I recently attended an event outside of Boston put on by the team at ChannelPro – ChannelPro SMB Forum. Like many trade shows or conferences, there were presentations and workshops and exhibits. Overall it was a super interesting mix of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) business owners, software distributors and consultants.

Some of the big players at this event — IngramMicro, datto, Synnex, CompTIA — are not household names to those in the local media space. But these companies play a critical role in helping SMBs run efficient businesses from a technology and communications point of view.

I’ve been exploring this IT ecosystem as it relates to small businesses. Specifically, I’ve been curious about the of world of MSPs. These are the businesses that help SMBs with technical support for cloud storage, security, data back up, SD-WAN (software defined Wide Area Networks) and other IT needs that small business cannot or would rather not handle themselves.

Estimates suggests there are roughly 40,000 MSPs operating in the U.S., with the majority being SMBs that service other SMBs. One of my emerging observations is that the communities of marketing solution providers and IT providers (MSPs) are on a collusion course.

Here’s why. Both communities are looking to gain a larger portion of their customer’s monthly budget — more wallet share. As many of their existing products and solutions become commoditized, they will need to find new solutions that place more and deeper hooks into the business owners systems. Hence the possible outcome could be that each begins to offer the solutions usually offered by the other community. Simply said – the IT guys may well offer marketing solutions and the digital agencies may well consider VoIP and security solutions to extend their customer ARPU.

Time will tell but this is an area I’ll be helping the LSA and Tech Adoption Index team explore over the coming months, quarters and years. Do you have a point of view on this? We would love to hear from you.

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