Aspiring Managed Services Providers Engage at CompTIA Breakaway

A managed services community is finally taking shape with CompTIA -- the Computing Technology Industry Association. I don't have exact numbers, but I hear 80 to 90 people attended an MSP Partners session yesterday at the CompTIA Breakaway conference in Washington, D.C. And a large number of the attendees were resellers and VARs who are exploring recurring revenue business models.

CompTIA's efforts in the managed services market have taken some time to gain traction. CompTIA acquired MSP Partners, a vendor-led organization, in September 2009. Many of the early MSP Partners gatherings were heavy on vendors but light on VARs and MSPs. But it wasn't until May 2011 that CompTIA launched the MSP Partners Trustmark -- a business credential that helps MSPs stand out from the crowd.

Here at Breakaway, key industry influencers like Intronis VP of Channel Development Ted Roller; Level Platforms VP of Partner Development and Marketing Dan Wensley; and Waka Digital Media Corp. President and COO Jacob Braun are rallying resellers and aspiring MSPs. And within CompTIA itself, Corey Simpson serves as the MSP Partners community manager, while Jim Hamilton is VP of member relations. (Hamilton joined CompTIA through the MSP Partners acquisition.)

It sounds like the MSP Partners Trustmark is CompTIA's first step into a deeper managed services effort. Last I heard, the association was seeking to develop some sort of part II effort -- perhaps an accreditation (for companies) or certification (for individuals), though I still need to confirm that.

In some ways, the managed services market looks quite mature. The MSPAlliance, an MSP-centric association, has been around for a decade or more. But in other ways, the managed services industry seems like it's just getting started. Here at CompTIA Breakaway and at the Synnex Varnex conference earlier this year, it was easy to spot dozens of resellers and VARs who just wanted to learn the basics of managed services.

A new wave of MSPs could be coming -- though I don't want to hype the situation. We all know that thousands of resellers have tried and failed to master managed services. This next wave of resellers will also experience its share of managed services failures. But there's no doubt the MSP market is growing.

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