The Best and Worst of Times to Become an MSP

By Michael Vizard  |  Print this article Print
MSP roles

Many vendors are delivering their offerings as managed services. So, MSPs must add value by providing a range of services that include unique capabilities.

In fact, application designers rather than coders are now commanding the most money, said Brendan Wright, head of global partner channels for Topcoder, a crowd-sourcing service of application development projects.

"Designers are commanding a premium because the cloud is all about the human-to-machine interface," Wright said.

While there's definitely more opportunity than ever for managed service providers to add value, it's less clear at the moment as to whether this expansion of the MSP category will be permanent.

Prognosis for MSPs

Eventually, many new MSPs will likely be acquired, said Cassandra Mooshian, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Right now, we're seeing a lot more expansion," she said. "But there's always going to be an inevitable amount of expansion and contraction."

A major factor in that eventual contraction is the simple fact that the actual cost of delivering IT services is dropping. That means it's only a matter of time before increased competition forces many MSPs to expand the scope and reach of their services. Otherwise, they risk getting caught up in a price war that will undoubtedly consign many of them to the proverbial scrap heap of MSP history.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.