3 Key Themes for MSPs in a Cloud World

If you run a business in the IT channel, no doubt you’re facing dramatic changes on all sides: new technologies and delivery models that transform your relationship with customers; economic uncertainty that threatens to choke off vital revenue streams; and emerging competitors from inside the traditional IT market and beyond.

Here’s a couple of quotes which caught my attention recently:

Cloud computing will lead to a 12% to 15% decrease in channel companies within the next five years as more end customers turn to their vendors for cloud technologies and services and leave their partners behind, new research by Forrester warned.

Whether you call it an evolution, transformation or transition, today’s solution providers are facing one of the most critical junctures since they shifted from product-centric models to services-based models more than a decade ago. Traditional VARs are morphing into new entities, while entirely new solution provider models arrive on the scene daily – by Robert C. Demarzo, Senior Vice President, Strategic Content, Everything Channel.

The Cloud Shift is here and it’s a train and that’s why it’s critical for service providers to set out their plans for the next 3 to 5 years now. This particularly applies to MSPs and especially if you don’t have a good range of differentiated services up and beyond what customers will be able to buy directly.

As ConnectWise’s CEO Arnie Bellini says, we’ve moved from “the last mile” down to “the last yard” in protecting the ground of the MSP. With all the flack and movement of “cloud” it’s sometimes hard to see through the haze.

Here are three thoughts on how MSPs can sustain the transition to cloud:

  1. Help your customers plan their cloud deployments;
  2. Help them integrate their cloud deployments; and,
  3. Help them monitor their cloud deployments.

They may seem counterintuitive in that the last thing an MSP might want to do is help migrate customers away. But on the contrary, being on the front foot with the customer will open up new paths, and also allow you to see what services you are currently providing which you need to re-boot or delete.

There are large potential markets in remote and cloud monitoring, in managing hybrid clouds, in overall cloud sign-on and security, and especially in data integration. For example Dell’s recent acquisition of Boomi, which I wrote about here 2 hidden gems in Dell’s acquisition of Boomi. Dell understands the value of the data integration in building out its cloud offers. By the way you can have your on-premise data integration from IBM’s Cloudburst Appliance, as compared to Boomi’s pure SaaS model.

Underlying all this transition, and the ability to defend the last yard, is your customer relationships, and that’s another opportunity for another post. The key thing is to think about how to transition your business, with suitable risk management, from the assets and skills you have today into the value which will be in demand from your customers tomorrow.

At NewLease we’re scanning the market for new services to distribute to you which will fill roles in the cloud scenario above, so stay tuned.

What are the major “cloud challenges” that you face right now, and in 12 months time?

How do you see “the last yard” playing out between vendor-direct and MSPs?

What cloud service do you think will be most in demand from your customers overt the next 18 months?

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About Walter Adamson

Call me (AU) +61 403 346 632 Follow me @adamson My social web: http://xeeme.com/walter Linked: http://linkedin.com/in/adamson
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