Microsoft to Offer an MSP Platform? Count on it!

August 17, 2008 – 9:43 am

Pay attention folks!  Keep your eye on the ball!  The managed service industry is changing as fast as technology itself.  Do you hear any changes coming your way?  To quote my favorite movie, “Hear that Mr. Anderson?  That is the sound of inevitability.”

Next thing you know, Microsoft will be displacing seats of Zenith and other Master MSPs.  Don’t believe it?  check out Mary-Jo Foley’s column from last week where she writes:

Microsoft is continuing to flesh out its Software+Service portfolio and has yet another, still-unannounced, Microsoft-hosted service that it is developing. The new member of the family? System Center Online, according to tipsters who talked under the conditiion of anonymity.

While I may or may not have any insight into this issue (NDA) I will nevertheless refrain from making any public statements about what I may or may not know.  Let’s review the facts anyway shall we? 

  1. Microsoft is moving as much as possible to the cloud like SharePoint, Exchange, OCS, CRM etc.  Why not the tools that manage the remaining local installs of those products. 
  2. Microsoft has continued to build out their new support center in China to scale well beyond their current demand.
  3. The implementation of a MSP support model to support MSPs.
  4. Microsoft Partners both new and seasoned continue to report that AV, backup, patch and license management are their top headaches when it comes to managing customers networks.
  5. Companies like mine are each spending thousands of dollars on Remote Monitoring and Manages systems each month that constantly break each time there is a software change on the customer’s network.

Hmmm, what per seat, in the cloud solution, could possible fit into this part of the jigsaw puzzle? 

Mary-Jo continues:

System Center Online will be an online-management service aimed at IT pros, sources said. It is being developed by the same team that has built the Windows Update (WU), Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) and Microsof Update (MU) patch-update services. Among the services that Microsoft is expected to build into the comprehensive System Center Online service are anti-virus, anti-spyware, system monitoring, backup/restore, asset inventory monitoring, policy management and software distribution/deployment.

    Mary-Jo Foley is either a genius at getting inside information on Microsoft or is a deliberate PR tool empowered to do Microsoft’s bidding.  I personally believe it is both.

When I was running a at the in the day we would write our business plans in sand knowing tomorrow something may force us to change.  Forced change or not, when running an MSP I can’t urge you enough to keep one eye on your business and one eye on the industry.

  1. 2 Responses to “Microsoft to Offer an MSP Platform? Count on it!”

  2. Agent Smith: You hear that Mr. Anderson?… That is the sound of inevitability… It is the sound of your death… Goodbye, Mr. Anderson…

    As you can see the full quote is somewhat more ominous.

    The good news is that by the time Microsoft has a useful service, the market will have already shifted to the a new model featuring cloud computing, SaaS, multiple remote devices accessing common personalized data stored in multiple locations, deep layers of service collaboration from India, China and specialists anywhere in the world, and more…

    The idea of managed services being concerned with managing PCs and servers (with proprietary agents no less!) will be looking very last millenium and Microsoft’s Master MSP model addressing the issues of today that you describe will be eclipsed by more nimble competitors that built their business around the IT environmnet of today AND tomorrow.

    My bet is that the solution provider/MSP model will prevail but that the future is anything but inevitable. You are certainly right that MSPs need to keep their eye on the future but as the world moves on and the ecosystem adjusts to the MSP model, Microsoft will remain an important but non-threatening partner for today’s solution providers.


    By Peter Sandiford on Aug 21, 2008

  3. Wow Peter,
    I had no idea you were such a Matrix fan. I guess that makes up for you not liking sushi. ;-)

    I couldn’t agree with your insights more. You have always imspired me with your vision.

    As you know, Neo is able to realize his own destiny and not accept what the Agent is telling his. He of course comes out more empowerd by the conflict than if he had stayed out of the battle.

    Let free market rule!

    By Mark on Aug 22, 2008

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