Seven Managed Services Blogs MSPmentor Didn't Write

After a one-week vacation, I'm plugging back into MSPmentor and our sister sites. My email inbox is flooded with news tips, rumors and perspectives about the managed services market (thanks to those who pinged me). Based on those tips and some other observations, here are seven managed services blogs I didn't write during my vacation -- covering the week ending July 8, 2011.

7. Next Move: Former Do IT Smarter CEO Lane Smith has exited the well-known Master MSP. Smith leaves Do IT Smarter roughly nine months after ClearPointe acquired the company. We'll be checking in with Smith to see where he's heading next. Plus, we'll reach out to ClearPointe for an update on the company's managed services strategy.

6. Mixed Emotions: Microsoft is quietly showing MSPs lots of love at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC11) in Los Angeles. Companies and organizations such as  CA Technologies, ConnectWise, HTG Peer Groups and Level Platforms are on hand, as are dozens of MSPs -- several of which have scored private meetings with Microsoft's cloud team. But it's a big crowd of 12,000 people. Channel Chief Jon Roskill and CEO Steve Ballmer did not mention the managed services trend at all during this morning's keynotes.

5. You're Hired: Watch for a major distributor and a major IT services franchisee to announce strategic hires in the next few weeks. The potential hires have deep managed services expertise and are well-known to SMBs working within the managed services market.

4. Beta News: The next Windows Intune release has entered beta testing. Windows Intune is a cloud-based remote management platform for Windows devices. As I've stated before, I think Windows Intune may appeal to large enterprises that need to manage large fleets of Windows PCs and laptops. But I don't the initial Windows Intune release caught on with MSPs because it's only designed to manage Windows and largely ignores Mac, Android and other third-party platforms.

3. MSPs In the Cloud: Over in Las Vegas, the Cisco Live conference has kicked off for customers and partners. Cisco is showcasing several MSPs that have become true cloud service providers. I'll share more details soon on our sister site, TalkinCloud. In the meantime, Cisco is also fighting off some distractions -- including rumored layoffs.

2. Small World: While seated in a Starbucks in Oakland this past Saturday night, a fellow coffee drinker noticed that I was spending considerable time on the MSPmentor site. He approached me and asked if I was involved with the site. He introduced himself as Nick Hensley, operations manager at Xantrion, an MSPmentor 100 company.

Nick and I had never met before. But it was a great conversation -- focused mostly on the great economic disconnect: While the U.S. economy limps along, the best MSPs continue to grow because they are helping SMBs that don't want to make in-house IT hires.

1. Life-Work Balance: I spent last week with my family in San Francisco as well as Yosemite National Park. I could write a few chapters about why the vacation was important to my family but I'll spare you all the background drama. Instead, I will simply say: There are about eight weeks left to summer here in the U.S. What steps are you taking to ensure you actually connect with your family and disconnect from your keyboard?

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