The Evolution of Managed Service Providers

I have been thinking about this expression over and over. Everyone as they age looks back to an earlier time in their lives where things were simpler and easier when comparing to the here and now.

I was fortunate that I was able to transition my background as a CPA, working in real estate in the late 80’s and early 90’s, into a twenty-five year career in technology. I have watched as the Information Technology (IT) services side of the industry has evolved and continues to evolve.

In the early 90’s, almost all companies were focused on selling the “IT Product” and giving the service away at deep discounted prices or for free to sell the product. Back in the day being a “box turner” or selling product was a great business to be in with high profit margins. Then as commoditization of IT products started, the focus of technology service providers shifted away from products to building service organizations that can scale and grow. By providing their clients with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) model the provider could demonstrate a more cost effective way to gain access to best in class tool sets, hardware, software and even niche technology experts by only paying for what they used.

The business model behind managed services has been the accepted model used by enterprise level companies. Enterprise level companies were able to gain the benefits of using technology early on by having a centralized model that could support thousands of users to maximize their investments in IT and share costs effectively. This support model has been adapted by the MSP sector to fit small to medium-sized companies to provide more consistent budgeting and higher levels of service to small and mid-size businesses (SMBs).

Now as companies are contemplating moving to the “Cloud” MSP’s are seeing another shift in their business model.  The small to mid-size businesses are looking to their technology providers to help navigate these murky waters.  I personally believe that the Managed Service Provider (MSP) model will change significantly in the next three to five years.  Those MSP’s that are seen by their clients as Thought Leaders or highly consultative, in my opinion, will have a major advantage in the SMB space.

The thought of “I remember the Cloud back in the day” brings a smile to my face.

Some fun facts from “back in the day”:

  • PC Operating systems
    • DOS
    • Windows
    • OS2
  • Peer to Peer networking
    • Lantastic
    • Microsoft
  • Networking
    • Novell
    • Token Ring
    • Microsoft
  • The Internet was called the WORLDWIDEWEB by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990
  • ISP’s
    • PCI Net
    • UUNET
    • America On Line (AOL)

In the span of just 25 years the landscape for technology has dramatically changed.

Some interesting fun technology facts today:

  • The average child today knows how to use a mouse and play video game better than they can ride a bike or swim.
  • Bill Gates’ house was designed using a Macintosh computer.
  • The Internet is the fastest-growing communications tool ever. It took radio broadcasters 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million, television 13 years, and the Internet just 4 years.
  • 160 billion emails are sent daily, 97% of which are spam
  • On an average work day, a typist’s fingers travel 12.6 miles
  • There are approximately 6000 new computer viruses released every month
  • The name Google was an accident. A spelling  mistake made by the original founders who thought they were going for Google
  • Microsoft is working on a headphones that plays songs according to your mood, health and situation
  • Bulletproof vest, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and printers were all invented by women
  • 28% of IT professionals hide their career from friends and family to get out of giving free tech support
  • The first two video games copyrighted in the U.S. were Asteroids and Lunar Lander in 1980.
  • Mosaic was the first popular web browser which was released in 1993
  • Up until the 14th of September, 1995, domain registration was free
  • Microsoft Windows tutorial goes by another name, ‘Crash Course’

Want to learn more about the Managed IT Services model?  Contact The TNS Group for more information.

Categories: Managed Service Provider, MSP Blogs