Last week I was fortunate to sit on a panel with Steve Noel from Autotask at the most recent MSP University Boot Camp held in Charlotte, NC.  Our panel focused on the opportunities the cloud brings to our community and what MSPs can do today to capitalize on the cloud.

If there is one thing that is true in our MSP community, it is change.  Many of you that follow this blog know that I have spoken about change in the past and why we shouldn’t run and hide just because change is occurring.  After all, change has been constant throughout history.  How many of you are changing jumpers still on ISA cards?

Steve made a great comment during our panel in Charlotte.  You have two choices when it comes to the opportunities with IT Cloud services.  Either you can fly and soar to the clouds or stay on the ground.  What do we call clouds that come down to the earth’s surface?  Fog.  You have two choices as a MSP today — soar to the cloud or stay where you are and eventually be stuck in the fog.  The choice is yours.

What are the opportunities with cloud services?  I believe there is a wealth of opportunity today.  But like everything in business, it takes hard work and passion that you have the ability to do.  Sure, you can elect to complain that Microsoft’s Office 365 is eating your lunch or that DELL will call all your clients and steal your business.  Sure, you have the right to do this.  But really, does it help your business; or are you just finding fault at the lack of real solid business relationships you have formed.

What are the opportunities with the cloud?

  • Once you get over the initial shock that much of your hardware and licensing sales are gone, you will have the opportunity to focus on higher margin consulting services.  No matter where the servers are located, businesses will continue to require savvy business technology advice and consulting so they can achieve their business objectives.  This is where a savvy business IT professional can lend a helping hand.
  • Knowing who is who in the zoo.  There are many applications and services in the cloud that can benefit your client.  Understanding the business applications that many of your niche markets use is now essential.  One of the things I did well as a MSP was taking the time to understand the applications used with my clients and knowing the right people inside the organizations that I can build relationships with.  Business networking with sales, marketing and technical folks at the line of business applications can help you.
  • Sharpen your own saw.  How can you help a business with business advice if you do not run a successful business yourself. Make sure your financial house is in order, your business is a well-oiled machine and you have your own HR needs looked after.  You can’t offer business advice if you are not running a successful business yourself.
  • Deploy your MSP help desk!  Users are always going to need help.  Strike while the iron is hot and get your MSP help desk up and running and make sure your clients know you have a help desk.  Your help desk will help you take care of your clients around-the-clock and even help you focus on running a successful MSP business.

Stop hanging in the fog with the masses and soar toward the cloud.  Embrace the opportunities that the cloud presents to MSPs.  Remember a key important tip about business.  Many successful business owners understand that the opportunities exist during the early adoption phase.  We are now in the early adoption and even mainstream option of cloud services.  Now is the time for you as the MSP to introduce cloud solutions before someone else does.

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