Roughly 220 managed service providers and VARs are set to converge in Orlando, Fla., at the HTG Peer Group meetings. Cloud computing will be a central theme for the meeting. But there will also be a big focus on so-called "legacy plans." Here's what to expect at the HTG gathering, and the clues it may offer about the MSP industry's evolution.
First a little background. According to HTG's web site:
An HTG peer group is a group of 6-12 like-minded IT company leaders who meet quarterly in a non-competitive environment to network and discuss issues specific to each member’s concerns as a company owner, president or manager.HTG Peer Groups members are flocking to Orlando the week of Nov. 2 for their face-to-face conference. Most HTG members will also attend the ConnectWise Partner Summit (Nov. 4-6, Orland0). As you may recall, ConnectWise and HTG Peer Groups signed a strategic alliance in June 2009.
What's Your Legacy?Many MSPs and VARs struggle to develop a succession plan -- a strategy that details exactly how the company will be owned and/or managed in the event of a death, change of ownership, etc.
But the HTG Peer Group members are taking a slightly different approach to long-term planning. "This quarter we focus on our legacy plans - what members want to happen as a result of their life and how that impacts their company going forward," says HTG Peer Group founder Arlin Sorensen. "This is new territory for many members to really think through and plan so it will be a focal point."
I have to admit: We do have a written succession plan in place at MSPmentor and its parent company, Nine Lives Media Inc. But we haven't really thought about "legacy" planning. Sometimes we get so consumed by our day-to-day business and family lives, we forget to stop and think about the bigger picture. I'll be curious to hear more about the legacy planning during the HTG gathering.
Additional ThemesSome other big themes will also emerge at the HTG gathering, including:
- Cloud strategies, including a joint white paper developed with ChannelInsider. The cloud was a big topic of discussion earlier this month at the N-able Partner Summit. Plenty of MSPs are trying to decide whether to compete or cooperate with Microsoft's own Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and Windows Azure cloud efforts, among others.
- The quarterly board review format, where each company will address their peers in a board review format. "We have a set of metrics and topics that they will address that allow their peers to provide targeted guidance," says Sorensen.
- The economy will still be a hot topic. "The Midwest seems to be getting a dose of what the coasts had earlier. With the state of Iowa announcing 10% across the board budget cuts effective immediately, it has things in a bit of turmoil," says Sorensen.
- Marketing and sales strategies, including a program with KLA to work on building sales organizations.
- Vendor Relationships, including some more potential news involving ConnectWise, Hewlett-Packard and Ingram Micro.
Bottom LineOverall, Sorensen says, HTG Peer Group members are doing well. "Q3 has been stronger in many cases," he says. "There are still some depressed markets out there, but I have been very pleased that our membership has done as well as they have through it all. I would love to take credit for HTG in their success, and while I know HTG has helped, we have great members that are the cream of the crop and are making the right decisions."
Many of those strategic decisions will be analyzed more closely during next week's HTG meetings.
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