Edmund Cartwright, Director of Sales & Marketing, Highlight
“The MSP marketplace is still very aggressive and this is driving consolidation and acquisitions. The battlefield that we see is that MSPs know they have to up their game in terms of customer experience and relationships. When you compare one MSP with the next, for the corporate customer it is not always easy to differentiate. The MSPs are having to figure out how they differentiate.
“There have been a lot of interesting ideas this morning (at the Managed Services and Hosting Summit), particularly in terms of understanding the customers, and for the MSP – where their strengths are and the sweet spot for them. That is very interesting for us, because we have a solution which MSPs use to serve their corporate customers. So that is good intel for us and enablement for them.
“The value of this sort of event is a real opportunity to get to meet people from all over the industry – all types of MSP. MSP is a broad term, so we look at managed network providers, those in security and so on. it is good to talk to all these people and collaborate.”
Andrew Evers, head of IT at Reconomy and a customer of managed services
“MSPs are improving by becoming more empathic, understanding a bit more about what the customer needs, looking into business processes to really get under the bonnet of the customers they are trying to service. It is not really the case anymore that people buy bits of tin, or software service, you buy into the managed service. Having an MSP to understand the business challenges even if the business does not understand them all themselves, is a real challenge. We are seeing that direction of travel and it is a really exciting time for managed services.
“We have seen some of our existing suppliers here today and talked about roadmaps and plans; we’ll spend some more time with them and really get down to the bits and pieces of our business so they can better serve us.
“The double-sided challenge is that, as the role of the MSP grows, not even the customers themselves know what they need, so the customer is travelling that way and the MSP is coming to meet them in the middle. This makes for exciting times. As the partnerships develop, perhaps by this time next year. it will be an even more interesting conference, when people really understand their businesses.
“The IT department has fundamentally changed. We will see a lot more IT outsourced, which is great news for MSPs. We will see the MSP even more than we do today as an extension of our own IT department and therein an extension of our business. We are outsourcing an increasingly significant part of our business.”
“I’ve been general counsel for VC-back global companies for about thirteen years until last year when I exited one of them. I decided to look at the MSP market. So obviously I came to the summit last year; I saw that all the MSPs were saying they had customers asking them about GDPR, and asking what answers they should have, and what tools. I thought, well I’ve been in SaaS myself, I’m a lawyer, I’ve been a customer in midmarket companies, translating complex regulations into achievable risk management programmes. I thought this is perfect SaaS material – why aren’t they using what is out there? I had a good idea on what I could build, so I did some consulting and now we are here at the Summit on year on, as a vendor. So a year on from recognising the problems, and the issues, it is great to be back.
“We have had some great discussions here, and as ever, it is a great summit. The MSPs are really here to do business and are serious about looking at solutions. They are all still talking about GDPR and it has not gone away. There was a Y2K aspect, with people thinking it would go away. This is not what is happening – customers are saying that their own customers are saying they can’t sign a contract until they have a good GDPR answer. So the MSPs are still being asked and we have had good discussions.
“Our intent is to be the Salesforce.com of SME compliance. So privacy is our first vertical, we will add information security next year, and the California privacy act next year as we have a subsidiary in the US, and we have been accepted by Silicon Valley Bank on both sides of the Atlantic. We very much want to be the UK national champion, with Silicon Valley DNA. We are solving regulatory headaches for people, so privacy is the first and we will see how it develops. All this emerged from last year’s summit and thinking how can we help MSPs consolidate that move from break-fix to recurring revenue and expand their trusted advisor remit, and bring GDPR into it instead of losing it to somebody else.”
Greg Lalle, Vice President of International Sales, ConnectWise
“We are cautiously optimistic about business right now.” Even looking at the economic news, business in the UK and Europe generally is positive for him. Brexit is an underlying issue, he says, but he has not seen any decisions being postponed yet. “But I feel like we are on that cusp, where there is a timeclock that people are looking at. I think we are at a critical point.”
“At ConnectWise, a lot of what we do is to maximise people’s time and talent through our toolsets. That helps partners from wherever to expand.”
“Efficiency is an interesting topic, because I think traditionally, as a vendor, we have used software and allowed users to consume some of the assets. We are going to be taking a much more active approach on coaching MSPs on how to do that. Not just here’s the toolset, but how to effectively execute. It is something we have done for years, but we are going to bring it to the market in a much more meaningful message.”