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Job Title: Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

MAXfocus Guest Blog 1


Recent articles by MAXfocus Guest Blog 1

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Why Doing On-Spec Work Will Kill Your Business

Would you walk into a coffee shop and ask for a coffee “on spec” to see if you like it? Would you ask an interior design firm to provide detailed plans for it would do for your home, and then pay only if you like the plans and select the firm to do the work? Would you hire a personal trainer, and declare you own all of the processes and procedures he or she develops?

Planning for Success

My head is still spinning from the past month. As I write this, I’m what I would call knee-deep in finalizing 2016 budgets and planning. It’s not glamorous on any level–having discussions about projections, engagement strategies and upcoming programs. But building a plan is one of the keys to success, as execution without a plan is destined for failure.

Changing the Game for MSPs

When the phrase Renaissance Man was coined, a single human could study the sum of all knowledge by visiting a particularly well stocked library. Well-studied individuals could become experts in most subjects through diligence and time. As human knowledge expanded, the amount of data also increased. In 2002, roughly 23 Exabytes of information was recorded and replicated. We now record and transfer that much information every seven days, and that rate continues to grow. It’s simply not possible for any single human to “know” everything as it once was.

Survey

Do You Have Vision?

There are many who have been solution providers, managed services providers or in the channel for a significant amount of time. Experts abound–which is the sign of a maturing market. In fact, one of the indicators often used to show the maturity of a market is the number of “after market” solutions there are–or consultants serving the space.

This collective knowledge can drive considerable success in a business. Having the community to draw upon is an excellent resource, with time-tested best practices, experience and expertise to leverage.   

Could the Channel Bubble Burst?

I had a meeting with my financial adviser this month, doing annual retirement and investment planning with my wife. It’s a big-picture discussion, one of several regular talks we have during the year. Our adviser doesn’t see any bubbles bursting in general, which is interesting compared with some of the realities of the IT services business.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Launching new offerings or moving into new markets can be a tough call for MSPs. However, as Dave Sobel, Director of Partner Community for MAXfocus at LogicNow, explains, determining the maturity of the market and aligning your launch strategy to the buying behavior of your potential customers will give you the best chance of success.

We Need to Stay Relevant to Avoid Commoditization

There is a constant discussion and concern about managed services being commoditized. IT providers are concerned that low-touch, self-service systems will replace them in the delivery process. While it’s my personal opinion that this isn’t the case, the best defense against any perception of being a commodity is advanced services, focused on business needs.

Best Practices for Business Agility

The Perpetually Valuable MSP is the concept of adding business agility to a stable MSP business, with the ability to add new services in a dynamic fashion.

Best Practices for Testing MSP Service Delivery

New service offerings and business solutions need validation to ensure that they are successful in the marketplace, and agile MSPs need a system for ensuring that their offerings are delivering on the goals set out.

The Perpetually Valuable MSP

Great MSPs have a focus on operational process discipline, are built on a foundation of repeatable processes, and have a deep understanding of customer requirements, as well as a focus on business outcomes as part of their delivery process. Focusing on these traits, as well as on business agility, will help make MSPs “perpetually valuable.”

Delivering Business Solutions that Help

The D.C. area is a hub for IT, but not all of the tech decisions being made at companies in the region are sound. For example, does it make sense for a company to replace aging infrastructure with more infrastructure–to the tune of $2 million? The way in which the story played out should serve as a reminder to MSPs of the importance of gaining insight into business principles and the way business is conducted, and of serving as a guide as companies navigate decisions about technology.

Positioning Your MSP as an Outsourced CIO

Many MSPs position themselves as trusted advisors, but have they already earned their customers’ trust? A better positioning statement is being a virtual or outsourced CIO. As a virtual CIO you are placing yourself within the customer’s team, rather than as an external advisor.

The MSP Equation: Finding the Balance

Revenue, margin, pricing, costs and sales. How do you measure your managed service business’s success? The answer may differ from one MSP to another.

Moving Innovation to the Cloud

Vendors that are trying to migrate to the cloud are forced to take precious development resources away from core product development, and instead are forced to invest in infrastructure changes that ultimately benefit the vendor, but not the solution provider. Additionally, placing a product in the cloud alone may not actually be benefiting from the benefits of the dynamic, elastic nature of the cloud.

An Open Letter and Call to Arms for Integration

In addition to the existing Office 365 and Google Apps management, we built App Control with a series of APIs that allows it to be quickly extended, and we built it with the ability to reach into other cloud services besides the first two and manage their APIs as well. By design, it was built to be extendable.

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