Unisys: MSPs Need to Go to the Cloud or Die

In a Cloud Computing Expo presentation evocatively titled “Storm Clouds: Disruptive Technologies Create the New Normal,” Unisys VP of Global Outsourcing Solutions Sam Gross explained how users have come to expect constant streams of data on demand -- an expectation that’s completely shifting the market towards SaaS. Gross criticized the whole industry for being slow to adopt the cloud, but saved his harshest observations for MSPs. I was on the scene to hear him out.

“Those stick in the mud MSPs will vanish if they don’t change,” Gross said.

It’s a strong stance, and it’s hard to miss his meaning. While most of Gross’ presentation was spent talking about how Unisys had solved most, if not all, of the cloud’s security problems with their “Stealth” data-masking solution, he still made some excellent points in support of his argument.

The average customer, he says, doesn’t care how the service provider is managing their cloud platform, just that they have e-mail, phones, and whatever else they need to do business.

“It’s not the provisioning tools, it’s the content,” Gross said.

Most compellingly, Gross reiterated that cloud-delivered solutions allow for a hugely flexible business model. Basically, he says, MSPs who figure out how to combine cloud services with traditional services to be a “new breed” of solutions provider are going to be the ones who thrive in this changing IT climate.

There’s definitely something to his argument, but the fact remains that many MSPs just aren’t making money off the cloud. I suspect if you asked Gross -- and I intend to -- he’d say that they just haven’t hit on the right model yet, or that they’re being too rigid in their thinking. All the same, I still think it’s too early to issue a verdict on whether or not the cloud hype is justified.

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