A Christmas Carol for ModernMSPs

christmas carol

VAR, IT Solutions Providers and Managed Service Providers

On a frigid and foggy Christmas Eve, a shrewd, hard-working, good-spirited businessperson named Vincent Andrew Reseller (his friends used to call him VAR), works meticulously in his counting-house. Outside the office creaks a little sign reading: Legacy ITSP & MSP—a somber reminder of his business partnership with Jacob Marley, who died seven years earlier. Inside the office, Reseller watches over his CFO, a poor diminutive man named Bob Cratchit, who shows him the latest ledger. “Bah! Humbug!”

Reseller follows the same old routine, taking dinner in his usual tavern, and returning home through the dismal, fog-blanketed streets of his town.

Reseller opens his door and trudges into his bleak quarters. He makes little effort to brighten his home: “darkness is cheap, and Reseller liked it.” As he plods up the wide staircase, Reseller, in utter disbelief, sees a wraith of his departed partner, Marley, climbing the stairs beside him.

Marley tells Reseller that it has come from beyond the grave to save him from this very fate. He says that Reseller will be visited by three spirits…

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Duck, figgy pudding, and crazy parties that never seemed to end – it was fantastic coming of age when there were thick margins in hardware and product and services were almost a throwaway.

Sure, things changed in the business as we went from child to teenager and teenager to young adult. There were always transitions that needed to be dealt with along the journey.

Mainframe to Mini, Mini to PC, and PC to Internet – we handled them all. Turns out services were not a throwaway, they’ve become one of our major profit pools.

It was hard, and we changed a little growing up, but our core beliefs are still intact. We are a little older, wiser, and on some days slightly jaded. But we built a heck of a business.

We remain unfazed even though the Ghost of Christmas Past opened our eyes to what the true reality was versus how we remember it.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

You are a little grayer and perhaps wrinkled, but as an adult, business looks good and the outlook could not be better – we are still growing!

So why is The Ghost of Christmas Present at your side, painting a picture that you just cannot believe? It’s a picture of doom and gloom. He shows you vision and hard facts of the cloud and digital services and how they’re eating into the traditional spend of your core business.

You’d heard many times from your strategic vendors and industry prognosticators that the cloud computing era was upon us, but it was going to affect others – not you…

Now I’m mad and bitter, how can my customers be outlining, researching and consuming monthly services without me?

Don’t they know I’m their trusted advisor? I worked hard to earn that self-imposed position;  they were supposed to call me when they were contemplating any move.  Well, they weren’t that great a customer anyway, and we should have fired them years ago…

What’s that, Ghost of Christmas Present? There is more? Many of my clients are bypassing me because I don’t look like an onramp to the cloud and have not become recurring revenue-friendly.

Take me from the present, I don’t want to see any more…

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

I’m truly rattled, but it’s all right. The apparitions of the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present were just providing more of the crap I’ve been hearing for a few years now.

Business has never been better…

What, who’s that? The Ghost of Christmas Future? You’ve got to be kidding me. You want to show me what things will look like in three years? No, no, no I don’t want to see what is to come!

I don’t recognize most of the Partners at this Christmas Partner Summit. Why is my old laptop and scaly cap on that empty chair? First Tiny Tim gets it, and now me. This is bullshit!

The Ghost of Christmas Future continues to show you the shrunken figures that were once the muscular hulks of transaction-based businesses. Many had thought the recurring revenue and cloud era was just a bunch of hooey. Or worse, they thought they could make the transition quickly, only to find it’s a 12- to 18-month journey, and they did not have the will or stamina to take on the challenge.

You can’t bear to look as competitors you’ve never heard of pick through the business that was once your pride and joy…

Take me away from all this Ghost – it is just too painful to watch…

The Morning After

You wake from the nightmare, but you know it was all too real. You run to the window and open the sash and yell down to the young born-in-the-cloud Millennial: “What day is it?”

She responds, “The day you begin preparing for next Christmas! You’ll need the year to commit, assess, and begin the journey toward adding a truly solid and profitable subscription-based recurring revenue component to your overall business mix.

But don’t worry, there are people who are blazing a trail for their partners and helping them make the move to a recurring revenue-friendly business model.

Companies like BitTitan (@BitTitan) and Microsoft (@Azure) are at the forefront of driving partner profitability via automation and transformation. Learning from ModernMSP.com (@ModernMsp) is key, and showcases trends and insights critical to partners looking to grow recurring revenue streams – profitably.

Also, look to Westcon|Comstor (@WestconComstor), who are running some really interesting business-focused programs designed to help their customers make the changes in their business that will ensure they are productive and profitable in the cloud and managed services.”

You thank her and throw down a fully-loaded Starbucks (@Starbucks) gift card, and wish her well.

You get dressed and head to the office with the actual conviction, bull-headed determination, and attitude required to get your fair share and more of this multibillion-dollar opportunity.

You woke up in enough time to write your own story instead of being written out of someone else’s…

Much luck on your journey!

Remain Calm and Cloud On…

 

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George Mellor
George Mellor is the Founder & CEO of KloudReadiness, LLC. Prior to founding KloudReadiness, George co-founded VARcompliance (acquired by Netformx). George has spent his adult life working within the value added reseller and solution provider marketplace driving innovative approaches that positively affected the growth and profitability of several businesses. He’s held senior leadership roles at several solution providers including CBE Technologies, Netivity Solutions (now NWN Corporation) and Charter Systems.