Forbes to MSPs: 'Things don't stand still'

Marc Thaler

ORLANDO – Are you standing still?

Managed service providers (MSPs) need to ask themselves that very question, which requires an understanding that today’s trends and market conditions continue to change - and fast. It’s crucial to the future of their businesses.

Alister-Forbes“Things don’t stand still,” GFI MAX General Manager Dr. Alistair Forbes said at the close of his keynote address, which kicked off the three-day MAX 2014 U.S. Customer Conference Monday at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.

Speaking to MSPs big and small, established, growing and starting up, Forbes discussed key areas at the center of his vision for the future of the MSP market.

“Where is the money going?” Forbes asked the audience before giving the answer. “Cloud computing, mobility and managed services are all expected to see significant spending going forward.”

Migration to cloud computing services is gaining momentum, Forbes said. He noted that 58 percent rely, in some form, on public and private cloud, and 29 percent are public-only.

“People are now coming to view that cloud services are more reliable than those delivered on-premise,” Forbes said.

And as a result of this development, mobility plays a major role in Forbes’ vision for the future. One of the challenges for businesses, he said, is creating and enforcing a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy. Businesses understand it is important, yet it is often ignored.

Yet, according to figures Forbes cited, 74 percent are concerned about protecting business data, and
69 percent are concerned about protecting customer and employee information.

All of which ties into the growth for managed services. Forbes said there is a “strong trend” of people outsourcing to MSPs. The reason is twofold: Tasks are growing in complexity, and there are more tasks to handle than ever before.

“Most people can’t do it themselves,” Forbes said. “This is a major source of opportunity that you have available to grow your business.”

Forbes used the word “platform” more than once during his keynote – and he said it was intentional.

“It’s an important part of our strategy moving forward,” Forbes said. “We’re trying to build the industry standard in terms of a management platform … that will give you the tools you need to become a perpetually valuable MSP.”

Education, he said, is essential – for MSPs and their customers alike. Without an understanding of the landscape, it is extremely difficult to offer a solution that meets the needs of a business.

“Going to (your customers) with a comprehensive solution that says, ‘We understand how to do this … we’re going to deliver it to you rather than fall back to the traditional reseller-type model, it’s already a trend gaining pace,” Forbes said. “And it’s our view that it’s the most effective way to present providing services.”