Vertical Market Managed Services: An Easier Path?

It sounds so easy: Take your managed services business, promote EMR (electronic medial records) solutions and generate profits in the health care vertical. In reality, I suspect many MSPs struggle or completely fail when they start pitching EMR solutions to healthcare organizations and doctors offices. Is there an easier path forward? Perhaps yes...

Take a look at some of the best vertical market MSPs and you'll notice an interesting trend: They typically promote horizontal solutions into vertical markets. Examples include:

  • ETG, a healthcare MSP, promotes technology assessment services, telecom services, VoIP, cloud computing, network security, remote access and offsite data protection into its vertical. ETG walks away from business outside of the healthcare vertical, and sales were up 50 percent last year.
  • HEIT, a financial services MSP, promotes managed security, managed compliance and managed performance solutions into community banks, credit unions and other financial services firms.
  • Silicon East Inc., a real estate MSP, promotes secure networking, Intel vPro, VoIP, and video surveillance solutions into the real estate vertical.

Common Ground

Of course, I suspect each of those three MSPs has expertise in specific vertical market applications. A key example: HEIT’s PCS-4 platform was "built exclusively for banks and credit unions" to align technology with business strategy, the company says.

Still, there's a lot of common technical ground between the three MSPs, each of which serves a completely different vertical market. A potential takeaway: To get started in a vertical market perhaps the easiest step is to take horizontal solutions you already know -- VoIP, storage, security -- and stand them up into a specific vertical.

Long before you start pitching industry-specific applications like EMR, you'll need to walk the walk and talk the talk in your chosen vertical. Learn the terminology. Join local associations. Understand pain points that are specific to the vertical. Then seek out solutions that fit the patient.

Don't repeat the mistake I've seen so many other MSPs make: Signing up to sell or support a specific vertical market application before you even understand potential customer needs. Instead, play it safe. Apply your existing horizontal know-how into a vertical.

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