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The NextGen 101 List to Honor Partners Building MSP Practices

Informa Tech Launches Its First-Ever List for Development of Recurring Revenue Streams

Kris Blackmon

April 15, 2020

3 Min Read
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Every year, partners from around the world compete for a place on the prestigious MSP 501 ranking list. This year, we’re introducing a new component, the NextGen 101 list. Earning a spot on the 501 is one of the highest honors in the managed services channel. It gives winners valuable proof for customers and vendors alike that they exemplify the gold standard of MSPs.

Over the years, the MSP 501 has become one of the most sought-after awards in the channel. Simultaneously, more and more non-MSP partners have begun to recognize the high value that a managed services offering can bring to their revenue streams. Particularly in a world of cloud solutions, the recurring revenue managed services model is one that telco agents, digital agencies, resellers and consultants are beginning to build into their existing practices.

In the Beginning

Since its inception, the MSP 501 rankings were solely based on the previous year’s annual revenue. Last year, it became clear to us that the judgement criteria introduced a logical fallacy.

Between 2018 and 2019 alone, there was a 35% uptick in the number of submissions we received, and these partners came from all corners of the channel. Many of these non-MSP partners are sophisticated, large companies in their own rights. Their managed services practices only account for a small percentage of their total annual revenues. These larger companies, naturally, carry larger balance sheets, so in a list based on previous year’s revenues, they ranked higher than many small and midsize MSPs just by default.

A significant chunk of the 2019 MSP 501 winners, therefore, were not strictly speaking MSPs. This hurt some of our MSP community, and clearly we need the 501 to be a safe space for MSPs to play.

But it also doesn’t do a lot of good for those outlier partners, either. If you’re a telco service provider, why would you want to market yourself to the world as an MSP? Everyone should be able to lay claim to the business classification they’re going for, while also being recognized for diversifying offerings and pivoting toward more profitable revenue streams.

Enter the NextGen 101

Any applicant to the MSP 501 with annual recurring revenues less than 20% of their company’s total annual revenues will automatically be moved to this new list. The NextGen 101 is designed specifically to honor partners dedicating resources to building out their practices — all while maintaining the integrity of their core businesses. Maybe these partners will become the MSP powerhouses of the future. Maybe they’ll continue to expand their managed services capabilities while also devoting resources to core competencies. Or maybe they’ll become a new kind of hybrid partner that isn’t yet even on our radar.

We can’t wait to see what these companies will do next, and we’re excited to honor them in a list of their very own.

Any partner type can land on the NextGen 101. It’s the same application and same judgement methodology as the MSP 501, so there’s no extra legwork. These winners will be honored alongside their MSP brethren at the annual MSP 501 Awards Gala at Channel Partners Expolution. Taking place in September, this will be a combination of our spring and fall events into one massive, diversified event.

For more on these two industry-leading lists, check out the following resources:

  • Click here to apply for the 2020 MSP 501/NextGen 101

  • Want to see what the survey is asking for before you start? Here’s a PDF of the application.

  • We ask all applicants for a revenue verification form. The highest-ranking financial manager or CPA must attest that the reported numbers are true and accurate. You can see a copy of that form here.

  • For more information on the new 2020 judgement methodology, click here.

  • The MSP 501 resource page has all the information you could need on the application, timelines and deadlines, how to make the award work for you and what it’s like to be honored at the Gala, the “Academy Awards” of the channel.

  • Still have questions? Email us at [email protected].

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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