Having exited the consumer market in Canada, Toshiba is beefing up their B2B offerings, and has partnered with Brampton managed services provider IT Weapons to provide what will be a growing package of services and support.
Toshiba’s Digital Products Group has launched a portfolio of managed services aimed at medium to large companies across Canada. To provide the services and support they have turned to Brampton-based IT Weapons and their strong managed services practice. Initially, the services will fall into four bucket areas, but as Toshiba ramps up their expertise in selling services, more complex services will be added in subsequent phases of the partnership.
Toshiba’s Digital Products Group handles a variety of solutions-focused offerings.
“We have exited the consumer market in Canada, so we are strengthening our B2B offerings,” said Alex Mourra, Solutions Program Manager at Toshiba of Canada. “Toshiba has been device-focused in the past, but times have changed, and we need to offer more value to our customers, and offer a complete solution to people who need that.”
Digital signage solutions fit into this group, as does an endpoint management software offering. They also have a Complete Computing offering, which provides hardware software and services, and is targeted at small businesses.
The new Toshiba IT Services, Powered by IT Weapons, are aimed at larger companies than the Complete Computing offering, with Mourra saying the target market is medium and larger companies.
He also stressed that they definitely did their due diligence in their search for a provider. IT Weapons has been in managed services for 13 years, with three data centres across Canada, and with support centralized in their Brampton Service Centre of Excellence. They provide Canada-wide coverage to clients from these facilities, and have American customers as well. The U.S. accounts for about eight per cent of their revenues.
“We did our homework, and looked at several companies out there,” Mourra said. “IT Weapons has been in the managed services business for years, and has won tons of awards. They are one of the top ranked service provider companies in North America, and their data centres are located here in Canada.”
Toshiba will take the lead in selling the new services – but will receive significant assistance from IT Weapons.
“Our site has a lot of traffic, and it will be key for us,” Mourra said. “There will be lots of information about the products there. Our inside sales team will sell them, and we have feet on the street for that. We also can work to our current account base.”
While Toshiba has an experienced inside sales team, they do not, however, have much experience selling managed services, and so IT Weapons will be helping out on that end.
“We have been working on a sales training program for the last couple of months,” said Ted Garner, IT Weapons’ CEO. “It is always a challenge to teach product-oriented people to sell services. Toshiba has a strong sales force, and some of them have been selling products for 20 years a certain way. They do not have much background in selling services, however. That contrasts with our own focus on building a service execution machine, without needing a large sales team. That makes it a good fit, a win-win for the two companies. We did a big kickoff with them last month, gave them a lot of training in selling services, and laid out the program, as it will work over the next year.”
IT Weapons will follow up the initial training with further assistance to Toshiba’s sales force in the initial stages of their partnership.
“Phase one is about identifying leads, and doing initial meetings – and we will be doing sales calls together,” Garner said. “There is a certain amount of complexity in selling services and we will have to help them with that at first. This truly is a team effort.” As the Toshiba people get comfortable selling services, they will take over the sales entirely.
The available Toshiba services in this first stage will fall into four general buckets: Cloud Services; Data Protection Services; Managed IT services; and Security Services. Garner indicated, however, that as Toshiba acquires more familiarity with managed services, and the complexity of some of the more advanced offerings, additional service offerings will be added.
“At the start, we put together the products that were easiest to ramp up and train for,” Garner said. “Once they get more comfortable selling these phase one products, we will get into phase two and phase three, with services that require more complexity and knowledge. That will ramp up over time.”
The Cloud Services package includes complete end-to-end IT services like application servers, storage, and networks provided on a utility model for a flat monthly fee. Data Protection Services are a fully managed and monitored disk-based backup solution that provides both backup and disaster recovery. The Security Services include vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, configuration audits and compliance audits as well as core protection against malware, phishing and other threats. Finally, the Managed IT Services include 24/7 system monitoring, on-site consulting support, ITIL Certified technical support, alert notification, and reporting.
“This is a really good fit, and we have a good trust relationship with the Toshiba executives,” Garner said. “I feel this will be a very good partnership for us both.”