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Managed Services: The Best Are Getting Better

Managed Services: The Best Are Getting Better

managed services salesDespite the falling economy, business is looking up for top managed service providers. Indeed, top MSPs are generating better margins and more revenue per customer than ever according to the latest MSP Partners/Institute for Partner Education and Development (IPED) research into the state of the managed services market. Check out these highlights.

The performance of top MSPs is particularly impressive, considering the research was conducted at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 -- when the economy was in a free-fall. Not only are top MSPs getting better, but they increasingly exhibit the same types of behaviors as other top MSPs, establishing clearly identifiable industry best practices.  Both of these facts lead to an inescapable conclusion, efficient process and effective execution make the difference in successful managed services delivery.

The Gap is Getting Wider…

Best-in-class MSPs (defined as the top 20% in gross margin) earned on average a whopping 65% in gross margins in 2008 and had over twice the revenue per customer. In comparison, average MSPs earned 36.7% in gross margins.  Even more compelling is that the gap between best in class and average MSPs increased from 2007 to 2008.  Clearly there is plenty of money to be made for all MSPs in managed services, but the research shows that the best MSPs are getting better.

Clearly Identifiable Best Practices…

MSP Partners/IPED’s research identified 7 key performance indicators amongst top MSPs.  These performance indicators range from areas of strategic investment (training, infrastructure, marketing, and services) to operational processes (effective selling practices, broadening service offerings and strategic planning).  More than any other year, successful MSPs are demonstrating the same behavior in delivering managed services.

Conclusion: It’s Not About What You Sell But How You Sell It

Managed services is no longer an interesting idea around new technology -- the business model is proven and the technology is sound.  The research shows that managed services is continuing to grow in importance as a part of solution providers’ offering (85% of solution providers will have a managed services offering in 2009).

But despite managed services’ place in the limelight, success for MSPs in 2009 and beyond will be based upon efficient process and effective execution – how you sell, not what you sell.  To learn more about managed services best practices or our 2009 managed services research, please visit

Jim Hamilton is executive director of MSP Partners. MSPmentor is updated multiple times daily. Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe to our Enewsletter, RSS and Twitter feeds.
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