10 Managed Services Predictions for 2008

You know the drill: It's the end of the year. Time for some predictions to stir some reader debate and feedback. Here's a look at where I see the managed services market going in 2008. Agree? Disagree? I'm all ears.

10. Initial Public Offering: One or more platform providers will test the IPO market in late 2008.

9. Consolidation Continues: Hardware and software giants will emulate Dell's strategy and buy their way into the MSP market. Microsoft certainly has deep pockets. And a strong remote management story could bolster confidence in Vista deployments.

8. Hello Linux, Apple: Platform providers will extend their administration tools to support Linux and Apple's Mac OS X. Kaseya has already announced such plans. Others will follow.

7. Calling for Help: Management consoles also will increasingly support smart phones.

6. The Price is Right: Low-cost "starter" solutions will be widely available from most platform providers.

5. No Starter Fees: Hosted MSP solutions, available with no upfront costs, will proliferate as VARs seek solutions that involve monthly fees rather than lump-sum licensing costs. Two prime examples are SecureMyCompany and ProactiveWatch.

4. Green to Gold?: Platform providers will evangelize the "green" nature of managed services. Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford is one of the key voices promoting the green benefits of managed services. This type of messaging should have strong appeal through mid-2008, but I wonder if the "green" trend will begin to die down by late 2008.

3. The Truth Hurts: At least one major platform provider -- likely specializing in security -- will get burned by making false claims about its sales momentum and market penetration. Venture capitalists will begin asking questions and the CEO could be shown the door.

2. One Dashboard for All: MSPs will demand platform interoperability, and APIs (application programming interfaces) that allow users to have a single dashboard for multiple platforms.

1. Continued Growth: This is the easiest prediction of all. As the CEOs of Autotask, N-able and others have stated, only about 5 percent (or less) of small business PCs are covered by managed services. The opportunities ahead are huge, assuming MSPs, platform providers and industry associations can continue to communicate the value of managed services to a growing base of customers.

OK, folks. What did I miss? What predictions missed the mark? Let the debate begin.

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