Networking As A Service Is The Play MSPs Should Pursue, Says CommScope

‘You cannot look for happiness in the same place you lost it. If you keep doing what you're doing and just calling yourself an MSP, it's not going to work,’ says Mittal Parekh, product marketing director for CommScope.

Managing the network and keeping businesses up and running are two of the biggest areas of opportunities today for MSPs. But becoming an MSP is a tall order, according to Mittal Parekh, product marketing director for CommScope.

Network infrastructure provider CommScope in April acquired communications and networking specialist Arris International, which owns Ruckus, for $7.4 billion in an effort to expanding its product offerings and grow its total addressable market to more than $60 billion, according to the Hickory, N.C.-based provider. Under CommScope, Ruckus just got louder, Parekh said.

"If you're a Ruckus partner, you should be very happy about this because you have an $11 billion company working with you, and if you're a CommScope partner, now you have way more things to work with as you expand your MSP business or get into the MSP business," he said.

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[Related: CommScope Completes ‘Once- In-A-Lifetime’ Arris-Ruckus Acquisition]

But solution providers can't just call themselves MSPs, Parekh said. MSPs are not "point providers" and they must demonstrate their value to their clients and their client's customers continuously.

"You cannot look for happiness in the same place you lost it," Parekh said. "If you keep doing what you're doing and just calling yourself an MSP, it's not going to work."

Five-Star Technology, a Sellersburg, Ind.-based MSP, partners today with several networking vendors -- including Cisco, Aruba, and Ruckus -- to serve its base of education customers.

K-12 customers rely on Five-Star for its consulting and managed services, especially because every student and faculty member is now using a device to do their work. As an MSP, Five-Star has to continually prove themselves to their clients, and their client's end users, said D.J. Hanen, chief operations officer for Five-Star Tech.

"The market continues to shift and it's always about what's next." Hanen said. "If you have a school with 2,000 students and 250 faculty and its one-to-one with everyone having a device, it's making the network and uptime absolutely critical."

Channel partners looking to really transform into an trusted MSP will need a good partner, Parekh said. Adding networking as a service is a good add-on and natural fit for many solution providers on their path toward MSP, he said.

"For many partners, there's a few areas that they can easily move into that will get them the most bang for the buck. Networking as a service, network management, happens to be one of those," he said.

CommScope offers a range of solutions -- including switches, access points, secure network access, analytics and location, and IoT -- today that can run in the public cloud, on-premise at a customer or partner's site or cloud, or within the Ruckus cloud, Parekh said. The vendor's range of networking as a service offerings are a good fit for partners with customers of all sizes, from enterprises, the midmarket, or small businesses, he added.

CommScope is also offering an MSP Specialization and Cloud Specialization programs for partners, which give MSPs the training needed to offer CommScope’s Ruckus switches and access points.

"We have everything and its brother and sister when it comes to networking as a service," Parekh said. "Put it all together, and that's your networking as a service offering you can take to your end customer."