- February 24, 2016
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Three Managed Services Specializations to Consider
Specialization is one of the clearest paths to managed services profitability. That’s not to say you can’t succeed with a well-strategized generalist approach, but if you can master a specialization that plays to your strengths and meets customer needs, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition and boost your profit potential.
But how do you approach this specialization idea, since there is more than one path to success? One obvious direction is to position yourself as an expert on a specific vertical market, such as healthcare, legal services or retail. Or you could focus on a technology. If you already have skills in, say, data warehousing, security or backup and recovery, you could build up your services around those skills and go for broke.
You might even specialize in a specific product, such as Office 365 or Azure. But beware of narrowing your focus too much and getting too heavily dependent on a specific solution or vendor. If you choose a profit-focused specification, it’s probably best to make that a part of the business, not the whole thing.
Another alternative is to color outside the lines: Build a practice around a technology or customer need not commonly addressed by managed services such as environmental monitoring, physical security or power management. These are honest-to-goodness actual needs that managed services have overlooked for the most part. A measure of caution is advisable here, though. You don’t want to go hog-wild into a technology area that is too new and unproven, which could backfire.
So let’s take a look at three specializations worth considering:
Healthcare is an obvious market to consider. The industry is in the midst of a profound transformation from fee-based to outcome-based care. Healthcare providers know they have to change, and they need technology solutions to make it happen.
Data capture and analysis, as in most industries, is a primary driver of this transformation, with the added pressure the data involved is extremely sensitive and has to be properly secured and transmitted. MSPs that master the healthcare market and address its particular demands stand to profit handsomely.
Cybersecurity is arguably the greatest challenge faced by today’s businesses. Much of that challenge revolves around preventing people from making bad decisions, and it goes way beyond AV tools and patch management.
MSPs should consider more specialized solutions such as identity management and anti-phishing in a multilayered approach to protecting client data. Data security is a huge responsibility, and the better you are at it, the greater your chances of boosting client loyalty.
Environmental monitoring is related to power management and physical security. Through sensors and cameras deployed in highly sensitive network areas, such as wiring closets and server rooms, you can keep an eye on things such as temperature control and unauthorized entry to protect client environments. These types of services are complementary to RMM and create meaningful opportunities to provide value-add to customers.
Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.