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Tech specialty changes success tactics for managed service providers

Succeeding in managed services means making careful choices, which change depending on whether you're managing storage, systems, networks or security.

Managed services by technology sector

When it comes to putting out your managed services shingle, how much of your success depends on the technology sector you have chosen?

Potentially, quite a bit. In general, technologies influenced by the growing number of regulatory requirements—namely security and storage—tend to be vibrant markets for managed services, says Charles Weaver, president of MSPAlliance. "Any environment where data sensitivity is an issue is a good candidate for the managed services approach," he says.

The approach solution providers take toward manage services also may vary with the sector, as well the receptiveness of potential customers, notes Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies Inc. of Wellesley, Mass.

Here is a snapshot of four hot technology sectors ripe for managed services:

  • Security. Customers tend to be very receptive to managed services in this arena. "This is the tip of the arrow for many customers, because so many of them are concerned about it and feel that they can't keep up with security threats," Kaplan says. And it's also one of the fastest-growing. According to Gartner, managed security services will be the fastest-growing area of managed services with a compound annual growth rate of almost 20% over the next several years. •
  • Network management. This is perhaps the oldest managed services category—arguably started in the 1980's by telephony carriers. Because its worth has been proven over time, some believe it may be a bit easier to enter this area of managed services than others. •
  • Storage. Like other managed services areas, the benefits of offering managed storage services are recurring revenue and the ability to add another layer of relationship with the customer. But you had better do it well, Kaplan warns, because the repercussions of losing valuable customer data will result in losing valuable customer business. •
  • Systems. While the market for data center management often dictates a full outsourcing approach, there is a market for managed desktop/server services. In general, these services range from patch management to security on the desktop. Often, managed services for systems is paired with network managed services, notes Rory Sanchez, president of SL Powers, a West Palm Beach, Fla. solution provider.

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