are brand new to the NetSolve ProWatch suite of managed network services.
The asset tracking is accomplished using an agent downloaded into each managed desktop. The agent gathers inventory data on the machines and tracks any changes, then forwards the data to ProWatch servers at NetSolves facility. Customers access their asset data via the ProWatch Exchange portal.
The new server management option for ProWatch provides monitoring, fault management asset management on the server, and problem resolution. The next release of the service will add performance management reporting. Both are available now.
Industry analyst Corey Ferenguy, who sees the bundled pricing as "yet another wrinkle in the packaging" offered by MSPs, believes the move signals a maturation of the selective outsourcing business model.
"The same thing is happening in the ASP market. The models arent dead. Maturity will help them go forward," said Ferengul of Meta Group in Chicago, Ill. Vendors are coming to the realization that what theyre really doing is outsourcing," he added.