What Is Managed Services 3.0?

Cisco Systems Senior Director Al Safarikas, Autotask CEO Bob Godgart and THINKstrategies Managing Director Jeff Kaplan each work for vastly different organizations -- massive, midsize and small companies. Still, they have something in common: They are evangelizing the move to next-generation Managed Services.

So what is Managed Services 3.0? Marketing hype, or a true shift in the MSP market? Here are some key thoughts from Godgart, Safarikas and Kaplan.

According to Kaplan's blog entry:

Managed Services 3.0 represents the confluence of three important forces: More powerful and cost-effective enabling technologies (particularly SaaS); more compelling marketing messages and effective marketing tactics; and more committed leadership and sophisticated management.
Safarikas, senior director of Cisco's Service Provider Managed Services group, offers these thoughts:
Managed Services 3.0 can give all aspiring xSPs an opportunity to assume greater responsibility for their customers’ IT/network management requirements and establish a more strategic relationship with the most demanding business decision-makers.

Rather than just supplying bandwidth and responding to RFP requests, savvy xSPs can proactively address their customers’ predictable business technology alignment needs, and thereby gain a competitive advantage.
According to Godgart, next-generation MSPs will increasingly collaborate with one another, through a trend known as outsourcing management. Instead of being locked to a single MSP platform, service providers will be able to coordinate customer tickets and other project information across multiple platforms such as:
  • Professional Services Automation (PSA) systems
  • Remote administration and monitoring platforms
  • And service provider marketplaces (such as the Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN) and OnForce)
I hesitate to brand anything "Managed Services 3.0" because defining the term is a bit tricky. But I think it's clear that the early adopter stage for managed services is coming to an end. And we are seeing a shift to next-generation business models that will require hosted SaaS and multi-partner engagements.
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