As new technologies make their way into the market, they are driving a transformation in the IT channel that is forcing MSPs to reevaluate their business models and identify new revenue sources. As part of this process, savvy MSPs also are considering how their partnerships will evolve to accommodate the changes.
For MSPs delving into new markets, the types of partnerships they will forge will surpass the traditional model involving a vendor, a channel partner, and an end customer. Many opportunities for nontraditional alliances with third parties will emerge as devices, appliances, and vehicles that previously were not part of the IT environment become connected to the internet. These new connected “things” will have to be managed and protected as IT components.
For instance, consider how connected vehicles might shape a new channel relationship: In recent years, car dealers have started hiring tech-savvy employees for the express purpose of teaching car buyers how to use all the digital features available in new vehicles. BMW, for instance, took a cue from Apple by calling this position at its dealerships “genius.” Other carmakers are following suit, as well as assorted dealers that have taken the initiative to provide this service on their own.
As cars become connected and more reliant on technology, the potential for MSPs to forge partnerships with auto dealers will increase. Dealers, whose focus isn’t hiring technical experts, but salespeople and mechanics, likely will tap MSPs to provide the expertise.
Universe of Possibilities
Auto dealers are just one example of nontraditional partnerships in the channel. As technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), edge computing, and AR (augmented reality) are integrated into day-to-day processes, they are creating a new universe of possibilities for MSPs to manage modern connected environments.
For instance, smart buildings with automated lighting, temperature controls, smoke detectors, security systems, garage door openers, and window blinds will have to be managed by technologists. Builders and real estate companies will need to find the right kind of expertise, and many will likely look to partner with MSPs to deliver it.
The same goes for appliance makers and dealers. As washers, refrigerators, stoves and other appliances become connected, MSPs will be called on to monitor, manage and protect them from cyber attacks. This is an opportunity not only in the consumer home market, but also in offices where these appliances are used.
Other opportunities will include connected medical devices, vending machines and AR-equipped devices, such as fitting room mirrors at retail stores. Just about anything that can be connected will become connected, creating vast opportunities for MSPs to expand their partnerships.
MSPs looking to stay relevant well into the future should keep a close eye on the expanding web of partnership opportunities that will bring them new sources of revenue. While traditional relationships and end customers will continue to generate much of an MSP’s income for the foreseeable future, providers shouldn’t ignore these lucrative new sources of revenue. Doing so likely will meant shutting yourself off from a nascent market with vast growth potential.
Nontraditional partners in many cases will be attuned to business opportunities to which MSPs do not have direct access. Developing a strategy of openness and collaboration with these partners is one way to stay relevant in a fast-changing IT channel that has no choice but to adapt to the disruption caused by new technologies.
To stay ahead of the curve, take our MSP certification and be sure to check back when we launch our new community, the EcoStruxure IT Partner Forum, where MSPs will be able to collaborate, share ideas and learn about software to help transform their businesses.