Why do so many managed service provides spend so much time looking in the rear view mirror? That question popped into my head while moderating a session at the N-able Partner Summit last week.
Quite a few summit attendees told me they're concerned about Microsoft, Dell, Google, Amazon and other big vendors offering software as a service (SaaS) directly to their customers.
Perhaps I'm naive. But shouldn't MSPs be looking ahead and stepping on the gas, rather than looking back and worrying about big vendor competition?
Of course, it's healthy to understand and monitor your competition. But some MSPs seem distracted by Microsoft's moves.
Shareholders Come FirstYes, Microsoft will host applications directly for customers. And Microsoft may launch a managed services platform of its own.
Plenty of VARs and MSPs take issue with Microsoft's direct SaaS push. But let's face it: Microsoft had no choice in the matter. Faced with competition from Google and upstarts like Salesforce.com, Microsoft had to make a direct SaaS move. Failing to do so would have been laughable, especially since Microsoft must answer first to shareholders.
Still, Microsoft isn't abandoning the channel. And there are dozens of areas where MSPs can continue to innovate where Microsoft can't. Remember: Each time a managed service becomes a commodity, several new managed service options surface. Check out our Managed Services Hype Cycle for more information.
And as one MSP at the N-able conference put it: Microsoft's core expertise is developing applications, not hosting and optimizing them for customers.
Savvy MSPs own the customer relationship. I don't expect to ever change in the small business market.
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