Tomorrow’s MSP teams are comprised of member-leaders. They work together, identifying strategies to migrate their own businesses – and their customers’ – from legacy IT systems, models and mindset to “What’s Next?”
A “What’s Next?” strategy focuses MSP (managed service provider) teams on continuous value creation versus project-related tactical task fulfillment.
Where do you go to start expanding your mindset for “What’s Next” in tomorrow’s channel? The channel of the future?
On September 27-30, 2015, I attended the inaugural Penton® Channel Directions LIVE meeting in Tampa. It was an innovative slam-dunk. Their benchmark format featured a refreshing Think Tank environment.
The overarching focus of the meeting for me? Creating and leveraging adaptability, disruption and innovation to transition your own channel business, and those of your customers, from today into tomorrow and towards the future.
Something to chew on: How many of your internal MSP teams consistently buy-into the planning and execution of strategy? Think what your revenue stream might look like, year after year, if this mindset became part of your organizational DNA.
Here are a few of the high-level take-aways from the meeting.
What’s Next? is tomorrow’s table stakes
Keynoter Josh Linkner charged attendees with adopting Coach K’s philosophy of “Crave What’s Next.” That on-the-court advice is adaptable for your business. The pace of IT innovation does not provide a safe harbor for complacency. The industry, and your customers, are searching for “What’s Next?” They expect the same focus from you, as a channel partner of worth.
Something to chew on: As leaders of MSP teams, do you value curiosity among your leader-members? Leverage your team’s curiosity. Become your customers’ go-to resource for “What’s Next?” That question is tomorrow’s table stakes.
Just what is “it” that your MSP teams do?
One of the most anomalous polls of the meeting was about the title you give your business. There was no consensus about what each company “calls” themselves. MSP, CSP, Channel Partner, Vendor are legacy titles that don’t address “What’s Next?” Do these titles cloud your customers’ ability to realize the value your MSP team brings to their business tables?
If you do not know who you are today, how can you create your trajectory for whom you will become tomorrow and in the future?
My advice: Don’t leave it up to your customers to figure out Who You Are. They will pigeon-hole you, and your MSP team’s capabilities – if they haven’t already done so.
And wait, there’s more: What type of individuals do you require to support a business culture of constantly craving “What’s Next?” How might your choices impact your customers’ organizations?
Focus your MSP Team on becoming more adaptable
Ryan Morris carried the idea of “What’s Next?” as a disruptive vehicle, a step further. He asked attendees to think about the adaptability of your organization for tomorrow and into the channel of the future. Morris called for businesses to create fluid simultaneous portfolios. Your mission, if you choose to accept it: incorporate a strategy allowing you to navigate in and out of market cycles on purpose.
My advice: Hire “What’s Next?” individuals who make your company nimble and flexible. Give your business model (and yourself) the capability, and capacity, to migrate away from old technology markets and establish leadership positions in new ones.
Culture is your Biggest Elephant
After pondering and processing the meeting, the biggest Elephants in the Channel Partner Room are those impacting the Playbooks we create for navigating the channel together. Are you ignoring the impact of organizational behavior and corporate culture on how you and your MSP teams create and articulate value and drive revenue?
Today’s “What’s Next?” MSP teams focus on optimizing both their operations and business model. However, let’s not forget about optimizing your MSP teams themselves. Tomorrow’s “What’s Next?” MSP teams will migrate customers to the Cloud, for starters. These teams will be called on to assist customers in Big Data utilization and interpretation.
The Future mandates your MSP team’s adaptability to usher in the IoT transformation, including enabling your customers’ capabilities to incorporate AI and 3D production into the mix. Can you accomplish this goal with the infrastructure, personnel and corporate mindset that you have today?
Which strategy on your drawing board?
Clearly, MSP teams wrestle with complex questions impacting the trajectory and structure of their businesses. Think-Tank forums like Penton’s Channel Directions Live give everyone permission to become curious: to realize they “don’t know.”
There are no easy answers or quick fixes for the big questions that were asked at the meeting. Start by asking yourself and your MSP teams these questions.
- Does your current team culture continuously seek out “What’s Next?”
- What do you call “what you do” for your customers: today, tomorrow and in the future?
- How adaptable are your current organizational operations, business model and culture?
Kudos! to Penton Marketing Director, Debbie Kane, and Host T.C. Doyle, along with presenter partners and Penton team members, who offered provocative and engaging team-oriented presentations and breakout sessions. (And Shhhhh. I know who The VAR Guy® is!)
Babette Ten Haken started out her career as a scientist. Early on, she was asked to bring clarity to the chaos of stalemated conversations between engineers, sales, IT, quality, legal and marketing folks. She focuses on building collaborative, innovative and profitable teams who are focused on excellence in the hand-off of strategy for execution. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.