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Market research firm THINKstrategies, which focuses on developments in the managed services space, wants to make it easier for potential customers to find a managed services provider.

The Wellesley, Mass., company has put together two online directories, one for managed services providers and the other for companies that deliver software as a service.

Through managed services, providers remotely monitor and manage networks and applications at client sites, charging customers utilitylike monthly fees for the service. Software as a service involves delivering and managing applications over the Web as a utility.

Managed services and software as a service are emerging subsets of the IT channel, and as such, they present some challenges. For customers, the challenge is about identifying the right resources, and for providers, it’s about finding effective ways to promote themselves and make the case for this approach.

Through the directories, said THINKstrategies Managing Director Jeff Kaplan, the company plans to increase the visibility of providers, many of whom have contacted him to inquire about how to raise their profiles.

“The goal of these two directories is to make them open to anyone in this business and to promote the services to the buying community,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan said decision makers, such as IT and business managers, can consult the directories to find a provider that is right for their needs.

The directories are the SaaS Showplace, accessible at or, and the Managed Service Showplace, accessible at or Software-as-a-service solutions are listed by application, and managed services provider by service category.

Kaplan said the directories are the only independent Web-based resource centers for these services. Organizations such as the MSP Alliance and software associations usually have listings, he said, but they are limited to the members.