Do MSPs Need Cloud In Their Name?
Roughly a decade ago, companies scrambled to put dot-com in their name — everyone from Amazon.com to Startups.com. Now we’re starting to see the trend repeat itself in the cloud computing era, as some managed services providers (MSPs) begin to put cloud in their name. The latest example involves Real Time Bookkeeping, an Intuit-focused MSP, relaunching as Cloud9 Real Time. Is the re-branding a smart long-term move or merely a short-term sign of the times?
First, let’s look at the positive. It has been roughly 18 months since Real Time Bookkeeping embraced the cloud, generating 500 percent growth over that period (though we don’t have the actual dollars and cents figures), the company says.
In their former identity, Cloud9 Real Time already offered online storage, training and marketing support, and virtual servers, in addition to their hosted applications business. But their real entry into the cloud came with their e-Dashboard proprietary SaaS solution, according to a press release.
The e-Dashboard is what it sounds like: combining cloud collaboration and storage with productivity tools, all accessible from a central control pane. But where it differs is that it keeps the same hosted QuickBooks deployment, meaning that customers get the familiar desktop software bundled with the flexibility and mobility of the cloud.
This isn’t the first time (see here and here) managed cloud services and financial services have met, but more cloud players in what may well be an underserved vertical makes Cloud9 Real Time a company worth keeping an eye on.
Also, there are more examples of MSP veterans putting cloud in their brand — such as:
- SecureMyCompany becoming Cloud Services Depot
- Pointivity veterans launching Channel Cloud
- And more subtly, mindSHIFT, which acquired Alpheon today, has started to describe itself as a cloud services provider.
- Nimsoft, the MSP software provider, emphasized cloud software still in beta during M&A discussions with CA Technologies in early 2010. The Nimsoft strategy helped the company to generate a 10X valuation when CA finally agreed to buy Nimsoft.
I’ve seen the trend before. Back in the late 1990s, lots of VARs began calling themselves Web integrators. But old name tags die hard. The channel, after all, continues to have thriving VARs, MSPs… and maybe even cloud integrators and cloud services providers. We’ll be watching.
Additional reporting by Matt Weinberger. Follow Talkin’ Cloud via RSS, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Talkin’ Cloud’s Weekly Newsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Read our editorial disclosures here.