Quest Software was announced the Best Backup/Continuity Offering winner at the CPI MSP Innovation Awards in New York on Thursday night.
Its MSP sales lead for data protection, Jack Dempster (pictured), answers our five crucial questions for MSPs.
1) What will a successful MSP look like in three to five years' time?
In this competitive landscape for outsourced IT services, the most successful MSPs are going to be those who are highly efficient in their operations. Each MSP must decide on their market area - it is much better to be highly focused and excel in a few offerings than to be spread too thinly. Whether taking a highly focused or broader approach, leveraging software solutions to limit the high overhead of man hours is critical to managing costs. Investing in technologies and training of staff to be ahead of the curve will help ensure that they are relevant to their clients for the long run.
2) What has been the most important development in the MSP space over the last 12 months?
Optimization and management of systems and data. Customers will be won or lost based on the MSP's ability to effectively manage costs and performance of their infrastructure and data retention. Both ensuring peak performance and helping clients manage expectations for cost of cloud services and data retention are critical. Being a valuable resource in the transition from CapEx to OpEx is vital to retaining client relationships.
3) If an MSP had to invest in just one new technology - which one should they pick and why?
Data and infrastructure management. As MSPs take on more and more services that encompass complete solutions for their customers there is a growing need to ensure all things are not just protected but also efficiently optimized. In a drive to reduce ongoing costs while maintaining a high level of service for their customers, MSPs should look towards solutions that not only help them onboard customer data and workloads, but also continue to monitor and optimize them for the best customer results. Efficient use of resources in all areas of computing, but especially primary and secondary storage needs to be maintained on a constant basis. Looking for solutions that provide an integrated view of an MSP's technology ecosystem will be a "must-have" requirement for 2019 and beyond.
4) Do you think MSPs should be outsourcing core functions such as their helpdesk and security
That really depends on the MSP and the specific offering. In today's environment with so many offerings for MSPs that allow them to supplement their core competencies with software and/or services provided by third parties (often white-labeled), doing so can allow the MSP to hyper-focus on their main offerings while leveraging the expertise of the third party. I do think it's critical for MSPs to maintain a direct relationship for high-touch services such as break-fix helpdesk, so outsourcing of these types of services must be thoroughly considered to make sure that the client is getting the personalized service they expect.
5) What's the biggest threat to an MSP's business today?
Complacency. Your competition is working to better their offerings and their sales teams are going after your clients every day. If your staff isn't trained up, your solutions don't address your needs, and your pricing doesn't allow for flexibility that your clients need, it's only a matter of time before they will move on. Even the best personal relationships with the IT manager can be uprooted by a lost backup, data breach, or more attractive cost proposal.