For many MSPs with an SMB clientele, modifying complex enterprise systems, such as CRM or data warehousing, is a critical service offering. However, as demonstrated by the experience of specialty SaaS provider AppRiver, there is also a significant market for managed services and cloud services aimed at helping SMBs adapt more basic solutions to their specific needs.

AppRiver, a provider of email messaging and Web security solutions, has also introduced Microsoft Office 365-related services to SMB customers. AppRiver credits high interest from SMB customers for driving a 95% trial-conversion rate for its syndicated Office 365 offering. On a monthly fee basis, customers can obtain secure access to the complete Office 365 suite, without making any upfront software investment, and also automatically receive all updates. Add-ons include 24-hour customer support, complementary migration, and access to control panels.

Leave No Stone Unturned

The purpose of highlighting AppRiver’s success with marketing its managed Office365 service to SMBs is not to serve as an advertisement. Rather, it is to demonstrate to MSPs that while building customized SMB service offerings around enterprise systems is still an important part of their business, they should not overlook valuable opportunities with more basic systems.

It is also informative to look at AppRiver’s delivery of Office 365 via the cloud. While the cloud has received a great deal of attention as an ideal means for storing massive volumes of data or hosting systems that would otherwise require a costly physical infrastructure, the cloud is also an ideal means of hosting more basic technology, such as Office 365.

And while AppRiver does not appear to be offering mobile services, mobile-enablement of basic solutions is another area where MSPs can provide added value to SMBs trying to make the most of their solutions investments. Furthermore, AppRiver’s inclusion of managed services built around security, 24-hour customer support, and user dashboards are all invaluable to SMBs who probably have limited in-house resources to dedicate to these types of IT functions.

The final major benefit of offering more basic managed services to SMBs, like AppRiver’s Office 365 service, is that even the smallest companies need to implement some type of business software suite to provide features such as email, instant messaging, and document and contact management. But a lot of companies, especially SMBs, find a way to do without solutions that manage customer relationships or classify and store terabytes of data.