Where does one managed service provider end, and another managed service provider begin? Before you answer, consider the situation at Spam Soap and VirtualAdministrator -- two Master MSPs of sorts that are partnering up to reach VARs and peer MSPs.
Spam Soap focuses on doing one thing really well: Protecting email from spam, viruses and disasters. The company has signed up roughly 400 channel partners, and recently recruited Sage Software veteran Leonard DiMiceli as channel sales manager, according to Rob Leon, VP of operations at Spam Soap.
Rather than a traditional Master MSP -- which typically mixes and matches numerous platforms -- I guess Spam Soap is closer to a single purpose service provider whose customer base includes VARs and MSPs.
VirtualAdministrator, meanwhile, specializes in a range of hosted managed services for peer MSPs and VARs, including hosted Kaseya, Spam Soap, SonicWALL and Intronis for remote backup.
The two companies are cut from similar cloth:
- Spam Soap was started by Inhouse IT, a managed service provider in Costa Mesa, Calif.
- VirtualAdministrator was launched by Network Depot LLC, a solutions provider in Reston, Va.
I expect to see the Spam Soap and VirtualAdministrator teams hanging out together at SMB Nation Spring, a conference that runs May 1 through 3 in New Jersey. I'm curious to hear how and see how attendees react to their messages.
Key ChallengesI need to be careful not to hype the Master MSP model. Although some Master MSPs are thriving, I do sense that the Master MSP model faces multiple challenges.
Remember, most Master MSPs are privately held so it's difficult for me to measure their financial success. And I'm starting to hear from Master MSPs who say it's too expensive to recruit, train and retain VARs as customers. So in some areas, the Master MSP model might be breaking down.
How did Spam Soap attract 400 channel partners? What are they doing right, and where have they stumbled? I hope to ask Rob Leon those questions at the SMB Nation conference on May 1.
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