In the March issue of The Cannata Report, a panel of IT experts responded to questions about the most common mistakes dealers make when launching a managed IT business, how to pinpoint a relevant acquisition target, hiring and retention, and whether cybersecurity is a must-have managed IT offering. In this special digital installment, they identify additional areas of opportunity within the IT segment.
Our panelists include Juleen Bixler, senior director of operations, Fraser Advanced Information Systems; Julie Branc, vice president, product portfolio and customer experience, All Covered, IT Services Division of Konica Minolta; Peter Kujawa, vice president, TSP evangelist, Service Leadership/ConnectWise; Patrick Layton, vice president, managed IT services, Impact Networking; Anthony Sci, president and CEO, Keypoint Intelligence; John Schweizer, vice president of channel sales, ConnectWise; Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president, IT channel and services, GreatAmerica Financial Services and Collabrance LLC.
CR: More services now seem to fall under the managed IT umbrella than traditional networking and cybersecurity. What are the most promising areas where a dealer can expand his or her managed IT offerings?
Bixler: Document management services; VoIP, including call centers; comprehensive vendor cloud services management; mobile device management.
Branc: Managed security and cloud. A layered, yet comprehensive approach to a client’s security needs and strategy helps address critical security challenges and can help prevent any future vulnerabilities. All Covered’s offerings for example employ industry-leading measures to build a comprehensive security strategy that encompasses systems implementation, testing, monitoring, vulnerability management and compliance. Cloud services are helping to accelerate digital transformation within a client’s environment. The adoption of cloud infrastructure and applications have become essential to running a modern workplace. Data security, scalability, availability and mobility are no longer a nice to have, but a need to have. With predictable costs, improved security and resilience, organizations have intrinsically become more agile and efficient by moving to the cloud.
Kujawa: I wouldn’t discount the growth rate of traditional managed services. Over the past two years, in the total IT universe benchmarked by Service Leadership through the Service Leadership Index, managed services revenue grew 18.5%, compared to product resale, which only grew 11.5%. The two hottest areas of growth over the same period are managed security services, where top performers grew almost 30% and cloud services, which grew at a white-hot 32.7% pace. Cloud services included AWS, Azure, M365, etc. This growth was fueled by the transition to the cloud due primarily to the COVID-19-related transition to work-from-home for clients of MSPs. All indications are that managed services, including managed security, and cloud services are poised for another robust year in 2022.
Layton: Voice services, digital voice, and [MS] Teams voice. The term “unified communications” is starting, nationally, to be real. You can store your data and Teams, you can do a video conference, you can have security. It really does become that unified experience. There’s lots of ways to affect change in an organization through tools like that and there’s a lot of profit involved. Being able to do some application development and link disparate systems together and helping people get to the data analytic part and have reliable data is easy for leadership to understand. We display stats on TVs at all our locations. And when we bring clients in, they’re like, “We want to be able to do that.” The display technology is the easy part, getting the clean data and interpreting it is the hard part. Data analytics along with workflow and ERP, and CRM integration is a separate skillset from managed IT. But if you’re doing the managed IT part, it’s an easy way to get to that next level with your client base.
Sci: Backup and recovery as well as some things dealers have already embarked on such as digital transformation which is big right now.
VandeWalker: Cybersecurity is THE growth area. There are many facets to cybersecurity. No customer can ever be 100% safe. One can only use tools and training to limit risk and loss. Today, most end users at Collabrance don’t have our full cybersecurity suite. There is significant growth still available to every MSP.
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