SMB customers are seeking IT partners that have mastered business analytics, unified communication & collaboration, business process management, mobility and infrastructure alignment, according to AMI Partners. Moreover, US-based SMB customers will spend $50 billion on cloud services in the next two years, AMI estimates. Among the 72,000 channel partners in the U.S. who focus on the SMB segment, AMI says only 20% are currently proficient in two or more of the high-value competencies (HVCs). Translation: It's time for MSPs to polish and adjust their skill sets.
AMI analysis indicates HVC partners drive three times the market opportunity compared to other SMB partners, and the margins they derive from these key solutions are about 25% higher than other partners. In addition to the five competencies listed above, AMI also says HVC partners are distinguished by their mastery of cloud technology and services. HVC partners are much more likely to be committed to the cloud, and are also three times as likely to already be experiencing success in the cloud from a business and financial perspective.
The other key factor which AMI says sets HVC partners apart is their choice of SMB clients. HVC partners tend to work with SMBs in high-value industries, including financial services and healthcare. The breadth of product offerings, coupled with vertical specialization, allows these partners to cater to a more sophisticated SMB clientele, helping them drive operational efficiencies, enhance productivity and reduce IT complexity.
Competency is What You Make Of ItWhen it comes to cloud technology and services, there really is no excuse for a modern MSP to be anything less than fully competent. Cloud computing is rapidly spreading from large enterprises to smaller ones, and in all likelihood the cloud will become the de facto IT architecture in a matter of years.
That said, competency in other areas is really what MSPs choose to make of it. While AMI has some convincing data about the importance of being competent in certain business areas and serving certain types of SMB clients, these specifics are less important. The lesson MSPs should take here is that it is critical to master certain areas and certain business verticals in order to maximize your success. Being a “jack of all trades” may widen your client list, but you will also find it very shallow. Your more successful peers will be swimming in narrower, deeper waters.