Synnex MSPs Pursue $100 Million Managed Services Opportunity

New, confirmed details about the Synnex managed services channel strategy have finally emerged. The distributor is working closely with MSPs and VARs to pursue one million freemium managed nodes and a mid-market opportunity of at least $100 million. The catch: MSPs need to leverage the freemium software nodes by end of 2011. Confirmed partners in the Synnex managed services effort include Axcient, Intronis, Level Platforms, Symantec and Reflexion. Here’s the scoop.

At the Synnex Varnex conference in Boston today, dozens of VARs and MSPs have been discussing the Synnex ServiceSolv effort — which involves:

  • ProSvc (professional services);
  • FieldSvc (field services); and
  • ManagedSvc (the managed services piece).

Within the ServiceSolv, Synnex is pushing a Lifecycle Management Program (LCMP) for VARs and MSPs pushing into the midmarket (customer engagements with 100 seats or more). The information below comes from VARs and MSPs who have been discussing the Synnex LCMP effort…

Synnex Managed Services: Freemium and More

The LCMP effort — let’s just call it Synnex Freemium Managed Services for VARs and MSPs — includes…

1. Remote Monitoring and Management: This piece comes from a Level Platforms deployment hosted in Synnex’s Greenville, S.C., data centers. The Level Platforms system includes some customizations. In addition to monitoring servers, PCs and mobile devices, this particular Level Platforms deployment includes warranty capabilities. Roughly 95% of the deployments are hosted by Synnex, though some MSPs prefer to deploy Level Platforms within their own premise.

Another interesting twist: Synnex is offering VARs and MSPs one million free Level Platforms nodes. The freemium offer is good for a year, and includes some base-level monitoring capabilities. But the freemium nodes have to be deployed by the close of 2011.

2. Storage Management, Online Backup and Recovery: This piece comes from Axcient and/or Intronis.

I don’t have deep details details on the Axcient component — though it sounds like Synnex-Axcient are countering the Zenith Infotech BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) platform.

Also, the Synnex-Intronis details are coming to light. Intronis, as part of a freemium program with Synnex, offers channel partners 100 gigabytes of free storage in the cloud. Once MSPs or VARs push beyond the 100 gigabyte level, the channel partners are moved to a paid 250 gigabyte cloud storage plan.Intronis has data centers in Massachusetts and California

3. Anti-Spam and Email Security: As part of the Synnex freemium strategy, Reflexion is offering MSPs free hosted email security without the content filtering layer (that’s an extra cost). Deeper details are at

  • What’s free: The freemium piece includes RBL Protection; checking for known users on incoming mail; and scanning for viruses.
  • What’s paid: The paid add-ons include Check Allow List, Check Block List, Address on the Fly, Check Permitted Language, Check Permitted Countries, Heuristics/IP Reputation and Bayesian Filtering.

4. Anti-Virus: Provided by Symantec in a monthly service provider model. Also of note: Symantec and Level Platforms seem to be spending more time together lately…

5. Network Operations Center and Help Desk: The NOC, owned and operated by Synnex, is located in Manila, Philippines. All NOC employees speak English as a first language and report into Synnex’s Greenville, S.C., offices.

6. PSA Software: To be extra clear PSA software is not built into the Synnex offering. However, the Synnex solution integrates with both Autotask and ConnectWise. Plus, it sounds like selected Synnex channel partners are beta testing an integration between Autotask and VARStreet (a product sourcing platform that Autotask acquired in 2010).

The $100 Million Opportunity

Synnex is using some interesting math to describe the managed services market opportunity. It goes like this…

  • Roughly 45 percent of the systems so far linked to the Synnex-Level Platforms service are at least four- to five-years old.
  • If MSPs refresh all of those servers and workstations, it’s a $500 million opportunity, according to Synnex math.
  • But if MSPs shoot for a more conservative 20 percent refresh rate, it’s a $100 million opportunity for Synnex and channel partners.

I’m not endorsing the math — just simply sharing it.

Partner Commitments

In order for Synnex partners to participate in the managed services freemium effort, the MSPs and VARs need to…

1. Have a dedicated sales lead that must participate in:

  • scheduled bi-weekly calls with a Synnex services manager;
  • a regional workshop;
  • hybrid VAR/MSP sales peer group; and
  • online forums.

2. Have a dedicated technical lead that must participate in:

  • orientation;
  • assisted installs;
  • weekly reporting on deployments; and
  • online forums.

Sales Development

Synnex is assisting MSPs with sales development for potential customer engagements with 100 seats or more. Once a Synnex MSP achieves 4,000 managed nodes, Synnex has promised to host an executive dinner for that channel partner. The Synnex-funded executive dinner includes:

  1. Synnex managing the call downs to target attendees;
  2. confirmation of up to 20 target customers as attendees;
  3. resources for dinner presentations; and
  4. additional market research and findings to assist MSPs with their messaging.

No doubt, gatherings like lunch-and-learns and executive dinners can drive sales leads. But marching towards 4,000 managed nodes is no small task, so that’s a pretty lofty hurdle VARs and MSPs will need to clear in order to earn the free dinner.

Competitive Market

Of course, Synnex isn’t the first distributor to launch a managed services partner program for VARs and MSPs. For instance, the Ingram Micro Seismic partner effort has existed for several years. Also, Ingram in November unveiled the Ingram Micro Cloud effort. I expect plenty of updates from Ingram Micro at the VentureTech conference in Chicago this week.

Synnex has spent more than a year developing a counter-strategy to Seismic. The Synnex effort included recruiting former MSP Services Network CEO Amy Luby and former ARRC Technology Service Coordinator Brian Freistat to Synnex. At present, it sounds like the Synnex freemium managed services effort focuses on the U.S. midmarket opportunity, with potential Canada coverage coming soon.

Lingering Challenges

The new Synnex efforts sound promising. But it’s clear the MSP opportunity remains challenging for many VARs and resellers attending Synnex Varnex. Though there are seasoned MSPs attending the conference, some attendees are still trying to understand basic MSP requirements like pricing and compensation models; PSA and RMM software; and NOC requirements.