The Bundled-Solutions Business Model
Grouping products or services together and selling them as ‘a complete package’ is a common strategy used heavily in the media industry. It entices consumers to buy more, to buy several things which they don’t actually need (like that 500-channel cable subscription your Aunt Mabel is paying through the roof for).
Later, when computers, telephones, and the internet become household staples, telecom businesses used this very strategy to gain a monopoly on their consumers and sell their clients’ telephone, cable, and internet bundled together. Both these industries still use these sales techniques today with much success.
Modern services such as Amazon Prime and iTunes are on the other end of the spectrum, however, giving users the option to buy exactly what they want - such as a single song or episode - rather than the whole album or TV series.
Bundled-Solutions in IT
IT service providers like Mustard IT strike a balance between these two extremes and offer users the ability to choose from different IT support packages that aptly fit all their needs. SME’s have a variety of digital requirements, however many of them are common between businesses of the same size.
Technologies such as web hosting, asset and inventory management systems, and local networking solutions are common to both small and large businesses. The main difference between a large and small business lies in the complexity of the solution they are using. SME's can usually use ‘off-the-shelf solutions’ while larger companies often resort to a custom-made bespoke solution to cater to their specific demands.
Bundled support services allow users to get support for all (or their most-used) services. Rather than having a separate specialist for each task, one support provider can handle all necessary requirements.
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic,many businesses have closed their offices and currently work remotely. In fact, many software vendors are adding services to their main software such as video conferencing, file sharing, and group communication tools to better supply these businesses with all the tools they need to continue succeeding. This, in turn, makes it easier for clients to use the software, as they have the solutions within one window.
Similarly, cloud computing solutions offer SME's the ability to use a variety of services through one vendor to cater to the majority of - if not all - their business needs.
Through the diverse types of cloud computing options - such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) - businesses can access a mix of both hardware and software to carry out their work tasks. Common applications such as web conferencing tools, email, project management software, and e-commerce solutions can all be found under one ‘bundled’ umbrella.
Moreover, when it’s time to scale up, any business can stay with the same service providers for support, as it’s very easy to scale up or down using cloud services. Unsurprisingly, cloud services are very cost-effective and don't require a large upfront payment like most machine-specific software; rather, they often implement a monthly billing system which can be paid yearly to receiveadiscount.
3 Types of Bundled IT Services
When considering a bundled IT support service, consumers have a choice between three types of IT support: remote services, onsite services, and scheduled Services.
As the name suggests, this is a support service in which the IT technician isn’t physically present in the office to help manage a problem. The IT technician communicates with the machine(s) through a web-based portal. Remote services are a great solution for businesses that have more than one location. It eliminates the need for each office to find a local IT specialist and, if it’s a single technician, they don’t need to travel to each location individually.
In doing so, the other main benefit of remote support services is that they are nearly instant. As soon as a problem happens, a technician can get started on the problem through the online portal rather than physically travelling to the location in person.
In this manner, each branch of the business enjoys the benefit of being helped with the same level of skill and ability no matter where the problem occurs. Furthermore, remote support services are considerably cheaper than onsite services, and many remote support service providers also have ‘round-the-clock remote support, which further helps businesses by reducing the amount of downtime they experience.
On the other hand, remote support doesn't allow the company and the technician to develop a face-to-face connection, and the technician doesn't have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the system in place at a particular office.
It's quite possible that a new technician may be handling every new complaint call,so it may take them a little while longer to understand the situation and familiarize themselves with what happened previously.
Most importantly, remote support can be limited if the machine or entire office has connectivity problems; without an internet connection, remote support isn't possible. Therefore, remote support isn’t a suitable choice for situations where connectivity can be limited.
Onsite support can either be remote onsite support - in which a technician visits the facility in the case something goes wrong - or it can be dedicated onsite support in which a technician visits the facility every day for a certain number of hours.
Onsite support can be more expensive, but it does have its advantages, as having a person physically present gives the technician greater access than an online application or portal. Through the time that the technician spends at a particular site, they can become familiarized with the system, its users, and the problems that keep happening. By continuously monitoring the system and educating users about how to use the system properly, they can keep it in peak operating condition. Onsite support staff can help a company stay clear of a problem entirely rather than needing to fix something after it breaks or fails.
The main limitations of onsite support services are the costs. Onsite support can also be available 24/7, but every service provider doesn’t offer this solution - and the ones that do aren’t cheap.
For those looking for a top-of-the-line service, having a scheduled support service is the answer.
Through a scheduled support program, a client not only receives both remote and onsite support, but also routine visits by a qualified systems engineer to keep an eye on overall system health. This is a more proactive approach and - rather than waiting for a problem to happen - the aim of this type of support is to never let a client face any downtime by managing weak points in the system before they develop into a problem.
This will most likely be costlier than both earlier forms of support, but for businesses who value system longevity and require top business performance, this is a very wise investment.