MSP Today Expert Feature
August 02, 2016

With Managed Services on the Rise, How Can Telcos Stay Ahead?

Managed services are a great way to differentiate one telecom provider from another, especially since an increasing amount of infrastructure means that it's easier to offer these services than ever. That same ease makes it tough to use as a competitive edge, however, and managed service providers (MSPs) are working harder than ever to stay ahead of the competition. Their tactics, meanwhile, might just surprise you, and CloudJumper revealed some of these recently.

Some of the strategies are actually fairly simple, though the execution isn't always easy. Things like stepping up the available knowledge base to reflect changes in the field, to reconsidering licensing models to make a better value proposition for potential customers as a means to repel newcomers to the market. Additionally, consider branching out into automation, and don't forget to stay focused so as not to diffuse resource availability. Solutions alone are valuable, CloudJumper notes, but the best value comes from a combination of solutions and strategies.

A report from Ovum (News - Alert) details the situation's stakes: telecom firms are projected to grow to over $297 billion just by 2020, with new information and communications technology (ICT) revenues kicking in the largest share of that growth, around $173 billion total. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9 percent between 2015 and 2020, and that means a huge number of competitors eager to claim a slice of that rapidly-growing market.

The bad news here is that many firms are looking to do about the same thing in response: using infrastructure that's already in place to gain a leg up and go beyond voice and data services. That means a lot of the same things, like backup and disaster recovery functions, email and security systems. Some are branching out into software as a service (SaaS (News - Alert)) and workspace as a service (WaaS) among other as-a-service offerings.

Half the point of a competitive advantage is that it's something that can't be done readily by other firms in the field. Price is one of the first things that companies think of when it comes to forging an edge in the field—a lower profit margin can be accepted as the price of getting into a new market, but a profit that's too low isn't sustainable for long—but it's too easy for others to lower price. Market strategies are a much better competitive edge as competitors can't replicate that edge readily. Different products are another example, and a combination of strategy and product, as CloudJumper noted, is a prime example of an excellent differentiator.

Getting an edge in any market can be tough, especially when there are plenty of competitors. Having that edge is vital to ongoing survival, and CloudJumper's got some great tips on hand for businesses looking for an edge.

Edited by Alicia Young