At the first Rackspace Partner Leadership Council meeting in San Antonio, Texas, I heard a wake up call for for MSPs (managed services providers). It came from Gartner VP Tiffani Bova. Her statements about the MSP market offered a timely reality check for MSPs focused on PC and server management.
Bova noted that roughly 63 percent of IT spending involves maintaining existing systems. But as cloud services continue to catch on, she expects companies to spend less of their IT budget on maintenance and more on innovation. Then a discussion about the MSP market entered the conversation.
Without predicting a market collapse, Bova essentially suggested that MSPs focused on monitoring and maintenance of traditional IT will get left behind. She noted that prices for tools across the IT support market have fallen in recent years -- a trend MSPmentor readers have certainly witnessed.
The next wave of solutions, Bova asserted, will need to support hybrid cloud environments -- helping customers to maintain applications and systems across physical, virtual and cloud environments.
MSPmentor has certainly seen a growing number of software tools vendors offering cloud monitoring and unified data center monitoring (for instance, supporting Vblock or converged storage, network and compute systems). But I don't know how many MSPs have pushed beyond the PC/server monitoring mindset.
So where should MSPs focus their efforts? Here are some potential clues:
- About a dozen channel partners are attending the Rackspace Partner Leadership Council meetings. The vast majority of those partners have software developers on staff
- There's lots of discussion here about application-centric partners as well as partners that can deliver business analytics services to end-customers