Managed service provider (MSP) is a business that delivers a defined set of technology solutions or services to MSP clients with a pay-as-you-go model. MSPs are largely used by customers who want to take advantage of cloud technologies but lack the internal IT skills, resources, and time.
MSP business opportunities are growing very fast with an increased demand for managed services offerings. However, the number of MSPs and competition among them is also increasing, while the services that are offered become more commoditized. This trend creates certain challenges in achieving revenue and profit growth, especially when the cash flow is limited.
Today, MSPs need a clear competitive differentiation to be able to reach business goals and expand market presence. This approach might require a change in the entire MSP business model: a shift from the traditional managed or hosted IT approach toward cloud service delivery model.
Key competitive considerations include:
- Brand value
- Offering differentiation
- Cost and operational efficiency
- Customer trust
- Experience and expertise in cloud computing
To address MSP business challenges, IBM is taking its collaboration with MSPs and its global ecosystem one step further by:
- Enabling MSPs to build innovative solutions and services on advanced technologies such as IBM SmartCloud, IBM PureSystems, and analytics.
- Providing the MSPs with access to IBM experts that have deep technical skills at four new global centers of excellence.
- Offering an unmatched set of programs to support MSP marketing efforts to help MSPs build their brands, generate demand for their services, and grow their marketing skills.
- Offering affordable financing options through IBM Global Financing to help MSPs acquire new technologies.
IBM developed an evolutionary approach for MSPs to build or transform
their cloud-enabled data centers. It defines an MSP solutions framework
for MSP growth, which spans from the basic infrastructure as a service
(IaaS) offerings to the advanced business process as a service (BPaaS)
expertise. IBM framework allows MSPs to build scalable, building
block-based service delivery infrastructure that can support a broad
range of services to satisfy growing diverse customer needs in a cost
IBM solution framework for MSPs offers a structured approach to implement a comprehensive set of solutions to deliver a rich portfolio of services, and thus grow the business. It includes the following items:
- Service enablement platform: A highly available foundation that includes core infrastructure (network, servers, storage, and virtualization layers) and infrastructure management (that is, service provisioning, monitoring, and usage based accounting).
- Managed/hosted services: Traditional services that are offered by MSPs in dedicated or shared environments.
- Cloud services: Drive significant new revenue streams and strengthens the customer relationship by broadening the MSP’s portfolio of services (such as productivity, test and development, infrastructure, and business process services).
IBM PureFlex System and IBM Flex System based cloud solutions can provide a cost-efficient, secure, scalable platform for diverse workloads, which can offer the following benefits:
- Accelerate time-to-value: Accelerate deployment, speed response to changing business needs, and improve productivity with a range of pre-integrated/configured and optimized infrastructure solutions.
- Maximize IT availability: Improve overall customer service and satisfaction with a cloud infrastructure that is designed for continuous operation.
- Scale elastically with better provisioning of resources: Enhance service quality and delivery with innovative technologies and scalable offerings, which enable highly dynamic and fluid, just-in-time and online resource configuration to optimize cloud delivery for a wider-range of workloads.
- Ensure security: Deliver a comprehensive security solution to mitigate risk by maintaining integrity, privacy, and multi-tenant isolation of sensitive services and data in a cloud across the entire stack.
- Reduce IT costs: Reduce overall costs and improve the ROI of IT for cloud delivery with integrated solutions that enable consolidation, better usage, and better and easier management of capital assets.
IBM PureFlex and IBM Flex System are designed to support MSPs for cloud, hosted and managed IT deployment models of various sizes with predefined small, medium, and large reference configurations based on IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes built on Intel Xeon processor E5 family.
I recommend you to read the IBM PureFlex System Solutions for Managed Service Providers IBM Redpaper to learn more about the IBM solution framework, IBM offerings, and reference configurations for MSPs.