Verizon Goes Geek Over SMBs
The Verizon IT Help Desk service addresses hardware and software issues. It's being sold in four flavors and billed on a monthly, per-user basis. (See Verizon, Geek Squad Team Up for SMBs.)
Verizon turned to the Geek Squad to be able to quickly start a service that provides whatever level of support that the employees of an SMB require, including everything from device assistance, PC repair, security, malware removal, applications support and troubleshooting, VPN assistance and backup and restore, depending on the level of service contracted. Verizon will even dispatch Geek Squad technicians to resolve issues onsite.
"This is designed for businesses that want to use sophisticated applications and devices but don't have an IT staff to support them," says Sorangel Borges-Canigiani, manager of product marketing and development, Medium Business Solutions for Verizon. That includes a broad swath of businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees, she adds, and potential customers don't have to be Verizon telecom customers to take advantage of the offer.
Employees of the business call directly into the Verizon IT Help Desk to get the assistance they need, depending on what level of support their company has chosen to buy.
Verizon is not the first telecom player to tap this market -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) actually jumped in four years ago with its AT&T Tech Support 360 service, which also offers IT support to SMBs. That service has been "extremely popular," says an AT&T spokesman, and has grown at a double-digit annual rate.
But cable operators aren't offering this kind of service yet, even though they are targeting SMBs to provide them with other services.
In the battle for SMBs, the ability to help a business adopt technology that can increase productivity and then keep that technology running smoothly is a competitive advantage.
In launching its service, Verizon cites IDC research estimating the SMB market for IT is worth almost US$542 billion in 2012, with much of that spent on software and services.
Verizon's IT Help Desk can include managing servers for a business as well, even cloud-based servers, Borges-Canigiani says.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading