Relationships in business are an essential asset that will aid the growth and power of your business. As an IT reseller, managed service providers (MSPs) have the opportunity to greatly expand the technical expertise they can use if they partner with another MSP or infrastructure management provider. This will boost your business as they send leads your way, and increase your service offering, making it easier to win new business.
Partnering with complementary businesses in the IT industry will enhance your offerings but also you enhance theirs as well. (If the image above makes no sense, then read on.)
The relationship works both ways:
- Picture a managed service provider as a restaurant that doesn't serve desserts
- They could partner with a bakery, and start selling their goods without producing anything new themselves
- The restaurant can now pull additional customers in who want desserts after their meal, and the bakery has a new channel partner for selling
We at 4D are working with an ever-expanding list of MSPs to increase our and their business opportunities.
Current trends in the IT sector
John Garratt from IT Europa stated that there are a lot of verticals that have seen growth and will be continuing to grow in 2021. For example:
- Managed service sector is growing at 14 %
- The market for the cloud will grow by 20 %
- There has been a rise of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS)
- Many more firms are outsourcing all or some of their IT
To meet all the needs of a customer on their own would be very difficult for an MSP, especially when it is looking at complex vertical requirements. This is where strong technology alliances come into play.
2020 saw an explosion in remote working, thanks to that and the uncertainty of a post-pandemic world, customers are demanding new or enhanced IT offerings that they had not considered before. This has also led to many more companies deploying hybrid cloud for the flexibility it provides.
How is the current business environment forcing MSPs to change?
As a result of these trends, MSPs are seeing increased demands for financial support, compliance, and a heightened focus on security. We’ve had several different companies share concerns that business’ sudden changes to adapt to remote has caused security to be overlooked and concern about cyber-attacks is increasing. We’ve seen two important trends as a result:
- Companies are choosing to outsource their IT requirements to MSPs, trusting them to bolster their security
- MSPs are looking for additional support from the likes of other MSPs or managed infrastructure providers to deliver on that increased security
To go back to the earlier analogy, companies asking for increased security is the equivalent to customers wanting dessert after their meal. Instead of MPSs hiring a pastry chef (or cyber security specialist) they're outsourcing this requirement to keep their customers happy. Any time your clients are looking for a service you don't feel confident delivering, that's the dessert you need to outsource to find.
Of course, MSPs have options on how they outsource:
- Working with another MSP is like going to another restaurant better equipped to serve desserts
- Going to an infrastructure management provider is the bakery who can also provide birthday cakes and freshly baked bread (i.e. other IT infrastructure solutions)
With these choices, the end product is the same: your customers are served dessert and haven't gone elsewhere to satisfy their sweet tooth. The only difference is your business processes and how you work with your business partner.
On a side note: It might seem counter-intuitive to work with companies that are arguably your competitors, but different MSPs will have different specialties. You just need to make sure your channel partners don't have too much overlap with the services you offer and you'll both benefit from the relationship.
The advantages of working with another MSP
It is crucial that MSPs respond to these increased demands of security and other IT requirements. There are several advantages to working with an infrastructure management company or another MSP:
- Expand the services you can offer to potential clients, making it easier to win business.
- Have a partner working alongside you to provide advice and support to improve your service record.
- Gain a new source of lead generation as they send people your way.
- Earn referral fees by having a managed infrastructure partner you can reliably send leads to when they’re not the right fit for you.
When it comes to digital transformation, it is not as simple as a one-size-fits all approach so strong relationships are essential to finding the best solution for the specific need. Utilising pools of expertise in different areas will allow MSPs to give robust advice to their clients and broaden their scope. 2021 will belong to the MSPs that are able to consistently deliver services to their customers while everyone adapts to a changing business landscape.
Reduce the pressure on your team
Another advantage of outsourcing some of your business is how this reduced the pressure on your team, which is particularly valuable right now. 2020 saw a major increase in ticket demand, therefore creating more work for your team. There are numerous ways to look after the wellbeing of your team and prevent them being overworked, but a simple one is partnering with managed infrastructure providers or other MSPs to leverage the additional skills and services that they bring. This will be particularly valuable when your team is having to deal with an issue they might not have the knowledge for in-house.
Start working on your partnerships
Strategic partnerships are an easy and effective way to leverage new skills and become adaptable without putting strain on your current employees and ways of working. It also gives access to new customers, adds value to your existing customers, and increases brand awareness and trust.
At 4D we have a comprehensive partner programme and we’re working with MSPs like Sensical to add value to their business by providing managed infrastructure services as well as gaining value from their services and expertise. Check out our partner programme and get in touch to see how we could add value to each other; not only to enhance our offerings but also deliver the best service for our customers in a robust and streamlined approach.