The two day MSP Summit got off to an exciting start today with over 300 attendees at the kickoff session hosted by Andy Monshaw and Deepak Advani.
Andy noted that over 4000 MSPs were now recognized in the IBM Partnerworld system and that roughly 1/2 had transitioned from being a traditional VAR. He also noted that 'MSPs are the new IT department' in the eyes of their clients and that NextGen MSPs are those that 1) provide high value with innovation, 2) deeply focus on differentiation, and 3) move beyone virtualization and to the cloud. Deepak noted that cloud is an undeniable trend, and in Vegas nomenclature suggested to prospective MSPs that they 'place their bets' on it and start building their business model. He noted that 48% of CIOs now evaluate cloud first over traditional IT offerings. Deepak also emphasized the importance of building around and supporting open architectures such as Open Stack. An MSP Roundtable facilitated by Joe Panettieri of MSP Mentor reinforced messages such as 'moving up the stack' in providing service offerings to drive more revenues and profit.
Cobalt Iron's Richard Spurlock followed with a very insightful session on Innovating Next Generation Data Protection, explaining how his adaptive data protection solutions based on TSM address the new combination of Enterprise Backup and the Cloud Experience. He noted that flexible cloud deployments (public, private, hybrid) most effectively help customers cope with the challenges of cost and complexity.
IBM's Rodney Foreman lead a session in which he emphasized that successful MSPs must be able to articulate the value of the cloud, and have a roadmap on how they plan to enhance their services over time. He also discussed seven key attributes for cloud providers, and called out 'visibility' or providing a dashboard view of the customer's environment as a key success factor. Rodney also noted that Cloud Storage was one of the easiest services to explain to customers and was fueling its growth.
A number of other sessions focused on accelerating time-to-revenue, customer sat, cash flows and the importance of marketing rounded out the first day's sessions.
Big crowds, a lot of great presentations and an enthusiastic audience all contributed to an outstanding day! .