Managed Services Alliance Rolls Out Advanced Designation for VARs

In an effort to protect the fast-growing managed-services business, the trade organization MSPAlliance introduces a master designation to differentiate VARs that provide a more comprehensive level of service.

Recognizing the need to protect the integrity of the high-growth global Managed Service Provider (MSP) industry, the MSPAlliance (MSPA) has introduced the Accredited Master MSP designation for members that provide reseller opportunities for others MSPs and VARs.

 “Given the evolution and proliferation of managed services, MSPA and our thousands of members believe it is imperative to have clear standards around the designation of Master MSP,” said Charles Weaver, MSPA president. “The Master MSP designation will give MSPs and VARs criteria to measure partners by.”

MSPA is an association of more than 7,000 MSPs and technology vendors which collaborate to define, promote and educate the managed-services industry and the end-user consumer about the adoption and use of managed services.

Managed Services Expanding

Managed services are proliferating. The growth of hosted services, specifically hosted applications or SaaS (software as a service), is driving managed services revenue growth in the United States, according to a report last year from researcher In-Stat. The company forecast that hosted application revenues will grow from $8 billion in 2008 to $16 billion by 2012.

“There are a lot of MSPs out there that claim they are master MSPs, but when you look closer you quickly realize they don’t offer VARs all the services they need to become MSPs,” said Lane Smith, president of Do IT Smarter.

San-Diego based Do IT Smarter is one of three companies already accredited as a Master MSP by the MSPAlliance. The others are Clearpointe Technology, Little Rock, Ark. and The Utility Company, Ottawa.

 “We not only provide the managed services VARs need, but we provide training, dedicated support, collateral, as well as a NOC (network operations center) we’ve built up over the past 10 years,” said Smith.

Do IT Smarter’s managed services include: remote monitoring (Dell, SilverBack and Level Platforms); IT service management (Service-Now); email and Internet security (MX Logic); firewall (SonicWall); and print services (Xerox).

Differentiating Services

Smith said he believes the Master MSP designation will help his company and other MSPs to differentiate themselves from those that only deliver SaaS solutions or other related granular offerings, rather than reselling proprietary NOC services.

The Accredited Master MSP designation is an extension of the MSPA’s Managed Services Accreditation Program (MSAP), and signifies the association’s ongoing efforts to create best business practices within the managed services industry, said Weaver. MSAP is the only standards-based program created for the managed services industry. The new designation will provide VARs with the necessary resources to take the MSAP exam, even if they lack their own NOC.

To pass muster as a Master MSP, Weaver emphasized that MSPs will have to undergo stringent tests of every facet of their business.

“We will examine the efficiency and automation of their business processes and managed services, check their physical and virtual security infrastructure, make sure they are financially healthy, look at their disaster recovery plans and even inspect their power generators,” said Weaver.

The cost of obtaining the Master MSP designation starts at $5,000.

TAGS: Microsoft,SaaS,managed services,VARs,MSPAlliance

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