Managed services can be difficult to define and sell, especially as cloud computing blurs the picture. But IBM is seeking simplicity as it begins to more aggressively embrace mid-market MSPs. Indeed, IBM is starting to see the managed services market in three clearly defined segments.
For MSPs, IBM sees the opportunity to promote:
- Managed IT services. Here, MSPs maintain and optimize customers' on-premises equipment. This includes everything from remote monitoring to managed security and managed storage services. Also, mobile device management will increasingly emerge here. Watch for IBM Tivoli in this market segment.
- Hosted IT services. Here, the services run within the MSP's data center -- potentially involving a hosted storage or hosted email service that the MSP essentially owns and optimizes for customers.
- Cloud services: Here, the services run in a third-party data center. In this case, IBM wants to be the data center operator, allowing MSPs to tap into IBM cloud services in a range of areas.