The Quebec-based Canadian IT buying group has been moving beyond its traditional product focus to offer more service and solutions-focused services to its members, and has made its first foray into the RMM space with the selection of SolarWinds N-able as its preferred RMM vendor.
Millenium Micro, Canada’s largest IT buying group, which is based in Quebec but has reseller members across the country, has announced that it has named SolarWinds N-able as its preferred remote monitoring and management (RMM) vendor.
For SolarWinds N-able, the new relationship is a nice coup, for although most of their customers are outside Canada, and the 2013 acquisition of N-able by SolarWinds subsumed Ottawa-based N-able within an American company, its core operations remain Canadian based. The deal strengthens the vendor’s presence in the Canadian market.
For Millenium Micro, the deal may be even more significant, however. Since its formation in 2003, the buying group had been focused primarily on product, and securing the best pricing possible for their members as well as access to tools to help members use the products effectively. Beginning last year, however, Millenium Micro has been moving with the flow of the solution provider market in securing new solutions-focused partnerships for members. The SolarWinds N-able deal definitely falls into this category.
“We have been in existence for12 years and focused mainly on product agreements in the past on things like laptops and monitors,” said Marco Michaud, Millenium Micro’s Vice President. “Our VARs said we should move to adding new service and solution agreements, and last year our focus was on cloud for this reason. This year, they asked for managed services, but they wanted the right deal with the right tools.”
The deal, which is Millenium Micro’s first with a RMM provider, makes the SolarWinds N-able N-central 10 platform.
“Last year, we organized a committee with 15 members to decide what they wanted us to recommend,” Michaud said. “We talked with 5-6 vendors in that market. SolarWinds N-able being Canadian-based was not the main factor, but it was a factor. What was really significant was that members liked their tools, and especially their onboarding processes. The committee was emphatic that good tools are a key to success in this space.”
Millenium Micro members who sign up with Solarwinds N-able will receive the vendor’s standard business building resources available in on-boarding, including their Managed Services Playbook, MSP Business and Technicians Runbooks and Blueprint for Success program. Millenium Micro has secured some benefits which go beyond that standard partnership as well.
“We have special pricing for our members, and some of the tools they make available for their resellers will be available to members at a better cost,” he said. “This will include the ability to help members get their reports in French.”
Members will also be able to take part in a one-week managed services boot camp hosted by SolarWinds N-able and Millenium Micro two weeks from now in Toronto.
“It is a full week of training on how to be a successful MSP, with three days being specifically on the N-able content,” Michaud said.
Millenium Micro’s membership reflects its Quebec roots, although they have been aggressively pushing west for over four years in recent years and now have a cross-Canada presence.
“Of our 269 members, 145 are in Quebec,” Michaud said. They are also fairly strong in the Maritime provinces compared to the number of IT solution providers there.
“The core role of a buying group is using its buying power to obtain a better price, and we do that, but we do more than that too,” Michaud said. “We build strong relationships with our vendor partners, to build a box of tools to make our resellers successful. We also build our own marketing tools like Christmas flyers and two SMB VAR guide magazines partners can use in their markets to show their expertise.”
Millenium Micro also works with a select number of vendor partners.
“We don’t just sign up anyone who asks,” he said. “We avoid signing competitive vendors, although in major segments like PCs we work with more than one – but not all of them – so that we can deliver volume to them. In PCs, we work with Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and ASUS, and also work with multiple monitor vendors. In niche markets like monitoring tools, we try to work with only one vendor.”
Michaud indicated that while many of their resellers are smaller, not all are.
“We have small dealer members with 3-4 technicians and 1-2 salespeople, but we have also some of the biggest VARs in Canada, because they see the value of what we bring, maybe not so much for one specific agreement, but working with them broadly on marketing and training. While some members do less than one million in business a year and some do more than 50 million a year, the most common is resellers doing 1-2 million.”
Michaud noted that relatively few of their resellers are in the RMM market right now, so many are in a position to benefit from the SolarWinds N-able deal.
“Canada is behind the U.S. in this space, and Quebec is late in it compared to most of the rest of Canada,” he said. “A lot of our members want to get into managed services, but they don’t know how.”