Why MSP Rivals Are Ready to Partner

The spirit of former Novell CEO Ray Noorda lives on in the managed services market. In the late 1980s, Noorda coined the term "coopetition" -- which described rival technology companies that competed but also cooperated to grow a market.

Such is the case in the managed services sector. In recent weeks, both the MSP Alliance and MSP Partners have formed vendor advisory panels to help grow the overall market. The advisory boards will, in some cases, feature representatives from rival companies looking across the table from one another. Consider these recent moves:

Kaseya is the first company to join MSP Partners' new advisory board, and Kaseya also joins the organization as a sponsor for 2008. Dan Shapiro, senior VP of marketing at Kaseya, will represent Kaseya on the board.

MSP Partners was founded by Cisco Systems, Intel, Ingram Micro, Level Platforms and Microsoft. Although Kaseya and Level Platforms compete fiercely with one another, they and other platform providers are determined to grow the market through their work within MSP Partners. (For perspective on the MSP industry's growth, listen to this podcast with Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford.)

Meanwhile, the MSP Alliance recently launched a vendor advisory board featuring N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt, with Autotask CEO Bob Godgart also expected to join.

At first glance, MSP Alliance and MSP Partners have similar missions. But representatives from both organizations are quick to clarify the ongoing roles of each organization. MSP Alliance is comprised mostly of MSPs and driven by MSPs, according to CEO Charles Weaver. MSP Partners, in contrast, is a vendor-launched organization interested in growing the overall MSP market.

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