Peer groups -- which allow VARs and managed service providers to measure their business performance against each other -- continue to evolve rapidly. The latest move involves a strategic alliance between HTG Peer Groups and ConnectWise. Here are some details, plus a podcast with HTG Founder Arlin Sorensen and ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini.
No doubt, peer groups are a hot trend across the IT channel. Organizations like HTG, True Profits and Taylor Business Group allow VARs and MSPs from non-competing geographies to hold closed-door, confidential business performance meetings. (Side note: True Profits' website has been offline for at least a few weeks... I need to check that out.)
Problems and SolutionsBut here's a key challenge: Many of the peer group members may not be running the same business reports. And they might measure their business performance using different metrics.
The solution, according to ConnectWise's Bellini, is a common business operating system that allows peer group members to speak the same business and financial language.
Yes, Bellini's "common business operating system" vision has some self-serving aspects. But it's also accurate. And Bellini is investing in the effort with new tools for the HTG peer groups.
- Here's my podcast conversation with Bellini and Sorensen (recorded June 29).
The Age of StandardizationWe've all worked in companies where multiple departments use different CRM and ERP systems. The result was a hodgepodge of information, rather than standard business discussions across the company. Gradually, large businesses began to standardize their internal ERP and CRM systems so that all departments were working from the same play book.
The same holds true in the managed services market. MSPs that come together in peer groups need common tools to see and manage their businesses, and share best practices. In HTG's case, the stated "common platform" is ConnectWise.
In some other cases, we're seeing vendors (such as Autotask and N-able, respectively) form peer groups around their respective user bases.
I have dozens of additional thoughts on the evolution of peer groups. And I'll be back with more thoughts -- including some risks that peer groups could encounter in the years ahead.
But in the meantime, here's the podcast with Bellini and Sorensen, explaining the ConnectWise and HTG connection. You'll find it below.
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