MSPmentor Blog
Where Do MSPs Come From?

Where Do MSPs Come From?

Mommy, where do managed service providers (MSPs) come from? Similar to how parents react the age-old “where do we come from” question, the answers will vary.  Either by acquisition or expansion, many MSPs are emerging from non-services providers. One trend we’re seeing among our Datto Partners is the transition of print service provider to MSP.

According to Techopedia an MSP provides server, network and specialized applications to end users and organizations.  And as you know, a key advantage of offering services is the ability to set up a recurring revenue model with clients.  The traditional “break and fix” model does not lend itself to recurring revenue.  During times of cost cutting and economic uncertainty for many, establishing a recurring revenue strategy is the best way to ensure long-term success and viability.

An advantage that many non-services providers, such as printer/copier, accounting, etc. may have is an existing client base.  This is a built in prospect list, that if done well, can be upsold to services and solutions sold by MSPs, such and backup and disaster recovery.  Getting new clients can be difficult; upselling clients is easier and more time and cost-effective.

One of the exciting things about being a channel-only vendor is the opportunity to really get to know your partners.  This includes understanding what their goals are, what makes them successful, and how Datto can best help them succeed. One such relationship is with Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office.  Atlantic started as a copier company in 1959, and has grown into a top supplier of office equipment, office automation solutions, and managed services.

I recently spoke with Bill McLaughlin, CTO and Vice President of Managed Services with Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office about the company’s foray into the managed services space.  One reason I sought Bill out is the incredible success they’ve had in making the transition; Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office is one of Datto’s fastest growing partners. 

Their customer base is small to medium-sized businesses, with five to 1,000 users.  Bill sees the inclusion of Datto’s solutions as a “natural progression” for Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office—from imaging, to networked printers, to network support, to managed network support, to a full-service MSP.  The need for a robust BDR and business continuity solution is for “just about everybody,” says Bill, especially as “tapes are becoming archaic.” 

Forrester’s Jonathan Silber wrote a blog last year that illustrates the path of many traditional MSPs, and in some ways it also shows the path of emerging MSPs like Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office.  The first MSPs were much more “break/fix and reactive” vs. today’s model set up on recurring revenue, preventative management, and acting as a virtual CIO. 

I’m curious, how did your MSP business start?  What do you see in your future?


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