Adoption of cloud computing and managed services range from businesses just dabbling in a few stand-alone applications, such as CRM or email, to those that are all-in with many of their IT services being provided and managed by third-party MSPs.
Many businesses across that adoption spectrum have one thing in common, however: They are thinking strategically, not just about cutting costs, and increasingly looking for guidance about their next steps in cloud and managed services. And they are often turning to MSPs for their expertise.
"We are getting increased requests for advisory services," said Jeff Budge, vice president of advisory consulting and product management at OneNeck IT Solutions, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of hybrid IT solutions whose offerings include cloud and hosting services, managed services, professional services and application management.
Early adopters heavily invested in cloud and managed services are "trying to figure out what are the next steps," Budge said, while those who have moved more slowly are still looking to understand what cloud and managed services can do for them.
"It used to be Capex versus Opex," said Richard Anderson, CEO of Imagine IT, noting that cost savings were once a big driver of cloud and managed services decisions. But today Imagine IT, a Bloomington, Minn.-based MSP for SMBs, is seeing more businesses and organizations thinking strategically about managed services.
And that means MSPs like OneNeck IT Solutions and Imagine IT are getting more requests for their strategic advisory services.
"We really help them see the future and provide a path through technology of how to get there," Anderson said.
The managed services market hit $145.3 billion in 2016 and will grow at a CAGR of 10.8 percent to $242.5 billion by 2021, according to a Markets and Markets forecast.
With such growing demand in mind, CRN again assembles the Managed Service Provider 500, an annual list that recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services.
The list is divided into three categories: the MSP Pioneer 250, recognizing companies with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market; the MSP Elite 150, identifying large, data center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premise and off-premise services; and new this year the Managed Security 100, MSPs focused primarily on cloud-based security services.
Imagine IT, for example, is a Pioneer 250 MSP that provides backup and recovery, IT help desk, Office 365 applications and other services. The company has been growing around 30 percent a year.
Also growing is OneNeck IT Solutions, an Elite 150 MSp with nine data centers around the U.S. providing a range of hybrid IT, co-location, ERP application management, managed service and cloud services.
The following is a sampling of the 2017 MSP 500, as well as a look at some of the services they provide. For information on purchasing the complete list, contact Laurie Condon on the East Coast (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nora Uriarte on the West Coast (email@example.com).
2017 MSP 500: Elite 150
The MSP Elite 150 is a list of channel companies who are large data-center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premise and off-premise services.
2017 MSP 500: Pioneer 250
The MSP Pioneer 250 is a list of solution providers with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on SMB market.
2017 MSP 500: Managed Security 100
The Managed Security 100 is a list of solution providers that focus primarily on delivering off-premise cloud-based security services.