You hear it from IT managers everywhere: Businesses today are struggling to cope with IT system complexity, tight capital expense budgets, shortages of IT expertise and security worries. Is it any wonder the demand for managed service providers is on the rise?
"Our company has been growing quite dramatically," said Steven Cariglio, president of Akuity Technologies, an Auburn, Mass.-based MSP that started as a system builder 28 years ago, evolved into a break-fix services company in the early 2000s and launched its MSP business in 2008.
Akuity isn't alone. The worldwide managed services market hit $107.17 billion in 2014, according to MarketsandMarkets, and is forecast to grow at 12.5 percent CAGR to $193.34 billion in 2019.
CRN has assembled the 2016 Managed Service Provider 500, an annual list that recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. MSPs, a fast-growing segment of the IT channel, are helping customers navigate the increasingly complex and ever-changing landscape of IT.
Take Bryley Systems of Hudson, Mass., which started as a more traditional VAR in 1985 before taking on the task of remotely managing its clients' IT systems in 1997. The company's broad range of services (managing networks, security, email, and desktop and mobile devices) and solutions (cloud, virtualization, network security, data backup, virtual CTO and more) are in high demand.
"We're doing really well," said President Gavin Livingstone, noting that 2015 was the second-best year in the company's history (2000, in the midst of the dot-com boom, is hard to beat). Today about 70 percent of the company's revenue is services (and just more than half is recurring revenue) while 30 percent is hardware and software.
Demand for Bryley's services is being driven by IT complexity, the need for end-user support, security needs and compliance requirements, Livingstone said. "Manage, optimize and secure" is how he sums up his company's work, which uses the motto "Dependable IT at a predictable cost."
Akuity provides managed IT services (including network infrastructure and cloud services), professional services (engineering services, network design, VoIP, virtualization) and IT assessments.
The demand for skilled IT professionals is a major driver for Akuity's services, Cariglio said. Clients "look to companies like ours to fill in those gaps," he said. Akuity has tripled both its workforce and its revenue in the past five years.
The lists below include samplings of the Elite 150, Pioneer 250 and Hosting 100 (available tomorrow), which collectively make up this year's MSP 500, and the services they provide.
2016 MSP 500: Elite 150
The MSP Elite 150 is a list of channel companies who are large, data center-focused solution providers with a strong mix of on-premise professional services and off-premise services.
2016 MSP 500: Pioneer 250
The MSP Pioneer 250 is a list of solution providers with business models weighted toward managed services, with a focus on the SMB market.
2016 MSP 500: Hosting 100
The Hosting 100 is a list of managed service providers who own and operate their own data centers and provide subscription-based services.