Are You a Next-Generation MSP?

I speak with managed service providers (MSPs) every week, all over the world. One thing they have in common is their desire to please their customers while protecting their existing—often personal—investments in their business. But what does it take to become a next-generation MSP?

For my first blog on Business Partner Voices, I want to share five immediate steps you can use to start transforming your company today:

1.      Assess how your company is different from the MSP down the street. Where are your profits based? Will you have to compete on price in a few years, or are you already starting to compete on price now?

2.      Take your existing service lines into the cloud. Managed storage is an easy example, enabling business continuity capability or the creation of a disaster recovery service. Or if you’re not looking to make an additional investment, go software-as-a-service to match your cash flow. Your clients are ready for the cloud—are you?

3.      Focus on new buyers such as CMOs, CFOs and CPOs. C-level executives now control 50 percent of enterprise IT spend—but what do they care about most? Train your sales force to sell cloud solutions that minimize your risk and complement your service catalog—for example, by white-labeling IBM SmartCloud® for Social Business to accompany your Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) and Patch Management services.

4.      Invest in next-generation systems and storage. To be a next-generation MSP, you must be able to spin-up client applications and new services to the cloud in minutes, not days. Ensure those systems are based on software so you can be flexible and autonomic, adapting your expense equation to client workloads and business cycles.

5.      Partner with ISVs. Think about the sea change that every on-premise independent software vendor (ISV) is facing. They need help—and you need to be their trusted advisor on that journey. Your reward will be further differentiation based on their customer base and an annuity stream from the services you provide to them.

Visit the MSP Summit at the IBM Edge conference

Are you planning to attend the IBM Edge conference in Las Vegas? You should. On June 11-12, 2013, over 200 MSPs, ISVs, resellers, system integrators and distributors will gather at the MSP Summit held at IBM Edge. Two prominent IBM executives kick off the agenda. You’ll be hearing key insights from:

  • Andy Monshaw, General Manager, IBM® PureFlex™ Systems
  • Deepak Advani, General Manager, IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure

Plus, they’ll be joined by these industry speakers:

  • Joe Panettieri, MSP Mentor
  • Robert Faletra, CEO of UBM Channel

What do you think is a next-generation MSP? Come to the MSP Summit and listen to your peers and industry experts share their points of view. Or network with the thousands of clients at IBM Edge and ask them what they think and how MSPs can play a bigger role in their businesses. Best of all, registration fees are waived for MSPs—just submit this nomination form!

But don’t wait until then. Please feel free to give me your feedback on the trends and challenges you’re facing in the Comments area below, and let’s get the conversation started.

Tim Tsao (@timothy_tsao)

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