Memo From Cisco: MSPs Need Mass Customization

Can one size really fit all in the managed services market? Cisco Systems doesn't seem to think so. Al Safarikas, Cisco's senior director of managed services, predicts that the most successful managed service providers will offer mass customization to their customers.

I partially agree with Safarikas, who shared his views through Cisco's corporate blog. Here's what he wrote, along with my perspectives.



Safarikas points to a recent In-Stat research study that concludes "customer feedback indicates that a one-size-fits-all approach to managed services needs to change -- by addressing specific vertical and horizontal market stakeholder needs and requirements."

With that goal in mind, Cisco is conducting a "managed services benchmark study" to determine how service providers intend to accommodate more granularity into their service offerings, according to an April 1 blog entry from Safarikas.

Specialization and customization certainly are important to customers, especially in specific vertical markets (health care, education, insurance), where MSPs need to be savvy with specific government, privacy or financial regulations.

But I don't want small MSPs or aspiring MSPs to think that they need some sort of PhD or a team of programmers just to get into this market. Small businesses continue to demand simple, one-size-fits-all services like managed storage, endpoint security and patch management.

So, it's important to strike a balance: Specialize and customize where needed. But get started in the market by offering industry-standard solutions that will have broad appeal to your customer base.

If you start customizing your services for every customer, you'll lose economies of scale that the MSP down the block already enjoys.

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