Microsoft Exploring Managed Services Market (Again)?

Just a quick but important tidbit from the SMB Nation show. At the Las Vegas conference, a managed service provider running Kaseya and ConnectWise told me he has participated in focus groups held by Microsoft. The discussion involved Microsoft's potential entry into the managed services software market. Here's some analysis of what might be happening...

Microsoft hired a research firm to host the focus groups, the MSP says. During the round table discussions, the MSP was asked what types of features/functions Microsoft would need to have in order to successfully serve VARs moving into the managed services market.

Although no specifiic products were discussed during the focus group, the MSP believes Microsoft's channel team is evaluating whether Microsoft System Center can be positioned beyond corporate IT and used by VARs and MSPs in the cloud to remotely manage small business networks.

"There's still a disconnect between Microsoft channels and Microsoft corporate," the MSP says. "Channels sees the opportunity for a remote management tool. Corporate hasn't heard that message loud enough yet."

Still, Microsoft is preparing to beta test System Center Online Desktop Manager, a cloud-based IT management tool for PCs and laptop computers. Microsoft has also maintained solid working relationships with many RMM and PSA tool providers.

The lingering questions: Will big vendors -- from Microsoft to Cisco Systems -- make a move into the MSP software market? And if so, how will it change the competitive landscape?

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TAGS: RMM
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