Microsoft: Waking Up to Managed Services?

Microsoft: Waking Up to Managed Services?

microsoft-managed-services-partner-programAnother sleeping giant is waking up to the managed services opportunity. Microsoft has launched a managed services landing page on its partner web site, and is beginning to connect the dots between managed services, software as a service (SaaS) and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

For starters, Microsoft has launched a Managed Services landing page on its Partner Program website. Instead of pitching specific managed services products on the page, the software giant is quick to direct readers to information about Software Plus Services and Exchange Hosted Services. Translation: Microsoft sees SaaS as a natural recurring revenue add-on for MSPs.

Microsoft also prominently mentions educational resources like MSP Partners, MSP University and MSPAlliance on the company's Managed Services landing page.

Update, 11:32am Eastern, June 12: This perspective from MSP University CIO Erick Simpson just landed in my inbox:

"Microsoft is working to align its hosted services with the managed services movement and give its partners deliverables that remain relevant and allow them to compete in the era of the cloud. As you know, some aspects of Microsoft's hosted offerings have caused quite a stir within their partner base; but whether you agree with Microsoft's strategy or not, they are providing a relatively simple way for their partners to move client solutions to the cloud, thereby simplifying management and creating a recurring stream of revenue..."

Walk Before You Run

Until now, Microsoft has mostly been a silent giant in the managed services market. Microsoft hinted in October 2008 that it was considering a managed services-oriented product that has "yet to be launched in the market."

Will Microsoft launch -- or acquire -- a suite of RMM (remote monitoring and management) or PSA (professional services automation) software? Still too soon to say.

In the meantime, Microsoft continues to strengthen its longstanding partnerships with MSP-focused software companies.

The software giant was at Autotask this week filming CEO Bob Godgart for some sort of SaaS-oriented messaging, according to Autotask's Twitter feed. And Level Platforms has announced a strategy to help MSPs monitor Microsoft's BPOS applications, which include Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other SaaS offerings.

Check in with your PSA and RMM software providers, and you'll likely discover ongoing relationships with Microsoft.

The Start of Something Big?

Much like Microsoft, networking giant Cisco Systems is waking up to the managed services opportunity. During  Cisco Partner Summit in Boston, the networking company announced plans to revamp its managed services partner program.

When Cisco and Microsoft start talking about the managed services industry within days of each other, it's a clear sign of things to come...

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