BT’s ‘Time Share IT Manager’ May Pose Channel Threat

A new BT nationwide service for small and medium sized businesses that gives them the equivalent of their own IT manager at a fraction of the cost of employing one was launched this week and may pose a threat to channel players seeking to provide similar services to their customers. The service is only available via BT’s Local Business Partners.

With BT’s new Business IT Manager, an SME can pick and mix from a range of options and get a level of service to suit their business perfectly. This could range from advice over-the-phone, remotely running software applications and updates, to installing PCs or networks or providing a more complex long-term solution.

For example, a complete BT Business IT Manager package of PCs, a server and hardware, using equipment from leading suppliers such HP, Microsoft and Intel, and including installation and IT support, all set up and ready to use costs from £37 per user per month. SMEs can even choose BT’s flexible financing option, to reduce up front expenditure on IT.

The service offers a choice of support, including proactive monitoring and management of the customer’s network and equipment to fix problems before the customer is even aware of them. With this option, if the customer encounters a problem themselves, they call their BT named contact, part of a dedicated team of specialists in the UK. They will resolve the situation or send someone to the customer’s site that can.

BT says that ideally, small businesses would like the support of their own IT Manager, but they cannot always justify the investment. To keep the costs down they do what they can themselves, without specialised resource to manage increasingly complex systems. BT Business IT Manager now provides SMEs with a complete end-to-end service across both IT and communications.

Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business, said: “We’ve developed BT Business IT Manager especially for small and medium-sized businesses. It is critical for SMEs to invest in the right technology for their business, but many have their time stolen as they get drawn into IT management and maintenance. Now they can concentrate on managing their business while we manage the IT.

“The time is right for this, we have a large team of engineers in place ready to solve IT problems for businesses, many of whom are already working with SMEs, and we’ve had a great response in the areas where we’ve been piloting the service.”

The national launch of the service follows a successful pilot in 13 regions. Steve Eungblut, managing director of Sterling Chase, said: “I use IT Manager and I can’t speak highly enough of the quality of the support. Ten out of ten for a brilliant service from BT.”

By making the new service only available through its national network of 75 local businesses BT could be pressing the channel destruct button with Murphy adding, “Our Local Businesses are small businesses in their own right so that they understand exactly what their peers need, plus they have the strength of the BT brand and our extensive nationwide expertise behind them.”

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