If I Were Launching an MSP Now: 2nd Watch’s Doug Schneider

Doug Schneider, chief executive officer at 2nd Watch, shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today.

Allison Francis

March 28, 2018

3 Min Read
New business, If I were launching an MSP now

This week, we sat down with Doug Schneider, CEO of managed cloud services company 2nd Watch. The company, based in Seattle, provides services for enterprise workloads in the public cloud. The company says its subject-matter experts, software-enabled services and solutions allow companies to fully leverage the power of the public cloud.

2nd Watch’s proprietary tools automate everyday workload management processes for big-data analytics, digital marketing, line-of-business and cloud-native workloads. The company helps enterprises design, deploy and manage cloud solutions and monitors business-critical applications.

Here are Doug’s three suggestions:

1. You must be agile.

There’s this whole movement and a lot of talk around the term “agility” in the space. Following the agile paradigm of DevOps, organizations can build a process driven by development and delivery. This is the mindset and cadence that someone building a new managed services provider needs to have.

The world of IT is an increasingly complex one. Organizations are integrating new solutions while trying to stay focused on their goals and mission, all without skipping a beat. Think that’s easy? Nope.


Doug Schneider

Doug Schneider

Because of this, there’s a massive need for strategic thinking, and agile resources and services.

The whole ecosystem is becoming very nimble, whether it’s the cloud-services providers who are delivering these features and functions, or the customers who are trying to consume them and evolve their applications.

If you’re going to be an MSP in this new world, first and foremost, you have to be agile.

2. You have to go deeper than surface level.

Along with this agility, there’s a depth that you have to take on as a new MSP.

If you look at the cloud service providers’ platforms, it’s essentially an operating system. If you’re going to venture in and build an MSP in this new realm of the public cloud, you have to go deep. You can’t just swim around comfortably at surface level; you have to understand the ins and outs of it. This ties in directly to my next point.

3. It’s about people and processes.

In today’s world, the people you hire must have a broad skill set — broader than ever before. You simply can’t be tied to one particular silo anymore. The end users you’re servicing are starting to get out of their silos as well. It’s no longer, “Here’s my storage expert, here’s my network expert, here’s my compute expert.” You must cover more of the map.

There’s a saying that I love to use: You have to have a major and a minor — you can’t major in just one area. You have to be knowledgeable about a range of things. And processes are a lot more flexible than they used to be — you have to take that idea and tailor it to the customer the right way.

In the old days of the MSP, processes were more “fixed.” Nowadays, they are much less so. Now, MSPs need to provide sound strategic guidance regarding support of the customer’s infrastructure.

It’s up to MSPs to help businesses wrap their minds around the complexity of platforms and services. Make sure your processes improve and evolve, and are – you guessed it – flexible.

So, without sounding too much like an ad for your local CrossFit gym, the takeaways here are agility, digging deep and respecting the process. From what we already know, the huge shift to the public cloud is no easy feat, for partners and customers alike. Leverage these key aspects and command a broad understanding of services, and you’ll be better/faster/stronger in no time. 

As the CEO of 2nd Watch, Doug guides the strategic direction and ensures that resources are available and aligned to both capture market growth and deliver exceptional services.

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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