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Channel Sage David Powell Is Taking Job To Build Next- Generation Managed Service Provider

‘Most MSPs have failed miserably at casting a vision for customers trying to understand where the market is going and what they need to do to be successful in a world where digital disruption is changing the face of every business. What I want to do is put us in a position where we as technologists are educating and guiding our customers with a consultative focus tied to business outcomes,’ Powell tells CRN.

Channel guru David Powell, general manager of the service provider business for SaaS performance monitoring provider LogicMonitor, is taking a new job as chief revenue officer for Corsica Technologies, a next-generation, private-equity-backed managed service provider.

Powell, who has received wide acclaim over his 21-year career for his ability to navigate fast-moving technology and business model changes, said the opportunity to lead a buildout of a next-generation MSP focused on secondary markets was too much to pass up even with LogicMonitor coming off its best quarter ever for MSP sales.

"Everything was going great at LogicMonitor," said Powell, who for the last two and a half years has acted as a consultant of sorts to MSPs in his service provider job at LogicMonitor. "We are killing it with MSPs with a great solution. But this is an opportunity to take the MSP model to the next level with a consultative, business outcome methodology."

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The MSP of the future model is being backed by Inverness Graham, a private investment firm with over $500 million in assets under management. The plan is for Corsica with Inverness Graham backing to buy six MSPs across the country for the national buildout.

In addition to Corsica, the Inverness Graham portfolio includes SwipeClock, a cloud-based workforce management solution; GPSTrackit, a SaaS-based fleet management software maker; and DataSource, a brand management business process outsourcing provider.

Powell said he is looking forward to helping build out a fleet of MSPs that combines unmatched operational and sales efficiencies with a digital transformation/business consulting vision that is simply not part of the arsenal of most MSPs, particularly in secondary markets.

"Most MSPs have failed miserably at casting a vision for customers trying to understand where the market is going and what they need to do to be successful in a world where digital disruption is changing the face of every business," said Powell. "What I want to do is put us in a position where we as technologists are educating and guiding our customers with a consultative focus tied to business outcomes. "

The Corsica business model strikes squarely at the criticism that has plagued the MSP market—namely that far too many MSPs compete to offer the lowest price per user with a “I'll take on your IT mess for less” sales philosophy.

"A lot of innovation has slowed in the MSP business because of a tendency to provide the exact same services as competitors with cost as the only differentiator," said Powell. "The MSP model has lacked consultative guidance. Our model at Corsica is to educate our customers on where the market is going and then guide and shepherd them to a future state. This is about looking at the future together with our customers as opposed to just trying to save a few dollars on a support contract."

Part of the next-generation MSP model is to build unprecedented marketing and sales alignment at Corsica with Powell as chief revenue officer overseeing both sales and marketing operations. "Chief revenue officer is the new model to ensure both sales and marketing are working together," said Powell. "We are going to train our salespeople to have business conversations with business people, and marketing will support those conversations. This is about understanding the business outcomes that customers need to achieve and then finding solutions that meet those needs and delivering them in a managed way."

Powell said the strong foundation provided by Corsica, a CRN Next Gen 250 MSP that last year moved into a new Centreville, Md., headquarters with a 24/7 network operations center, is key to the successful MSP buildout.

Sixteen-year-old Corsica is, in fact, an MSP superstar that won the Solarwinds MSP of the Year award in 2018. The company is headed by founder and CEO Dale Walls, who has significantly expanded the company's cloud and security offerings.

The new position puts Powell, who was previously vice president of managed and cloud services at MSP superstar TekLinks, back with former TekLinks colleague Matthew Bagley, who joined Corsica as chief operating officer in December.

"Corsica has a great operational model that is defined and can be scaled out," said Powell. "The plan is to marry a high-velocity SaaS sales model with a strong operational platform. We have an opportunity to create a universal adapter for both operational and sales and marketing maturity. With that kind of model we can plug any MSP we acquire into this scalable model and grow."

Powell said his experience puts him in a unique position at this point in his career to drive a fresh, creative approach to building out a next-generation MSP. “At LogicMonitor, I spoke with 150 MSPs and met with over 50 in person," he said. "I feel I have my finger on the pulse with regard to what is going on in the industry, what is working and what is not working."

Powell said he is looking forward to helping customers embrace new technologies that will drive game- changing business outcomes for customers.

"The potential is unbelievable given that we are coming to the market with a clean slate," he said. "I am really energized by the fact that I am going to be able to take all my MSP experience at TekLinks and LogicMonitor and couple that with a successful MSP to build a new MSP model. This is all about creating a next-generation go-to-market model for MSPs."

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