IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Are You a NextGen MSP?

Advanced services and specializations allow channel professionals to future-proof their businesses. By Tommy Wald

IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY MSP I talk to these days says that getting good, qualified leads is becoming increasingly challenging. It’s no wonder, too—the barriers to entry for managed services are as low as ever, opening the door for new competitors with similar best practices, sales models, service offerings, and marketing messages targeting the same customers.

The way out of this trap for providers seeking to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and find new pockets of profitability is to become next-generation—or “NextGen”—MSPs.

Unlike their peers, NextGen MSPs have evolved their practices to deliver specialized services in unique ways. Drawing on advanced skills and abilities, they carve out niches, develop brands that position themselves as industry leaders, and command premium prices.

NextGen MSPs are also better able to maintain relevance in the marketplace by talking with customers about topics “higher in the IT value stack,” such as developing business workflows that link cloud- and premise-based solutions. NextGen MSPs always keep the focus of the conversation on business outcomes, not cost. That’s their value proposition.

Key Characteristics

But what defines a NextGen MSP? Let’s examine the key characteristics.

The most common and obvious attribute is a focus on cloud solutions. NextGen MSPs’ cloud expertise goes well beyond Office 365 and BDR solutions though. They specialize in more complex offerings such as infrastructure as a service and workspace as a service, as well as security, storage, compliance, and hosted line-of-business applications with redundancy and failover capabilities.

Vertical proficiencies are also common traits of NextGen MSPs. Channel partners who are perceived to have deeper knowledge of a business’s industry-specific needs can charge a premium for their services and typically enjoy higher client retention rates. For example, a NextGen MSP might tailor private cloud or hosted VoIP offerings for the legal market.

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