Citrix Systems is reaching out to its channel partners and sharing some timely views on the managed services market. Now here's the twist: As a result of market pressures and commoditization, Citrix says the smartest MSPs are "beginning to show signs of revenues through hosting not one or two applications, but the entire suite of office productivity applications." Translation: the line between MSP and SaaS specialist is fading fast. Here's why.
Scott Swanburg, director of the Citrix Service Provider Program, shared his MSP market views in a January 18 blog post. No surprise, Swanburg believes so-called Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) are ideally positioned to blend managed services and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Starting with the SMB, corporations are seeing that they can "job out" their IT services without paying an exorbitant fee. As they become accustomed to this model, they are also now collaborating to offload Line of Business (LOB) Applications which in many cases are similar from one business to another. The further into the "Higher Valued Services" an MSP goes, the more likely their customer is to see higher value in their offering. This is because CSPs provide a similar service offerings as their older Full Service MSP cousins, but at a much lower cost to the end customer.
The Bigger PictureWhether you leverage Citrix or another approach to multi-tenant applications, I believe Swanburg is onto something. The line between managed services and SaaS is fading. (On second thought, it's gone.) The reason: Many entrepreneurs and small business owners are willing to completely outsource their day-to-day applications so that they can focus on business development.
Let me put it another way: As a business co-owner, I don't wake up each morning wondering if my PCs and servers are working and pro-actively managed. But I do wonder -- ever day -- what type of applications our company should leverage to drive our business forward. And generally speaking, our company's thought process involves SaaS applications.
In my view, some MSPs continue to ignore the SaaS market because they (A) fear the unknown or (B) don't think they can compete effectively against Microsoft, Google, Salesforce.com and dozens of SaaS startups.
Citrix and many other software companies are trying to rally their partners around multi-tenant and/or SaaS opportunities. I wonder: How many MSPs are listening to the advice and gaining first-mover advantage in this new wave of activity?