I don’t blame dealers who have decided that offering customers IT services is not for them one bit, or maybe I should say one byte. At the same time, I credit dealers that have added an IT component to their business, whether or not they’ve succeeded. Plenty of dealers have tried and failed, some totally abandoning IT, while others took a break, learned from previous mistakes, rebooted, and improved the second time around.
The more I learn about IT services, the more I realize that, like with production print, not everyone can play the game. It takes financial resources to get into the business, the ability to deal with the different mindset of IT personnel, and the patience to build the business and sometimes tear it apart and rebuild.
In our Annual Dealer Survey, we ask respondents who offer managed IT services if a) they built their own, b) partnered, c) acquired, or some combination of the three. It still surprises me that year in, and year out, the most popular way to get into IT services is to build your own. I would think that’s the most challenging.
Many of us recall the days before managed IT was an option for dealers. Those were the days before digital copiers and networked devices. Once things went digital and devices were connected to a network, everything changed, and yes, everything became more complicated, at least for a while. But just because devices are digital and the dealer can connect the devices they sell to a customer’s network, should they also offer a full menu of IT services?
Saying that might sound odd in an issue with a managed IT theme. However, I’ve spoken with plenty of dealers that are not enamored with managed IT. It doesn’t matter how many potential partners are out there with the expertise to handle the heavy lifting; they want no part of IT. And just because you don’t offer managed IT, it doesn’t mean your dealership is irrelevant. No need to dig a managed IT money pit if you’re not invested in making IT work for you and your customers.
For readers not yet offering managed IT and wondering if it’s too late to get started now, many of the players in the space contend it isn’t. Whether you offer IT services or are sitting on the fence, this issue contains an array of IT-related content. If you prefer to sit on the sidelines, perhaps these articles will inspire you to enter the space or validate your decision to stay out of IT. As is the case in these matters, the decision is yours.
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