Yesterday IBM announced a new Managed Service Provider or MSP program, I had the opportunity to sit through the global announcement. It was strong announcement on IBM's part in that it laid out a clear and compelling set of benefits for MSP partners. The IBM press release for the announcement can be found at the following link: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/38943.wss. The new program provides differentiated offerings and benefits to MSP partners in the following areas:
- Access to IBM offering and Global Centre's
- New marketing and sales support options
- Leverages IBM PureSystems and SmartCloud offerings
- Innovative Financing Options
It is clear that IBM is now serious about building out there own MSP Ecosystem that will allow them to more effectively sell into that market. While it was a good announcement on IBM's behalf, the market does expect this level of support from IBM and other vendors as well.
Ecosystem is one of those consulting words, that can seem a bit theoretical. However, in the MSP environment it is real.
The challenge really lies in front of the Managed Service Providers themselves in creating their own Partner Ecosystem. In addition to building out the physical offerings they need to provide, they need to rethink the partnerships they have and the way they go to market.
- What software partnerships will they maintain?
- What hardware or service partnerships will they leverage?
- Will they create a partner sales channel to sell their offerings?
- Will that be a resale or referral model?
- What are the economics of an MSP or Cloud channel delivery model?
- Is the go to market model efficent enough to support a partner channel based on the margin structure?
- What is required to enable and manage this new channel?
- Does the model change if they play at different layers in the Cloud stack, i.e. SAAS vs PAAS vs IAAS?
While the large technology vendors are used to dealing with these questions, this is new ground for many firms that are new to the MSP market and historically have played in more traditional business models. It is clear that the marketplace shift is real and that those MSPs that find the way to build their own robust Ecosystem of partners with the right channel model will be the winners. It will be an interesting journey. If you need a partner to help navigate this journey, give us a call.