MSPs Have Bright Future Managing Cloud
MSPs have managed a lot of objects over nearly 30 years of existence. What those objects are and where they are located, generally, do not matter. MSPs are accustomed to managing objects they neither own nor can physically see. This means that regardless of who purchased the device, or where it is housed, MSPs can still provide a valuable service in the ongoing monitoring and management of those objects just like they have been doing since the beginning of the managed services era.
While cloud computing has been disruptive since roughly 2008, there is a future role for MSPs to play in the cloud and it is NOT merely reselling cloud applications!
Managed Cloud Spending
According to research firm IDC, the global "managed cloud services" market will hit $62 billion by 2021, growing at roughly 18% CAGR.
"The managed cloud services market is creating fundamental changes in the outsourcing industry involving the entrance of new providers, partnership ecosystems, investment requirements and opportunities, though also bringing with it some critical challenges to players shifting from a world of non-cloud (legacy) outsourcing to managed cloud services," said David Tapper, vice president, IDC's Outsourcing and Managed Cloud Services program.
Translation? MSPs need to be comfortable managing objects in the cloud, and stop focusing exclusively on "on-premise" or traditional objects. This is not to say that traditional on-prem devices will go away. They won't. But, it does mean that cloud will be making up an increasingly large percentage of IT outsourcing spending from customers.
Although $62 billion is relatively small compared to roughly $250 billing in "IT services" spending, which MSPAlliance projects as the approximate number being spent on global managed services today. The rapid growth of cloud based managed services objects does represent a new and predictable rise objects requiring "traditional" managed services attention.
In 2008, many MSPs were disrupted by the sudden and dramatic shift away from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud. Since that time, MSPs have never been the same. Most of the messaging post 2008 around cloud has focused on getting MSPs to resell public cloud applications; a move which has limited appeal to MSPs because it turns them back into VARs.
The Proof is in the Cloud
The opportunity for MSPs to truly monitor and manage cloud based objects should be very natural. This growth of cloud managed services could also be explained by customers who somehow thought that moving to the cloud would remove any monitoring and management oversight. Obviously this was an incorrect assumption.
MSPs do need to evaluate their remote monitoring and management tools, and make sure they are capable of tackling cloud based objects. MSPs also need to engage with their customers and educate them on the many variations of cloud environments and how they all can fit into the customers' long term strategies. In other words, one cloud does not fit all.
As proof that there is, in fact, a great deal of opportunity for MSPs to manage cloud deployments, look no further than where venture capitalists are investing their money. At the time of this writing, Reliam, a MSP "that provides managed services for businesses that want somebody else to manage their public cloud deployments on platforms like AWS and Microsoft Azure", announced that it raised $17 million in funding.
MSPs have a big role to play in the cloud. And, most importantly, that role is not exclusively reselling applications.