It is absolutely amazing how fast a year can fly by, and for many, my guess is this year has gone by much faster than some. As someone who attends quite a few trade events on an annual basis, I have the opportunity to sit down face to face with a host of MSPs and resellers who are moving towards the MSP model, and the dichotomy of success is amazing to me. Now, let's look back... and ahead.
While half of the channel seems to be growing at an amazing rate, the other half that I talk to seems to be focused primarily on making payroll. What is the difference? There are not any specific models or trends that stand out. Some of the successful companies are really still focused on product sales, while others are pure-play MSPs. Still others are transitioning away from being pure-play MSPs to a more blended model.
That having been said, let’s ask some of the folks in the industry who are doing incredibly well what their focus is for 2012 and see if we can glean some information from the results:
Question: What is your main focus for 2012? Where are you investing, and what do you hope to accomplish?
Perspectives from Ohio...Jeff Boate, SMS Group, Sidney, Ohio: Two key areas, private clouds and security. Security is going to drive the next ten years of IT. CEOs and CIOs are extremely concerned about exposure from a security perspective. Last year we saw managed services growth of 116% with a mix of 70% product sales to 30% services. Managed services is becoming an accepted solution in the Midwest, which seems to always be a few years behind what is happening on the coasts. Additionally, we focus on outsourcing specific needs of our new customers. Once we prove our value to a customer on one front, they will begin to turn to us to address other issues.
We think that continued focus on shrinking budgets at the customer level creates opportunity. We are projecting 9% growth in hardware in 2012, and 85% growth in managed services.
Perspectives from New Hampshire...MJ Shoer, Jenaly Technologies, Portsmouth N.H.: We are focusing on growth in both our client base and growth in our staff, I see a lot of growth in front of us, I can smell it. It has been an interesting year, our top line shows modest growth, but our bottom line is very significantly improved. We learned to work smarter and more effectively in 2011, which will allow us to invest in the company in 2012.
Focus for 2012 – We will add staff in helpdesk and project management. We will also focus on rolling out more proactive services around how our clients are using their technology. Can our clients be using technology to grow their business more effectively? We will build process around making certain we are cognizant of our customer’s goals and our delivery of solutions to address those goals. There seems to be quite a bit of low hanging fruit available when we focus on making the client’s business better.
Additionally, we added Cisco Unified Telecommunications and are going to take advantage of the opportunities around driving convergence. Also, we are updating our managed services offerings to include more all you can eat models. We have a tight grasp on our metrics now, and feel like we can step boldly, but safely, into this deliverable.
Bottom Line PerspectivesSo, what are the trends? I see a couple. First, both Jeff and MJ were absolutely ready to talk about their plans for next year, without any pause for thought. Clearly they have a handle on what is happening within their business, and where they need to go in 2012 and beyond. Second, both are focused on several things that seem to me crucial in any planning effort; customer needs, market opportunities, and the products they will need to bring to market in order to address those opportunities. Finally, both exuded confidence in the ability of their organization to be able to have a positive impact on their customer’s business. And why not? They have both been able to do so for years, and will likely continue with that trend.
As you start to plan for next year, or are putting the finishing touches on your goals, on behalf of everyone at Intronis, I want to wish you all the best for the holiday season and 2012. If there is anything we can do to help you be more successful in 2012, please let us know.
Ted Roller is VP of channel development at Intronis. Find out more about Intronis’ partner program. Guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.