For the better part of a decade now, Intel has been making the case for using vPro processor technology inside devices to make them both easier to manage and more secure. It’s taken a while, but Intel now claims that a large percentage of the PCs deployed inside most organizations have turned vPro on. With this week's launch of the 6th Gen Intel Core vPro processor, Intel is aiming to turn on the rest.
Tom Garrison, general manager for Intel’s Business Client Unit, explained that one of the reasons Intel expects IT organizations to embrace devices based on 6th Gen Intel Core vPro processors is that the company has gone to significant pains to make it simpler to deploy, manage, and authenticate devices that have vPro turned on.
Over the years, Intel has made progress with MSPs at the higher end of the market that needed to manage endpoints at such a level of scale that it didn’t matter how difficult vPro functionality was to invoke. But MSPs in the SMB space don’t typically have excess engineering resources to throw at vPro. As next generation systems come to market, however, Garrison is betting that significantly more MSPs and their customers will be turning Intel vPro on.
How upgrades help MSPs
Of course, MSPs will only benefit from this additional simplicity if their customers are willing to upgrade to systems based on 6th Gen Intel Core vPro processors. For many MSPs, that begs an interesting question. Devices that use vPro are less expensive to support and manage, so it’s in the best interest of MSPs to encourage customers to upgrade. In fact, it’s so beneficial that MSPs might very well consider giving customers a discount on their services if they upgrade. After all, an organization that turns on vPro should, at least theoretically, cost an MSP less to support because many of the services required can be proactively delivered via vPro. In contrast, devices that don’t support vPro will probably require more onsite support, which is certainly more expensive to deliver.
Naturally, not every customer will have an appetite to upgrade its device portfolio in 2016. But that difference in upgrade appetite could prove telling for MSPs. An organization that is not aggressively trying to stay current on devices is going to be more costly to support. In fact, some MSPs write contracts in a way that makes it more expensive for customers to use their service if they don’t upgrade.
At the end the day, the difference between the profitability of one MSP and another often comes down to their approach to IT maintenance and support. If MSPs focus on eliminating the need to make calls to the help desk in the first place, the chances of maintaining a profitable MSP business are much higher. In fact, one MSP might provide a superior help desk experience but not be nearly as profitable as another MSP that focuses more on preventing that call to the help desk from ever happening in the first place.
MSPs that prevent those calls from happening have to make sure they can still demonstrate their value to the end customer. But when all is said and done, that old saw about a stitch (update) in time saving nine (calls) still applies equally well to both sewing and modern IT.