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IBM Cloud: Blog Post

Technology Drivers Disrupting the MSP Market | @CloudExpo #Cloud #ITaaS #Azure

Fireside chat with Paul Guerin, Vice President at Nerdio

Paul Guerin is a serial entrepreneur who has over 25 years of high-tech experience and channel sales and development.

What are the technology drivers creating the disruption the MSP market?

Nerdio Paul F. Guerin, VP of Sales and Business Development: The ubiquitous availability of business grade internet, enterprise class colo facilities, and advancements in virtualization technology coupled with cloud IaaS from Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) are changing the way way MSPs deliver services to the customers in a disruptive way.

Where are managed services going?

Guerin: Historically MSPs derived their revenue from selling hardware and software and providing the professional service needed to implement business solutions for their customers. Today, while the MSP market is flourishing, revenue from those traditional sources is shrinking and all of the growth is being fueled by managed services and cloud services. How to grow managed service revenue and deliver advanced cloud services to customers in a profitable way is the big challenge MSPs face today.

Is AWS vs Azure going to be like Pepsi and Coca Cola?

Guerin: Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM are the three public cloud powerhouses vying for the hearts and minds of the MSP community. They all have their strengths and weaknesses today and are working furiously to fill in the gaps. Adar has built a very successful business leveraging technology from VMware and Microsoft, among others, so it's logical that our initial public cloud service will be Microsoft Azure based with an all Microsoft technology stack. We will of course follow the market closely and down the road to make sure our technology runs on the public clouds our partners require.

Are MSPs getting out of the IaaS business?

Guerin: Many MSPs today are still heavily invested in their own IaaS offerings. However, what we see in the market is that more and more MSPs are looking to invest their resources in other more strategic things and are looking to leverage public clouds and partner with advanced cloud service providers like Adar to deliver business solutions for their customers. The migration from on premises to the cloud is a dramatic shift for both the customer and the MSP, but there is no question this is where the market is going.

How will MSPs stay competitive without advanced cloud services?

Guerin: I think there would be strong agreement among the MSPs who service the SMB marketplace that cloud services is the direction the market is moving, and that in order to stay competitive, this must be baked into their business strategy. It is estimated that Microsoft alone is adding as many as 50K new Office 365 users a month! The question, though, is not only how to migrate their customers to the cloud, but how to do that profitably? Many cloud services like backup and IaaS, have already been commoditized and margins are low. This is where a comprehensive offering like ITaaS can be strategic. Not only does the service itself deliver healthy margins for the MSP, but many of the core managed services revenue streams such as onboarding, help desk, and virtual CIO are integral to delivering it to the customer.

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Many MSPs started to build their own ITaaS offering. Why do you think there may be a shift?

Guerin: Until recently, there have not been many good "buy" options in the buy versus build analysis for ITaaS. The advancement in public cloud IaaS by Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM is also causing many MSPs to rethink their decision to invest in their own IaaS. Building an in-house solution is expensive, time-consuming, requires highly skilled (and costly) technicians, and is fraught with risk. If an MSP can achieve the same or better margins partnering for advanced cloud services, this makes a lot of sense. Partnering is safer, faster, and often a better economic decision. This strategy also frees up the MSP to focus on their core competency, which is providing managed services to their customers, rather than being software developers themselves.

How important is the cost of service delivery to MSPs today?

Guerin: The cost and quality of service delivery is becoming more and more critical for MSPs. The technology is getting more complex and the cost of engineering resources is increasing. In some parts of the country, you could make the case that this pool of talent is fully employed. What's needed are proven solutions that can be implemented and managed in a cost effective way.

Is ITaaS the answer?

Guerin: I don't know if ITaaS is THE answer but it is absolutely part of the answer. Nerdio is a proven advanced cloud service that is in use by hundreds of customers and thousands of users! It enables MSPs to fully migrate (desktops and servers) from on prem to the cloud. Not only is Nerdio a perfected VDI-centric platform, but the Nerdio Admin Portal (NAP) provides discovery, provisioning, onboarding, management, and billing functionality that make deploying and managing the service cost effective and has a high quality of service delivery.

Nerdio was a successful MSP that chose to build an ITaaS platform - explain?

Guerin: Adar, the developer of Nerdio, has been a successful MSP in the cloud services space for a dozen years. The company has strong domain expertise and sees the problems that need to be solved - to facilitate the migration of SMBs to the cloud - through the eyes of our MSP partners. A couple of years ago, Adar realized that the best strategy to achieve our vision as a company was to productize our ITaaS platform and provide the provisioning and management technology (NAP) that would allow other MSPs to become ‘us' in their market. This was the genesis of Nerdio, and today our partners are delivering high margin advanced cloud services to their customers. Based on the feedback we've received since the introduction of Nerdio, there's no question that our timing is right.

About Paul Guerin:
Paul Guerin is a serial entrepreneur who has over 25 years of high-tech experience. Early on, he was part of the original executive sales team for Lotus Development Corporation, one of the most successful software companies of that era. Paul went on to hold senior executive positions in a number of successful businesses such as Beyond, Torrent Systems, and Digital Archaeology. To top it off, most recently he served as CEO of the well-known venture-backed startups Rebit and Jabber. Originally from the Big Apple, Paul has a Masters from St. John's University in Queens. When Paul's back home in wonderfully scenic Colorado, you'll find him hitting the slopes and making the rest of us jealous.

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