Just about every managed service provider (MSP) will say that the industry is anything but predictable. New tools and platforms complicate more...
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5 Stats Every MSP Should Know Going into 2015
The world of managed service providers (MSPs) is constantly changing. In terms of technology, new services and applications create new opportunities – both for what MSPs use to serve clients and what clients expect from their service providers. Going into 2015, MSPs also have to think carefully about the business factors that will impact their place in the industry.
First of all, there’s a lot of consolidation within the channel. Many of your competitors may have already been acquired or are planning an M&A, while others are getting left behind. And, second of all, there’s a big branding problem. MSPs face a lot of competition, but most are battling on price point alone. If service providers really want to stand out, there needs to be a decisive effort to differentiate service and user experience.
What else is happening? Here are some interesting stats that could show where the industry is going next year.
A lot of MSPs started as entrepreneurial endeavors, patched together through freeware and open source technologies. But the technological free-for-all can cause headaches for maturing businesses, making it harder to track every system and bill clients for different services. A fifth are losing 20 to 50 hours on maintenance that could be spent on revenue-producing tasks. To earn back that time, MSPs will need to make an effort to reduce how much time they spend on backend IT administration in 2015.
Do your clients have unrealistic expectations when it comes to their infrastructure uptime? Well, you’re not alone. Research shows that most businesses don’t want to see their servers and applications down for even just one hour over an entire year. This always-on mentality is crucial to a lot of businesses, where that hour could cost thousands or even millions of dollars, and it will only become more important in 2015.
It also translates into MSP daily operations. Do you have a way to tell if there’s a problem with bandwidth? Or if usage patterns could potentially compromise an application or server? If not, you could be risking business by not knowing the health of each and every network element in your customers’ IT environment.
The view of IT being a back-end system is coming to an end. As businesses become aware of how important data, web applications, IT investments affect day-to-day business decisions and operations – from marketing to sales to customer support – IT has taken center stage in business strategy.
That’s put pressure on MSPs to provide not just infrastructure and the necessary IT monitoring to ensure operations run smoothly, but also the ancillary IT services, applications and consultancy that drive the business as a whole. MSPs that embrace the idea of being a consultant to their partners will thrive in 2015, because they’ll be able to guide their clients toward IT investments that yield real revenue opportunities.
Apple doesn’t create unique products. The iPod is an mp3 player, and the iPhone is a smartphone. What Apple did create, however, was a unique brand. The aesthetics and attitude of the company – and the people it hired – made Apple stand out among the competition.
MSPs should think about emulating Apple’s approach. More than a third say that they have seven or more direct competitors, which means at any point a competitor could simply offer clients a lower price and steal business away. What really sets the business apart, aside from service and price? It’s a question you’ll need to consider if you hope to compete in 2015.
So how are IT professionals planning to maximize their investment in emerging technology in 2015? More than half are planning to invest in IT monitoring. By finding a solution that is vendor-neutral and can span across a range of devices, enterprise IT pros and the MSPs who support them can effectively monitor the heartbeat of their businesses. IT solutions with open source roots are the best options, since that allows for the customizability and flexibility that clients need and expect.
Want to learn more about how managed service providers can grow the business by ditching freeware and investing in grown-up tools and solutions?
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