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  • Business Consultant - the HOT new role for MSPs

    Posted by Jacqui Rand October 9, 2018 344 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Consultant  #VAR  #MSP  #Business 

    Once upon a time in IT Land, companies tended to adopt a break-fix, point-solution model to their technology. Then, as systems became more complex, the need emerged for providers who could integrate systems and help to avoid things breaking, by monitoring the equipment, maintaining the software and advising on future issues – and so the managed service provider (MSP) was born.

     MSPs prospered by handling “Transformation” as corporations moved towards digital and IT reliance; filling the gaps in in-house ability, offering cost savings and reducing exposure to risk. They also expanded their offerings to include services like data analytics, business intelligence (BI) and advanced application monitoring.

     Organisations have since become ever more reliant on specialist consultants and value-added services, and so managed services has become a more strategic, rather than cost-driven decision, helping them to react quickly to developments in technology and changes in the market. With the advent of the cloud, MSPs are managing more and more complex hybrid environments, and focusing on a variety of specialisms, like regulatory compliance, cyber security, disaster recovery and strategic consultancy.

     But as companies become more reliant on the technology they use, and even come to be defined by it, CIOs aren’t just looking for a partner who can manage their services, but can also proactively help them find their way through the maze posed by rapidly advancing technology and its effect on strategy – effectively, they’re looking for business consultants who really understand technology, and where it’s headed.

     Saying it out loud just makes clear what’s already been obvious for some time. The cloud, in particular, has been a catalyst for changing the ways companies operate. And in the process, it is absorbing system complexity and evolving future business practices, some of which are better understood in the IT department than in the boardroom.

     These days, MSPs have a seat at the big table; often invited to join business strategy meetings as they are needed to advise of developments in technology and the effects it may have on the business – even shaping business decisions. Their remit increasingly extends beyond the technologies for which they were originally directly responsible.

     As competitive advantage is increasingly driven by technology, there is a greater reliance on advisers who understand the potential of emerging technologies and their effects on the business. The latest trends in retail and ecommerce, from augmented reality (AR) to social media, or a clear understanding of how AI is already transforming the ability of companies to understand and relate to their customers, could have profound effects on near-future business strategy.

     As technology continues to assume a more central role in business development - helping to define the fundamentals of how businesses grow, how they explore new markets, relate to their customers and achieve sales - a confident grasp of trends and capabilities is essential for those businesses to succeed. As digitally literate people in a position of influence, MSPs are increasingly capable of helping to shape strategy rather than simply react to it.

     Of course, to gain recognition as a business consultant, you have to ask for it. If you already have the expertise on your team, it may be worth bringing it to the fore, explicitly offering the service. Or it may be better to use a service such as Channeliser to partner with a business consultant that give you the edge you need in your customer’s boardroom.