(On behalf of Anise Mastin)
IBM Edge 2014, the premiere infrastructure conference, kick-off sessions on Monday, May 19, 2014, included a unique and important forum for Manage Service Providers. The MSP Forum began with remarks from Jaime Thomas, General Manager, Storage and Software Defined Systems who reminded attendees that the software defined automation journey must evolve to deliver a more effective and integrated strategy for flexible hybrid cloud implementations. Jaime’s guidance resonated with the audience as Leslie Rosenburg of IDC followed to demonstrate the MSP IT services transformation.
Leslie recognized that technology is in its third evolution of platforms:
- Mainframe / terminal
- LAN/Internet, Client Server
- Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social encapsulated by security
For CIO’s in this third evolution, decision makers are seeing a transition of business model requirements, moving from systems to services; from IT agility to business agility and from information to innovation. Yet the needs and means to satisfy those needs are changing in the services landscape as well.
When you consider that at its very foundation, cloud implementations are expected to double in the next couple of years. Innovation is expected to show that 80% of cloud application will be hosted on the top six platform as a service (PaaS). And 75-80% will be big data intensive. Plus new disruptors are expected to enter the MSP space such as GE, Disney, Google.
Add to that the fact that services have moved from project base to transformation services. The key pain has become “consumerazation” of cloud with data proliferation and security -- shifting away from point solutions to business outcomes. The business outcome services will rely increasingly on centralized non-labor based tools and assets.
The evolution of IT service model can be identified in five phases:
Phase I 1990’s Maintenance & Support
Phase II 2000-2005 Project-based professional services
Phase III 2005-2010 Service-led Approach
Phase IV 2010-2014 Consulting led
Phase V 2014 - Beyond Business Outcomes
Thus to remain competitive, MSPs will likely move from the consulting-led model by building new partnerships, alliances as well as mergers and acquisitions
A panel of MSPs followed IDC observations to agree with IDC findings and gave real-world scenarios for challenges they currently face.
For example, Thomas Bak, Founder and Director of Frontsafe, a Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) driven services for data backup and protection on prem and via cloud to more than 4000 clients indicated that to grow his business he initially relied on building relationships with his clients’ preferred IT and preferred applications providers. It’s about having the right technology with the right go-to-market plan as well as leveraging the support from IBM as a partner.
Richard Bates of SilverString indicated that although his company is based in UK, it is important to think globally since his clients are global. His company also relies on the capability of TSM and analytics to transform to the business outcomes model.
Both Joe Jones of Meridian IT and Kirk Zaranti of Logicalis espoused the essential need to evolve their sales force from solution-focus teams to cloud-service delivery teams.
The take away from the MSP Forum provided proof that the evolution for MSP decision makers is to deliver next generation services by remaining relevant with a flexible business model that is supported by an effective platform as well as flexible software to deliver the next phase of services leveraging cloud and analytics to transform to a business outcomes model.