What MSPs Can Learn from the Microsoft-Skype Deal

When you hear about an $8.5 billion megadeal such as Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, the benefits to the small business segment might not be immediately clear.

Yet when you consider that Skype has approximately 600 million customers and that Redmond has a vast network of value-added resellers and managed service providers working in a Windows architecture, the trickle-down opportunities become about as clear as Skyping through a fully dedicated T1. What the deal ushers in is the opportunity for MSPs to work with Microsoft to package teleconference services and tailored cloud video apps that could create lasting value for SMBs.

As Vu TelePresence CEO Devita Saraf explains, the deal announcement and the potential to shake up both the enterprise and SMB IT processing arena, shine a light on the ”businesses benefit of telepresence.”

Many small businesses already use Skype to save money on travel and save time on e-mail and as Saraf points out, teleconferencing is nothing new. But up until this acquisition, a sustainable telepresence that can be managed remotely and monitored by a third-party MSP that can act as an in-house IT function for MSP was cost prohibitive and even maybe a pipe dream.

While software-as-a-service has been a boon for many MSPs, Forrester Research points out that unified-communications-as-a-service could very well be the next big thing.

MSPs may do well to watch how this deal shakes out, how Redmond integrates Skype and ultimately how UC architecture can be sold through to SMBs.

Posted by Jabulani Leffall on May 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM0 comments


MSPs Can Run with The Big Dogs

As an MSP, it would be tempting to run doomsday scenarios through your head or make a strategic snap judgment when you read or hear about telco-tech conglomerates such as AT&T getting in on the remote managed services business.

The sky is not falling. While the big dogs on the block such as the aforementioned AT&T, IBM and HP have all moved in on leveraging support services for their products, there is still plenty of room for MSPs to serve similar services to small businesses.

Even HP's own Network Solutions Marketing chief Michael Nielsen admits that the field is at present pretty level, despite big company forays into the market. HP’s Nielsen has even said there is a "blurring of the lines" in capability and functionality that MSPs large and small can roll out at the enterprise level and small businesses.

The good news, straight from Nielsen himself, is that that managed network giants and managed services providers are in a position to compete directly with similar services offered by telcos.

In the end, it comes down to customer and/or client relationships. In the SMB space it’s particularly important to be able to get someone on the phone or have an IM and e-mail query returned promptly. And within the vast SMB space, that kind of immediate service is a trait that small MSPs and IT service shops must have to be able to stay ahead of the pack.

Posted by Jabulani Leffall on May 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM0 comments