I was wavering about the idea of forecasting this year’s managed services trends, but then I talked with another MSP struggling to scale and increase profitability and decided: Enough. Even though we’ve heard a flurry of controversial predictions from the usual pundits, I want to drill home a clear point. You can get more, grow faster — and increase profits — if you just consider what works for the biggest and best MSPs in our industry. Here are my top picks for how successful MSPs will distinguish themselves in 2012.
Prediction #1 — MSPs Partner More to Do More
Let’s get this straight right now: Partnering or outsourcing certain aspects of your managed services operations frees up valuable resources, increases your utilization levels and improves customer service. Plus, you can scale a more advanced value proposition to new customers more quickly. Still don’t believe?
Prediction #2 — MSPs Advance into the Data Center
Football season may be over, but the anthem of “Go big or go home” rings true in business during any season. I believe 2012 is the year when MSPs take on the data center, applying their management and technical skills to not just backup, but business continuity; multifaceted virtualization projects; cloud; VoIP and unified communications. MSPs will go big in 2012, but the question is how will they do it better when it comes to managing the convoluted flow of data through today’s complex IT environments? (Hint: Keep reading.)
Prediction #3 — MSPs Use IT Ops to Crush their Competition
When you consider today’s business-class infrastructure — from mobile devices to security, virtual desktops to unified collaboration — homegrown operational support is no long sufficient or acceptable to those companies interested in hiring a service provider. The top MSPs in the industry have found the best way to scale to meet the demands of new customers while continuing to offer refined service to existing customers is to partner with experts, increase their scale and bring on high-priced certified engineers without paying the equivalent high-priced salaries. Think about it: You tell your customers every day that they should focus on their business differentiators, not their IT. Take your own advice in 2012.
Prediction #4 — MSP Future No Longer Cloudy
Cloud is here to stay. With it comes the headache of 24/7 availability and performance. Your best bet is to concentrate on ways to stand out from the crowd: software development, application development or customization, total IT data center to cloud solution integration. Let someone else watch over the connectivity, availability, updates and upgrades.
Want to see how I fare this year? Watch for additional information on our webinar series “Get More, Grow Faster,” which will feature reality-based advice from MSPs and maybe even a CIO. We know you face a lot of challenges when it comes to finding the right path to profitability and growth in this increasing competitive managed services market. We’re on a mission to help.