Avant: Agents, MSPs Converge in a Multicloud World


… comes from third parties. It’s a trend we see from the relentless accelerating pace of change …

CP/CF: What does that mean for the traditional silos between agents and MSPs?

Avant: The distinction between partner types is more and more going away. In the end, the customer is just looking to solve problems. What they’re looking for is to have a trusted adviser deliver them the solution that will meet their needs. Historically, MSPs delivered their own solutions, and they used technology on [the] back end. Well, it’s no longer hardware and software technology on the back end. It’s increasingly cloud services. So what’s the difference between someone offering a cloud service as an agent or offering a cloud service as an MSP? The distinction becomes less and less relevant.

The customers are getting smarter and savvier as well. In the olden days, it used to be saving the customer money on their speeds-and-feeds networking needs was enough value to that customer from the agent. Today, because again of the industry changing so drastically at a high pace, customers are consuming way more information and they know they need more than just to save on speeds and feeds. They need somebody with one throat to choke, and MSPs traditionally would offer only their services in the past. Today, they can’t be everything to everybody, but they don’t want to lose the customer altogether, so they offer their services to a certain point, and if it goes beyond their reseller model, they can go outside in the agency community now and offer the products and services of the partnerships they have.

CP/CF: What do you mean by saying partners can’t be everything to everybody?

Avant: These customers have very specific needs. They [have] highly complex needs, and they’re a lot more difficult to deliver on those needs with one offer. So a lot of times you have to get very creative on how to deliver what the customer is asking for. An MSP will run into, “I can’t be everything to everyone.” So they either have to go very specific into a vertical or a category and just focus on, say, retail or federal and government. That way they can kind of create a SKU if you will so their own business can function. Otherwise they’re going to fail trying to do everything…Amazon had nearly 1,000 new product updates last year. How is any small company supposed to keep up with that? Even large companies struggle with it. A thousand new updates to products and services. Unless there is an MSP out there that’s laser-focused on …

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