The Complexity Issue

By Pedro Pereira  |  Print this article Print


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Providers continue trying different vendors' platforms in their quest to find just the right one.

That's why, Sandiford adds, Level Platforms has put a lot of effort into the latest release of its platform. "We have spent the last year basically reengineering our product for unlimited scalability, high performance and ease of use," he says.

"It's a difficult product to get right," says Labandibar, "and vendors set expectations that ultimately the product doesn't live up to."

Clinton Gatewood, vice president of corporate development at Zenith, says he believes complexity explains some of the switching that has taken place between managed services platforms. Add complexity to the issue of profitability, Gatewood says, and you start to understand the challenges MSPs face when they choose a platform.

Many solution providers invest in a platform thinking that it will suffice in building a managed services model. It's what Gatewood describes as the "field of dreams" managed services syndrome: "Build it and they will come."

But then it turns out that the least important piece of building a managed services business is the platform, he says. "The real cost in providing a managed service is process creation, process change management, implementation, consistent and diligent application of processes, and manpower."

In the past, Gatewood adds, solution providers could address client needs simply by adding technology.

"A provider would simply have to learn how to install the application or hardware and not necessarily concentrate on managing the solution," Gatewood says. "The risk was assumed by the client and not the provider. Now, in managed services, the provider assumes the risk. The responsibility of the provider no longer ends once a piece of hardware is installed or an application is set up and configured."

Partner round robin

Managed services platform vendors have come to expect churn in their partner ranks. The platform round robin shows no sign of ending any time soon, and vendors know that even if it slows, it may be a temporary respite. There is always a chance that a new player will jump into the market and shake things up, as Zenith did.

"As new products come on the market with better and more advanced capabilities, it makes sense to make the switch," says Heartland's Cage.

Rory Sanchez, president of South Florida solution provider SL Powers, says his company was using Kaseya when he decided to add Zenith because of the vendor's virtual NOC service, which takes some of the day-to-day monitoring out of the hands of the provider partners.

"At first Zenith was not a complete replacement for the Kaseya tool. Kaseya was faster and more efficient at remote control but the Zenith tools quickly caught up," Sanchez recalls.


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