2012: End of the World — Or End of the World As We Know It?
For those of us that don’t think the world will end in December 2012, this month will bring about a time for Managed Service Providers to do some strategic planning, identifying business goals and outlining ways to accomplish company-wide initiatives. Technology seems to be evolving at an accelerated pace, bringing about both challenges and opportunities for MSPs. Since increasing revenue is likely a business goal for most companies, it’s important to think about ways to leverage IT environment changes in order to offer new services. To do so, let’s first evaluate two trends likely to impact every managed service provider.
Cloudy with a Chance of Opportunity – Why We Shouldn’t Fear the Unknown
Last year brought the introduction of many new cloud services from a variety of different technology vendors, from startups to long-standing technology leaders launching cloud tools. The explosive growth of the cloud computing market and availability of new solutions is a result of end user organization demand. Market dynamics, lower budgets and the wide-spread ‘do more with less’ mentality, dictate organizations’ need to explore moving to the cloud, mainly for tangible cost savings. Email, word processing, collaboration and a variety of other mission-critical applications move off-premise. While end user organizations begin to understand the value cloud-based applications and services can deliver, they will expect availability, security and performance to remain. For MSPs, with cloud computing adoption comes a real opportunity to customize service offerings that will support their clients’ cloud deployments.
As MSPs develop (and price) service offerings that include cloud-based applications or infrastructure, there are a few things to keep in mind; end user organizations need full service, 24×7 network monitoring, including monitoring of critical elements like traffic flow and bandwidth, if they are accessing applications and data from the cloud.
B.Y.O.D. – Yes, We Know, Your Employees Want to Use their iPhone.
Even more so than cloud computing, the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices like tablets is significantly impacting the corporate IT environment. Employees argue that bringing their own device into the corporate four walls will improve productivity. Many expect to access files and applications anywhere, on any device: At home on the couch on an iPad, in the airport on an Android, at a remote office on a Macbook and so on.
The consumerization of IT, be it the availability of mobile devices at relatively low prices or using Web-based applications such as business tools, empower employees to bisect the IT department. This raises a huge red flag as access to corporate data and network vulnerability can be significantly compromised
As with cloud computing, the B.Y.O.D. is a trend that can’t be overlooked. Instead, MSPs are presented with another opportunity to expand their services through offering support to control and secure their customer’s IT environment. By incorporating mobile device management into their existing service model, MSP’s are able to put their client’s security concerns at ease.
MSPs can choose to be reactive or proactive regarding these two major emerging IT trends. The importance of differentiating their service offerings amongst competitors is so important, now especially more than ever. As we make our way into what we can only hope is a successful 2012, take some time to think about what your business is currently offering and how leveraging advancements in technology will assist in generating what we’re all after – growth!