MSP Pioneer Jim Lippie Joins Cloud Platform Provider independenceIT

Jim Lippie, a managed services pioneer who built and sold Thrive Networks to Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS), has joined independenceIT as executive VP of business development, MSPmentor has confirmed. Lippie will help independenceIT to promote a desktop as a service (DaaS) platform through MSPs. Lippie has penned an open letter to MSPs, explaining his career move and independenceIT's value proposition to the channel. He also took a few competitive shots at vendors like Microsoft, Google, Rackspace and Dell -- alleging the vendors want to take small business relationships direct. Here's the background.

In an exclusive video interview with MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud, Lippie described his career move in great detail as well as secrets to MSP M&A success. We'll be rolling out those video snippets shortly. This is the latest in a series of high-profile MSP career moves and business moves amid the New Year. The other big news of the day involves Heartland Technology Solutions (HTS) selling its IT practice to WesTel Systems. Arlin Sorensen, well-known in MSP circles, will remain involved with HTS during a transitional period as a business advisor.

Lippie's Open Letter

Meanwhile, here's the complete text of Lippie's letter to MSPs.
"Dear MSP,

I’ve been in your shoes, as the former President and CEO of Thrive Networks, a perennial MSPmentor Top 30 company, I know the challenges you face and the anxiety you are feeling as the technology market continues to evolve.

The business you have built is under attack.  It’s under attack from so called "partners" like Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, and Dell, who ultimately want to take every small business relationship direct.  As a result of this strategy, industry analysts expect 20-40% of the channel to evaporate in the next few years.  I have often said that organizations need to make a choice, sell direct or sell through the channel.  It’s a conflict of interest to do both.  I believe in the channel, and I believe you have an opportunity to sustain and grow your business with the right partners.

After running Thrive Networks, the only IT services division of a Fortune 200 Company, I have decided to join independenceIT (iIT), the best cloud delivery company in the space today.  iIT is 100% channel focused.  We have no direct sales aspirations. independenceIT is not an infrastructure company. We provide a software platform that allows you to deliver a “cloud workspace” to your clients, giving them access to the applications they need to run their business.

I have been in the industry a long time and have seen a lot of different products, and I sincerely believe this is the best product on the market for MSPs today. If you’re interested in a solution that gives you the flexibility to:
  • Private label your own cloud offering
  • Invoice your own clients with your price
  • Maintain 50% gross margins
  • Leverage your existing staff and scale your business without growing headcount
  • Work with a true channel partner who will make it easy for you to sell
Then please feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or sign up for my next webinar where I will further discuss my thoughts about the future of the channel. You may also follow me on twitter @jlippie.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise with you, and helping you grow your business.

Sincerely,

Jim Lippie
Executive Vice President, iIT"

The Next MSP Wave

In my personal view, I think many of the companies Lippie mentioned have actually done a decent job balancing direct and indirect sales. But I know a lot of MSPs and VARs share his view that the time has come for channel partners to only work with pure channel-play vendors.

During recent conversations with Lippie, he described how MSPs need to blend the best of their existing infrastructure (PSA and RMM software) with cloud platforms that further improved customer engagement and retention. Lippie also offered advice to MSPs that plan to build and eventually sell their companies to suitors. MSPmentor will share more of that conversation later today.
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