IBM is expanding its technical support services to cover SMB customers that need to provide IT support services to their clients.
The new Managed Vendor Support Services (MVSS) offer channel partners an additional way to support their SMB customers.
IBM already provides similar technical support services for its bigger customers, including field support, remote support and even parts logistics. While many of the services are centered on IBM IT products, the services are all-encompassing and cover IT from other vendors, said Juli Jotwani, IBM vice president of multi-vendor services.
A lot of smaller companies "don't want to make the investment" in hiring and training personnel needed to provide comprehensive IT services, Jotwani said.
"We can help our customers expand their reach into new markets."
The technical services group is part of IBM Global Technology Services and has resources in 209 countries.
One company already using the Managed Vendor Support Services is Riverbed Technology, which specialises in network performance and relies on IBM's field services operations to provide its customers with technical support services.
Jotwani also cited a small California company that wanted to enter the Hong Kong market but lacked the ability to provide technical support services there. Other customers include kiosk manufacturers that sell their products to airlines and healthcare companies.
Small solution providers can utilise IBM as a subcontractor to support their customers, essentially "reselling" the IBM offerings, Jotwani said. That allows the partners to focus on their specific areas of expertise and leave broader support services to IBM.
"This will optimise opportunities for some solution providers," she said.
IBM holds the contract with the end-customer receiving the service, although it can provide the services under the customer's brand, Jotwani said.