The eighth annual Managed Services & Hosting Summit provided the forum for debating these issues and more. MSPs heard from experts including Gartner’s research director Mark Paine (pictured) who told more than 300 attendees: “The key to a successful and differentiated business is to give customers what they want by helping them (the customer) buy”. He then focused on how addressing the MSP customers’ customers may well be the way to show alignment and engagement. “If you show clients your plan to grow together, they will see you as on their side.”
The need for focus and concentration of expertise was shown by a lively presentation from two experts from the rising digital marketing side of managed services. One way to win more customers is by showing them their place in the future, according to Jim Bowes, CEO and founder of digital agency Manifesto, and Robert Belgrave, chief executive of digital agency hosting specialist Wirehive. They showed how they use the power of engagement and marketing ideas to build a commanding position in their chosen sector. Which means it’s time to ditch the old marketing models built on email lists and dry whitepapers. It’s time to get agile, personalised highly effective customer communications.
A particularly informative part of the morning sessions came from hearing the experiences of MSPs themselves and looking at established winning ideas; for example, Tim Walker of year-old MSP Aura Technology revealed how an understanding of market and a tight focus on customer requirements led his management team to form their business. Other MSPs told their stories on how they use managed security services, how to position data security and backup, and how they work with customers to keep their lights on.
The lunchtime focus sessions and afternoon breakouts dealt with more specialist technical and sales approach-based subjects, with GDPR a topic which continues to challenge customers and the evolving cybersecurity proving one with which all MSPs must be familiar. In parallel with solving their customer’s problems MSPs must also continue to strive to improve efficiency through the use of tools and simpler and more effective management systems of all types.
Winding up a very busy day, technology M&A experts Hampleton Partners showed why activity is at record highs, with director Jonathan Simnett highlighting areas of the market such as e-commerce and automotive technologies in which the highest multiples were available. But he also showed the need for expertise and understanding, since some attractive areas such as healthcare technology were also characterised by long sales cycles and compliance issues.
John Garratt, editor of IT Europa and event content director advised that in difficult times, particularly in the UK, which is suffering the impact from general economy and trade pressures along with Brexit confidence issues, the watchword has to be building efficiency and learning the lessons from others. Which is what the series of Managed Services and Hosting events is all about. As a demonstration of winning ideas, the first ever Managed Services Awards, directly after the event, named eight examples of projects and suppliers with outstanding examples and effective results.
Sponsors of this year’s Managed Services & Hosting Summit 2018 included: Avast Business, Cogeco Peer 1, Datto, Fujitsu, Highlight, IBM, Kaspersky Lab, WatchGuard, Altaro, ConnectWise, Identity Maestro Mimecast, Park Place Technologies, RapidFire Tools, Redstor, Trend Micro, Auvik, Barracuda MSP, CA Technologies, China Telecom, Continuum, Entrust Datacard, IT Glue, Kaseya, Keepabl, Pointsharp, SolarWinds MSP, Volta Data Centres and Webroot.
The next in the Managed Services & Hosting Summit series of events will be the European Managed Services & Hosting Summit 2019 in Amsterdam next May.
About IT Europa
IT Europa is the leading provider of strategic business intelligence, news and analysis on the European IT marketplace and the primary channels that serve it. In addition to its news services the company markets a range of database reports and organises European conferences and events for the IT and Telecoms sectors. For further details visit: www.iteuropa.com
About Angel Business Communications
Angel Business Communications is an industry leading B2B publisher and conference and exhibition organiser. ABC has developed skills in various market sectors – including Semiconductor Manufacturing, IT – Storage Networking, Data Centres and Solar manufacturing. With offices in both Watford and Coventry, it has the infrastructure to develop a leadership role in the markets it serves by providing a multi-faceted approach to the business of providing business with the information it needs. For further information visit: www.angelbc.com
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