Windows InTune: Should MSPs Be Afraid?

Scott Calonico

windows intune logoIt’s always a slight cause for concern for MSPs when a major player muscles in on an established area of their industry.

Microsoft’s Windows InTune product is a cloud-based PC management solution that centralizes application deployment, updates and Internet security within a single Web-based console.

Microsoft are marketing InTune as a way for smaller IT companies to acquire the same kind of infrastructure management facilities as large corporates, with only minimal investment.

Obviously, this crosses over, to a large extent, with the kind of proactive IT support services that MSPs typically offer to clients. So, should MSPs be afraid? Probably not. Here are three reasons why:

  • Companies that choose to outsource their IT provision tend to do so because they don’t want to internally manage the minutiae of their IT system. A new Microsoft product is unlikely to change their strategy.
  • While InTune makes centralized management easier, it still requires technical expertise to install and configure.
  • InTune is just Microsoft’s way of doing something that it’s been possible to do for a long time using alternative solutions.

With these reasons in mind, it’s clear that InTune doesn’t really pose a threat to the work that MSPs carry out. In fact, MSPs would be better served by viewing the existence of InTune as an opportunity.

The InTune Opportunity

A wise strategy for MSPs new to InTune is to sign up for a free trial and evaluate whether the new product can fit with their way of doing business.

Rather than seeing InTune as something that customers may buy themselves, it is better for MSPs to see whether it’s something that it may be an idea to sell into clients. After all, MSPs who are Microsoft partners can earn generous ongoing commissions for doing just that.

Of course, plenty of MSPs will have no interest in using InTune on client networks, especially with plenty of cloud foldercompeting PC management tools already in the marketplace.

An opportunity exists here as well: With Microsoft plowing marketing budget into convincing SMEs that they should have centralized management in place, it becomes easier to sell products and services of this nature to clients.

To some extent, owners of MSP businesses have a set of reasons to feel “under siege” in the current climate. Their target customers are increasingly shifting towards the cloud, Small Business Server has been discontinued and there seems to be renewed interest in the SME IT market from some serious players. However, there’s really no need for paranoia.

All MSPs need to do is plan and adapt – there will always be room in the IT industry for personalised service and specialist knowledge – even if the way to market and sell it may be evolving rapidly.