MSP University: Behind the Curtains

I spent some time with Erick Simpson, VP and CIO of MSP University, during the Kaseya User Conference in Las Vegas last month. Even before we met, I knew Erick had written some best-selling books on managed services. But I wanted to learn a bit more about where MSP University had been ... and where it's going.

Here are some key points from our discussions.



I think it's safe to say that MSP University is an outgrowth of its parent company, Intelligent Enterprise. An 11-year-old IT service provider, Intelligent Enterprise transitioned all of its clients to a managed services model in 2005.

The strategy involved an "all you can eat" approach to managed services, focused on three core deliverables: Remote help desk, proactive network monitoring and vendor management.

The transition to managed services treated Intelligent Enterprise well. Simpson says the company generated more than $2 million worth of managed services agreements. MSP University became a natural extension, wherein Simpson and his team share their real-world expertise -- through books, training, online education and other services -- across the managed services ecosystem.

A Look At the Landscape

At first glance, you may think that MSP University competes with other industry associations. But I don't think that's the case -- especially since MSP University is working with such organizations as CompTIA.

If I had to summarize where each organization fits in the ecosystem:
  • MSP University offers education and training based on its own real-world experience in the MSP market. You'll find that a range of vendors and clients (Intel, Cisco, CompTIA and Ingram Micro, to name a few) leverage MSP University's expertise.
  • CompTIA is an association representing the international technology community. It has roughly 20,000 members across more than 100 countries. The association launched Focus On MSP earlier this year to help further educate MSPs.
  • MSPAlliance positions itself as is the world’s largest professional association and accrediting body for the managed services industry. Members adhere to a code of ethics, and can also participate in key services (such as a Group Life Plan).
  • MSP Partners is an alliance formed by Cisco, Ingram Micro, Intel, Level Platforms and Microsoft and joined by more than 20 vendors to provide solution providers with MSP education. In roughly one year, MSP Partners says it has attracted over 2,000 members.
Did I miss any organizations? Do my definitions above align with your own perceptions of each organization? I'm all ears.
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