Latest ICT trends and developments

Plotting a positive route forward for the Managed Services Provider

By David Hemingway, Senior Business Development Manager, Tech Data Advanced Solutions

Managed services providers (MSPs) face a raft of challenges. Demand for services is unpredictable and they therefore must be able to flex capacity up or down. Coupled with this, customers are more demanding and less willing to wait for new services to be developed from scratch. Instead, they often expect a public cloud experience.

MSPs also need to think about how to finance their approach. They still need to buy infrastructure for their software to use to create the services their customers need but being able to quickly find a way of funding it is becoming more important.

With customers ever-more opex-oriented, MSPs will typically buy the capital equipment required for a project upfront but will often only get the investment back in a piecemeal fashion in the form of weekly or monthly revenue streams.

There is also a growing need to provide robust security. Data breach levels are high and cyber-hacking and ransomware attacks are an ever-present concern. Businesses are increasingly outsourcing their IT security function – meaning overall responsibility frequently rests with the MSP. And with GDPR pending, and the prospect of heavy fines for failure to comply with its terms, security is a topic that demands service providers’ urgent attention.

Easing the MSP Journey

So how can MSPs best address the challenges?  It’s critical they grasp the new reality where organisations focus on developing the “right mix” of IT, deploying workloads and sourcing applications from the most appropriate delivery platform based on their own requirements.  This means they increasingly turn to MSPs capable of delivering consumption-based services within an OPEX model.

To facilitate that, MSPs need to move to a software-defined environment supported by automation and orchestration. By speeding up the provision of the applications they are looking to run and host, MSPs can improve the customer experience while reducing costs and time-to-invoice. That in turn, allows them to monetise and utilise their investment more quickly.

The recent changes we have seen across the IT environment also presents challenges and opportunities for traditional resellers looking to transition from legacy IT service management approaches to cloud-based opex model and ultimately service provider status.

The journey each partner takes will depend both on their own maturity and focus. At Tech Data Advanced Solutions, we can help streamline the process both for existing MSPs and for those organisations looking to transition from reseller to MSP. For both kinds of partner, the solution we would offer would often involve the delivery of solutions from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

We would encourage any service provider not currently using our services to opt for the partner programme route which will allow them to set up as an HPE MSP and make active use of the Tech Data Advanced Solutions technical pre-sales and proof-of-concept capability.

The speed of that storage is critical to making the overall platform operate as efficiently as possible. That’s where Flash storage comes in. HPE’s 3PAR all-flash systems, developed specifically for service providers, are good at managing unpredictable workloads. That’s because flash can handle far more demand, and especially spiky demand, than traditional spinning-drive systems. And flash storage is no longer unduly expensive. Indeed, even petabytes of flash can be bought for a commercially viable amount today and held by an MSP.

Addressing the automation and orchestration issue, HPE has a composable infrastructure solution called Synergy. The concept is that services can be templated and stood up quickly by assembling them within the platform the MSP is running.

For more information about HPE solutions, contact a local sales associate.


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