From The Expert Feature Article
April 11, 2013

Seven Things MSPs Must Think About Now

Avaya (News - Alert), a hardware-centric spinoff of Lucent, knows a few things about the communications market, and shared some trends it sees for the benefit of Managed Service Providers (MSP).

Avaya didn’t just run off at the mouth unprepared. Instead, it went to a half dozen experts who came up with seven things to think about.

The first issue has to do with complexity, as in dealing with ever-increasing complexity. In the old proprietary days, a shop might have one mainframe architecture, one minicomputer architecture (remember those?), and clients – either IBM (News - Alert) PCs, or in the real old days, terminals.

The rise of open systems creates far more complex and difficult to support environments. Add in BYOD, and you have a real nightmare. This, however, creates a marvelous opportunity for an MSP who can manage all this chaos.

Video is also changing how IT is done. Video isn’t just in the form of conferencing; it also comes in the form of smartphone videos that flood the network, along with millions of Web videos IT has to make room for.

Fortunately, there are a range of Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) providers there to help.

Real-time analytics offer an opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes to understand what is happening within their infrastructure, gain deep insight into customer interactions, and even run speech analytics to mine data from customer conversations (bringing up a range of technical, legal and ethical issues no doubt).

The cloud has choices. It’s here to stay, and will only grow, but not all shops are willing to move to the public cloud. To gain utility style computing, they instead will build their own private clouds. Which to choose, and perhaps whether to go hybrid, are questions facing all IT pros.

Communications support is moving from reactive to proactive. This trend is especially true for MSPs. After all, would you rather solve a customer’s problem before it happens, or after they complain?

MSPs services set to rise. The cloud has shown how great it is to not have large applications taking up in-house resources. But the cloud doesn’t do away with the need to manage your key applications. By taking it the next step, MSPs truly free businesses to focus on creating true differentiation, rather than being bogged down in ‘me-too’ IT chores.

Last but not least, everyone from IT, to end users, to cloud providers to MSPs must deal with the inexorable rise of mobile computing.

Meanwhile, Avaya has some advice for would-be buyers of MSP wares, in the form of these seven questions:

Will the proposed service partner support your business strategy now and in the future?

Do you trust them to have the necessary expertise and bandwidth to provide maintenance, deliver support services or assume Managed Services responsibilities?

Will they become trusted advisors that stay engaged and serve as an extension of your IT organization and business?

Do they provide a portfolio of offers that span the entire service continuum and have the necessary flexibility to ensure a smooth deployment of Managed Services?

What applications, diagnostics checks or analytic tools do they leverage to anticipate any problems or hidden issues?

Do they provide a single point of contact that can quickly swarm experts to resolve an issue in your network?

Do they really know you? Understand your solution?

Edited by Braden Becker