Top MSPs Grow Cloud Revenues 50 Percent (Or More)

I spoke with GFI MAX General Manager Alistair Forbes earlier this week about GFI MAX integrating VIPRE Antivirus into GFI MAX RemoteManagement. After he described GFI's integration strategy our conversation quickly turned, as it so often does these days, to cloud computing. Forbes, like many other industry experts, told me that some solutions providers continue to see the cloud as a threat rather than an opportunity. That's unfortunate considering the best MSPs experienced 50 percent (or more) cloud-related revenue growth in 2010, according to our own research.

Forbes' assessment reminded me of a conversation I had with NaviSite Strategic Alliances Officer Craig Sandman at HP Discover 2011 in Las Vegas earlier this month. Sandman told me that some traditional IT folks are largely against adopting the cloud. It got me thinking: Why the push back against the cloud when the industry is so clearly headed in that direction?

Is there room for MSPs in the cloud? The answer is absolutely yes -- as our own Talkin' Cloud 50 survey results show, top MSPs and VARs grew their cloud-related revenues 50 percent last year. And the typical MSP on the Talkin' Cloud 50 generated $6 million in cloud-related revenues in 2010. Is that really a revenue opportunity that peer MSPs can afford to ignore?

Even as some IT components shift to the cloud, SMBs still need local, face-to-face guidance from their MSPs. Said Forbes: "MSPs are trusted advisers to their customers. That element is still needed in the cloud. It's a challenge that some are better prepared for than others."

So will MSPs be willing to become advisers rather than remote monitoring specialists? Each MSP is going to have to answer that question individually. Experts like TruMethods CEO Gary Pica have been calling on MSPs to stop selling individual cloud ingredients and start selling chocolate cake -- a total support experience where cloud is only one part of the larger solution.

Ultimately, GFI Max's Forbes thinks the IT pendulum will continue to swing toward cloud computing. "There is no doubt that there is a trend in that direction," he said.

Leading MSPs are already generating $6 million, on average, in annual cloud revenues. Will the mass market follow?

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.

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