Grow Your MSP By Embracing the New Hybrid, Multi-Cloud World

By Bill Yates

The open-source revolution has come to cloud computing. In today’s hybrid, multi-cloud universe, how do Managed Services Providers (MSP) take advantage of the digital disruption to grow their businesses?

“Companies are looking to leverage open-source ecosytems,”says Jorge Ros, director of global platform sales at IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software. He spoke the ITEXPO in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Feb. 14, on “How to Thrive in Today's Open, Hybrid, Multi-cloud World.” The discussion was part of the MSP Services track at the conference.

Front-office services, mobile applications and social-media functions all have moved to the cloud. “The low-hanging fruit has move to the cloud,” Ros says.

Ros says the next verticals to move to the cloud are the highly regulated entities, such as healthcare, government and banking. “You’re going to see a lot more specialization,” he says. To compete in the cloud, MSPs should:

  • Provide good value for the price. Price matters, he says.
  • Target specific verticals. Specialize by product, function and industry.
  • Focus on customer experience. End-to-end service is now required.
  • Evolve continuously. Prepare for next-generation technology, such as blockchain and IoT.

The average enterprise uses five cloud connections, Ros says. “That’s a lot of complexity and they need help with that,” he says. Ros also noted that:

  • 80% of enterprise workloads have yet to move the cloud;
  • 80% of applications are developed using containers.

For MSPs, the opportunity is there to optimize and containerize data for clients, Ros says. He listed a half-dozen types of data IT shops are working with today:

  1. Public;
  2. Dedicated;
  3. Bare metal;
  4. Private;
  5. SaaS;
  6. Managed.

Data re-organization and management is the ultimate goal, but you have to start somewhere. Ros says to begin your relationship by offering potential customers advice on how to optimize their system. Potential points-of-entry for MSPs to fire up a relationship include:

  1. Advise on cloud. “Lots of value to be added there,” he says.
  2. Move to cloud. “Lift and shift,” Ros says.
  3. Build for cloud. Capitalize your programming staff, he says.
  4. Manage cloud. Complexity, infrastructure and data all need managing.

Plenty of money can be made modernizing legacy applications, Ros says. Building cloud-native apps is beyond most client’s capabilities. “There’s not enough talent out there,” he says.

Ros says MSPs can take advantage of their team’s skill sets to target more verticals, right now. His recommendations for growing your MSP are:

  • Prepare for Chapter 2. That means systems that are open, hybrid and multichannel, he says.
  • Embrace secure containerized development. Containerized development is all the rage now, he says.
  • Specialize by use cases. Find a use case as similar to your target as possible, Ros says.
  • Join the open revolution. Untether yourself for risky lock-ins, he says.

More than anything, prepare for more change, more opportunity, “If this was a football game, I’d say we aren’t even halfway through the first quarter,” Ros says.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Communications Correspondent

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