MSPs need to lead customers to mobile, social and cloud

by Ron on May 31, 2013

Managed Service Providers need to help their clients by leading the way to future trends like mobile, social and cloud. MSPs have to be thought leaders for clients around mobile, social and cloud.


There are a number of trends having a significant impact on IT these days including mobile, social and the cloud –and if these changes are affecting in-house IT shops, than as a managed service provider (MSP), you need to be paying attention too –and helping lead your clients into the future.

It’s always tricky when it comes to presenting new methods of doing things. Sometimes your clients will be open to hearing about these new ways of doing business, and other times quite the opposite, but if you want to be seen as a thought leader, sometimes you have to show your clients the way.

Chuck Cailo writing on the Midsize Insider blog recently offered some insight on how to take your MSP business into the future. From a mobile perspective, you could encourage your clients to move toward a Bring Your Own Device strategy and offer ways to secure those devices, or more importantly the enterprise data and content on that device as it goes in motion.

Securing content in motion is truly the new enterprise content management imperative. That’s because content is no longer stored behind the cozy confines of your client’s firewall while employees sit at beige boxes and do their work. On the contrary it’s on the move and your client’s employees are accessing and using that content on a variety of devices. It’s up to you as MSP to show your clients the way and suggest ways of securing that content as it moves in the world.

Being social doesn’t necessarily mean using public social networks like Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn–although that can be part of any strategy–but it also involves building internal social networks to improve communication, flatten hierarchies, encourage innovation and provide a way to identify subject experts and share knowledge.

There are many examples of successful social networks such as this one from health insurer Humana, which has successfully implemented an enterprise social network with over 26,000 members and growing in just 3 years. But building a network of this type presents unique challenges and the enterprise is littered with stories of failure and abandonment. As a trusted MSP, you are in a position to lead the way helping your customer build a successful enterprise social network.

As for the cloud, which can be the glue holding mobile and social together, offering ways to give you access to services on any device, anywhere, anytime. And you can become almost an OEM for cloud services if you can find ways to package cloud services in a creative way taking advantage of APIs to build cloud solutions. You can work with your customers to understand the options, whether it’s infrastructure or platform or software being offered as a service in the cloud

Once you’ve built your own expertise around different cloud offerings you can help steer your clients toward the offerings and approaches that make most sense to them.

As mobile, social and cloud along with consumerization and bring your device (BYOD) take hold in the enterprise, it’s up to MSPs to become experts and thought leaders around these technologies and to lead your customers when necessary to the approaches that make most sense for each one.

Photo Credit:  (c) Can Stock Photo

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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1 Bruce Wells May 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Great article Ron. I couldn’t agree more. My client base ranges from indifference on these items to wanting to do it all and do it all now. As their MSP it is our job to analyze what they want to do (or stimulate ideas as to what they can do) and present them with a rational a secure method for accomplishing something that meets their business objective. MSP’s need to step up and play a role beyng the traditional monitoring and help desk functions!

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