MSPWorld: 6 Potential Trends for Managed Services Providers

MSPWorld: 6 Potential Trends for Managed Services Providers

MSPWorld, part of IT Expo West, runs Sept. 13-15 in Austin, Texas, this week. So what exactly should managed services providers expect to see and hear at the conference? Here are six potential clues from MSPmentor.

1. Some Familiar Faces: The opening session will cover top business challenges and opportunities for MSPs in 2012. Former Do IT Smarter CEO Lane Smith will be on hand, as will MSPmentor 250 members Dan Wilson (Waypoint Solutions Group) and Mark Scott (MSPXchange and The Utility Company). MSPXchange Ltd. is a private equity firm focused purely on MSPs. The Utility Group offers franchising opportunities to MSPs -- a market where Geeks on Call is now seeking to make a renewed push.

2. Cloud Backup and Recovery: I'd expect at least one major online backup company to announce a major cloud services upgrade for MSPs. The announcement could come as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 13. No doubt, the cloud storage market is extremely crowded at this point. And we're seeing signs of market consolidation -- including Vembu's buyout of Cloud Nucleus, announced last week.

3. Money Matters: Rob Bissett, VP of product management at 6fusion, will be on a panel exploring practical steps to jump-starting cloud-based services. Bissett is a name to know in the cloud services and managed services market. He previously held a key post at N-able Technologies. And 6fusion raised another $7 million for cloud management and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) funding last month. Now is prime opportunity to ask Bissett how those funds will potentially help MSPs working with 6fusion.

4. One Company, Multiple Initiatives: CA Technologies is an interesting company to watch in the MSP and cloud services software market. At one end of the spectrum, I expect Ken Vanderweel -- marketing director, service providers, Nimsoft -- to be on hand. (CA owns Nimsoft, a mid-market MSP software provider.) At the other end of the spectrum, I think CA will likely talk up its Service Assurance strategy, which could help MSPs to meet their cloud SLAs (service level agreements). And somewhere in the middle of that CA strategy sits 3Tera AppLogic, for building an application-centric cloud. In short, this ain't the old enterprise software company known as Computer Associates. The newer CA has quite an extensive service provider accelerator effort under way.

5. Same Company, Simplified Strategy: Rewind to June 2011. At the time, MSPmentor noted that NTRglobal was finally sharpening its MSP focus. The company's remote support software is quite popular within key market segments. NTRglobal has been strengthening relationships with BMC, ConnectWise, N-able Technologies and SpiceWorks, just to name a few. Grab NTRglobal CEO Gilles Samoun at the event if you want to get a feel for how the company is helping MSPs with remote support.

6. Next Moves: Ultimately, it sounds like a big theme for the event involves the blending on remote managed IT services with cloud services. The big question: What type of service level agreements (SLAs) can MSPs develop for managing customers' on-premise equipment and cloud applications? I'll be poking around to see if MSPs find the answers at MSPWorld, hosted by the MSPAlliance.

That's all for now. MSPmentor will be back as potential MSPWorld news and chatter pops up.

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