Canalys Forums Asia Pacific 2023 Unveils Insights on Alpha MSPs

The Canalys Forums Asia Pacific 2023 has sparked dynamic conversations and unveiled crucial insights into the evolving landscape of Managed Service Providers (MSPs). A focal point of discussion centered around the strategies and symbiotic relationships between MSPs, partners, and vendors poised to shape the future.
Canalys Forum Asia Pacific 2023 Insights on Alpha MSPs
A distinguished panel featuring industry stalwarts, including Sheena Wee, Senior Analyst at Canalys; Arsalan Eizadirad from Lenovo; Dean Calvert of Calvert Technologies; James Bergl representing Pax8; Maury G from Levels Ventures; and Shaun Witherden of Datto, convened to deliberate on the potent dynamics of Alpha MSPs.

The discussion delved into multifaceted aspects crucial for MSPs’ strategy enhancement and their collaborations with partners and cloud commerce marketplace entities. Foremost among the topics was the pursuit of winning strategies and uncovering novel customer acquisition approaches vital for dominating the managed services sphere. A crucial challenge highlighted was the articulation of value propositions by channel partners and showcasing their competencies through effective marketing strategies.

Key themes encapsulated the secrets underpinning successful managed services marketing, testimonies of triumph in lead-generation strategies, identification of transformative vertical and technological specializations essential for engaging new clientele, and a forward-looking anticipation of the paradigm shift shaping the essence of managed services.

Participants unanimously agreed on the sustained demand for managed services among customers, notwithstanding budgetary constraints. Customers increasingly recognize and are willing to invest in the capabilities offered by IT providers. These encompass diverse needs ranging from consultancy for regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, to managed detection and response services, indicating a growing requirement for expert guidance and support.
Cyber security tools for customers in 2024“MSPs overall have better profitability when there is stack standardisation. However in the age of AI, Integrations and Modern Workforce solutions, how do you continue to maintain margins and deliver on this new wave with the vast breadth of solutions available in the marketplace?,” Milan Rajkovic, wrote in Canalys Forum.

One of the channel partners wanted to know: “What things do you evaluate of a vendor to start using their products — margin or service driven by the solution.”

Basanta Kumar Rana, one of the participants at the event, wanted to know: “What will be the role of AI in MSP. How can it can reduce the manpower in Cloud Managed service providers.”

Soon Meng Lim, one of the participants at the event, raised a question: “We have some global MNC clients that we act as an extension of their internal IT based out of country (US, EU). These are break-fix; based on hours. How did u convert that into an MSP model.”

Ari Rahmatul Huda, one of the participants at the event, wanted know: “How to become a sustainable MSP and make customers loyal to us.”

Rahul Parekh, one of the participants at the event, said: “What are the best training and development tools/platforms for the manpower of an MSP to continuously upskill.”

Andrew Hunt, one of the participants at the event, raised a question: “What are the MRR services you think your SMB customers will need in 3-5 years that they didn’t need last year? How you expect to fulfill that opportunity? How do you balance the desire to deliver services with your own resources vs partnering with larger providers?”

“If I have engineers working for me 10+ years and they have expertise on old tech but are curious to learn new tech like setting up a HPC cluster etc. What’s the best platform for training and development for these engineers?,” Andrew Hunt asked.

Dennis Cruz, one of the participants at the event, said: To effectively protect client data and systems, MSPs should consistently tackle and mitigate evolving security threats. Could you please share recommended strategies to address this challenge?

The integration of AI within MSP operations emerged as a pivotal area of interest. While partners acknowledged the utilization of AI for internal process automation, emphasis was placed on the anticipation of vendors developing native AI capabilities. This, in turn, is expected to enhance product functionalities and facilitate seamless cross-vendor integrations, enriching the MSP ecosystem.

The evolving technological landscape, typified by innovations like Co-Pilot for PCs and the impending Windows 11 refresh, signals an increased necessity for consulting services. Partners are poised to witness a sustained demand for services, necessitating differentiation and enhanced value proposition presentation amidst customer economic challenges.

An intriguing aspect surfaced in the discussions, wherein 69% of partners expressed a desire for a dedicated MSP program to fortify their rapport with vendors. However, the consensus emphasized the need for a radical departure from existing vendor partner programs. Partners articulated the need to dismantle constraints, including minimum license requirements and annual commitments, advocating for a collaborative approach that empowers partner-customer relationships, eschewing artificial limitations imposed by vendors.

In a paradigm where value is defined collaboratively by partners and customers, vendors are urged to align their programs and go-to-market strategies with partner interests. The sentiment echoed was that vendor-partner relationships must transcend traditional hierarchies, emphasizing the criticality of mutual collaboration and strategic alignment.

The landscape for MSPs and their relationships with partners and vendors is undergoing a transformation, necessitating an adaptive and collaborative approach from all stakeholders. As the industry navigates the winds of change, the imperative remains to foster synergistic alliances that drive mutual growth and innovation.

Baburajan Kizhakedath @ Canalys Forums 2023 in Bangkok

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