Ingram Micro Seismic Partner Conference: 3 Managed Services Trends

Ingram Micro Seismic Partner Conference: 3 Managed Services Trends

Ingram Micro Seismic VP Justin CrottyRoughly 175 solutions providers are gathering in Chicago this week for the Ingram Micro Seismic Partner Conference, which runs August 11 through 13.

Ingram Micro Seismic, driven by company VP Justin Crotty (pictured), adheres to the so-called Master MSP business model, which allows VARs to quickly leverage hosted managed services and SaaS applications. Here are three key trends I expect to see and/or explore at the event.

1. Think Business, Not Technology: Yes, there are technical tracks for attendees. But I'm far more intrigued by the sales/owner track -- where guest speakers will describe their strategies for demand generation and merchandising.

During our recent MSPmentor Live: CEO Exchange Webcasts, most attendees said their top challenges involved marketing and PR -- rather than technical issues.

MSP novices sometimes get overwhelmed by platform choices. But ultimately, the difference between success and failure more often involves sales and go-to-market strategies -- two issues I expect to hear about extensively at the Seismic event.

Gary Beechum, president and CEO of MSP University, will guide attendees through many of these challenges.

2. Hosted Microsoft Applications - Early Returns?: No doubt, plenty of MSPs are concerned about Microsoft offering hosted applications (particularly Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Dynamics CRM) directly to customers.

But Ingram earlier this year began hosting those applications for Seismic partners. Doug Plympton and Patrick Siska from groupSPARK will offer an early look at the Microsoft SaaS (software as a service) market.

3. When Will Managed Services Become A Commodity?: Actually, this is somewhat of a trick question. I'll be speaking Wednesday morning at the conference about the dreaded "commodity" term.

Alas, some MSPs will become commodity service providers -- the NetZeros of the managed services industry. But smart MSPs will think of managed services as a broadband pipe: You can continually pump new services and applications through that connection.

Remote monitoring and patch management are only the beginning. Check out MSPMentor's Managed Services Hype Cycle (based on Gartner's famed hype cycle chart) to get a feel for some of the next generation services that you can start to explore.

If you're at the Seismic conference, feel free to reach out to me (joe [at] And let me know what other trends you're exploring at the event.

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