Everyone Wants You to be an MSP

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Everyone Wants You to be an MSP

Whether it is the keynote at a channel conference or a master agency, everywhere you look the message seems to be: Yo Agent, become a MSP!

So for a few years now, the keynotes, most notably from a Gartner analyst, have been a singular message: become a cloud broker or service provider or die!

CLECs have been trying to transition to cloud - most notably TelePacific, EarthLink and Cbeyond (now Birch). As TBI's Ken Mercer writes, "We've been selling telecom services for years. Now our carriers like CenturyLink are having conversations with us on how they compete with the likes of IBM by offering professional services. Services such as consulting, managed services, system integration, outsourced IT and bundled IT packages: hardware, software and services with monthly pricing."

The transition to PS (professional services) and MS (managed services) is the path up the stack from network (Layer 1-3) to closer to the user's device (Layer 7 of the OSI stack). It is stickier (or not if done wrong or with poor customer service).

Telarus, a master agency, bought VXSuite to allow for network monitoring by agents. This means that even agents can do network monitoring - a service that just VARs were doing a few short years ago. Now network monitoring is expected. Proactive monitoring is desired. RMM (remote monitoring and management powered by Labtech, Autotask and so many others for the VAR/MSP space) was the sole province of the MSP. Now CLECs, ITSPs (VoIP), and now master agents are in the space. Everyone wants a piece of that pie.

While the Service Providers want their partners to sell more cloud - today that almost means anything besides a pipe - they forget that selling network is a replacement sale and selling cloud or MS or PS is an entirely different kind of sale!!! Big disconnect.

I have no idea why C-LInk thinks that they are competing with IBM ??? or that VAR partners are going to dump their own RMM for yours. Or how the partners are going to get enough sales skills to make the transition from transactional/replacement network sales to MS, PS and cloud sales. It is a gap.

And the funny thing is that the vendors themselves aren't exactly knocking the sales of these services out of the park. The Mets lost the World Series because they were batting for home runs. Our industry should be the Kansas City Royals, hitting singles and doubles all game long to the finish line. How did they get there? Training, batting practice, good coaching and focus.

So as we move to a sector that resembles MSP World, remember a few things:

As partners, it is your business. You don't work for the masters or their masters (carriers). Design your business to what you want it to be.

Keep in mind that commissions for stuff we sell now are diminishing and probably going away.

It takes a plan to transition to cloud. Not everyone that tried was successful, because it is about planning and execution.

There is a skills gap - get training! Not just product but sales training!

Leverage your partners to help you get where you want to go.

Have Patience. This will not happen overnight.

Good luck!

See you in Ft Lauderdale in January for Channel Vision Expo, ITEXPO, MSP EXPO!!

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