Anecdotal Growth in the Channel
Last week was a pretty interesting time in the channel and, as usual, much of the interesting news was announced at SMB Nation. Some of it was made publicly, and some of it was not. What were some of the interesting trends — and the potential implications for MSPs? Read on.
Here are a few highlights:
- We witnessed the launch of ChannelEyes by Bob Godgart, founder of Autotask (see more below).
- ASCII hosted its annual ASCII Cup celebration to recognize vendors who, according to Jerry Koutavas, president of ASCII, build “well-received, channel-friendly solutions that resonate with our community.” Four of the five companies recognized were at least partially cloud-focused, while the other is making significant statements about its future cloud engagement.
- Throughout the vendor community that was represented at SMB Nation, I repeatedly heard how impressed they were with the quality and focus of the MSPs in attendance. In addition, there was a certain buzz and excitement about the future of the channel, which may not have been entirely new, but was markedly different than the energy level from just a few years ago.
So what does it all mean? In my opinion, it means the current channel is becoming increasingly relevant on a larger stage, likely a result of the promotion of cloud computing (maybe obvious). But there is a foundational undertone to all of this that is extremely important. Channel resellers, especially MSPs, are getting better at what they do. I think that is pretty cool.
Let’s look at some evidence:
- Trade shows have been transformed into training and education events. Everywhere. CompTIA Breakaway, SMB Nation and every ASCII event this year was deep in educational content. All the mainstream PSA (professional services automation) vendors now have their own events and they are among the largest channel conferences. There are well-attended annual events that teach how to market, sell, build and manage your MSP business.
- Industry coaches seem to be everywhere and they appear to be thriving. They have different focuses and different deliverables, with existing and aspiring MSPs signing up in mass.
- Bob Godgart, an industry veteran and visionary, is moving forward with development of ChannelEyes, intended to be an industry focused social network for the channel audience.
- Investment in channel-focused vendors is significant – just read MSPmentor on any given day to read about the latest venture capital news.
- Acquisition activity amongst MSPs is occurring on what seems like a weekly basis, which was not the case just a few years ago.
There are literally hundreds of other examples of MSPs who are focusing on building their businesses, training their people, and defining deliverables—as opposed to just taking orders. I look forward to a time when we can refer to the days of the “trunk slammer” as a funny narrative about how the channel evolved, and I think we may be an awful lot closer than we realize.