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Hardware has been commoditized and the margins hardware sales offer have narrowed. And now, just when you are ready to move more dramatically into services and perhaps even managed services, it seems like big vendors are also eyeing some of that same market.

LPI Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford has identified big vendors such as Dell, Ingram Micro and Acer entering the MSP market as one of “Seven Megatrends” that will be impacting the managed services market in the years ahead. And he should know. As the leader of one of today’s managed service platform providers, Sandiford has a keen view of the market, its challenges and the forces at play that will shape it over the next decade.

Sandiford provides his list of seven megatrends in his blog over at Level Platforms’ site, and has plans to write further on each of the megatrends in coming blog posts.

He has identified large corporations entering the managed services market as the first megatrend:

Distributors, vendors, telcos, IT retail chains and others will recognize that remote monitoring and management not only represents a great new opportunity but fundamentally changes the economics of their core business.

Sandiford promises more on this megatrend in his blog next week.

Other megatrends Sandiford has identified are SAAS (software as a service) and cloud computing, unified communications, collaboration as a success strategy, systems integrators and offshore RIM (remote infrastructure management) players entering the market, vertical market service providers gaining market share, and managed services expanding internationally.

All those trends sound plausible and likely to us, too. It sounds like a whole lot of other companies are eyeing the high-margin managed services and SAAS space. Which leaves a VAR to wonder if managed services, too, will eventually become commoditized and its margins eroded. We look forward to reading what Sandiford has to say about it. Meanwhile, what do you think? How are you ready to differentiate yourself?

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