“If you think that the project is finished even after a small size migration project to public cloud, that’s a mistake,” he explained.
“It’s finished the two or three months after you move it across but then, you have to continue engaging your subject matter to optimise the benefits of the public cloud.”
In light of the concept of cost of ownership, Deveaux said the margins are “quite large” in this space.
“If I can own something then after a specific amount of time I can generate more profitability on it than a subscription model, I genuinely think that the allure of that is fantastic for the channel,” he said.
“The problem I find is that MSPs haven’t quite worked out how to generate the return on investment on the perpetual spend.
“With people who don’t know the cloud or haven’t been educated properly, they’re a little bit reluctant put their data somewhere where they can’t see the server five steps away or five cubicles away. Australia has had a hard time cracking that nut.”
Secom Technology owner and founder Jason Drew highlighted that different industries have different limitations.
“The legislative part we can’t put it in the cloud,” he said. “But in terms of cloud solutions, what we see from our end is a hybrid. When it comes to contracts, it’s more of a legal conversation than a practical conversation.
“But I am optimistic that I think with the changes that we’re facing in this market we’re starting to deal with that as well.”
MacKenzie added that the concept of more customers utilising cloud is fantastic, but said there are certain limitations around network connection to the cloud.
“We’ve potentially got all of the right elements of the puzzle, and even though they’re not of a sufficiently sophisticated level, they can be leveraged as much as possible to have an on-premise/ private cloud/ public cloud conversation, and have a look at their workloads and see how we can generate income, protect that and give it the best possible chance to survive in the market.”
Moving forward, the channel agreed on one thing — MSPs, vendors and distributors alike must focus on selling relationships instead of solely looking at doing business.
“We’re good at what we do and we know what we’re doing because we listen to our clients and actually build a set of products into a solution that our customers need,” Spillane said.
“It does come down to sales and marketing sophistication and expertise, but primarily the issue is in building these relationships.”
Echoing Spillane’s sentiments, Drew added that the bottom line for MSPs is to increase subscription revenue, which is through managed services.
“Every one of our solutions has a subscription and we build revenue streams across a range of specific verticals,” he said.
“So when I say the client is sticky, I believe you need to make the client dependent on you. If a client can get up and leave, then we’re in trouble and I don’t think holding them to contracts is going to help us. It’s about relationships and value to their business.”
Looking ahead, Greatrex believes that the market is moving towards a subscription path, meaning MSPs should find a differentiator for themselves to remain relevant in the channel.
“Anything you can productise and if it’s popular, someone else is going to do it as well at some point,” he said.
“So, we will develop specific applications for specific clients that’s very hard to replicate easily. Anyone can be an MSP, but to actually build fairly sophisticated applications on the platform makes you very sticky.
“And we like to try and productise some of those things where we can but often the discrete nature of those applications and the way it’s configured means it’s very hard for them to swap us out. So that’s where we’re going.”
As explained by Lowe, customers don’t necessarily always know everything, but more and more will want to know the direction that they’re heading towards, giving MSPs more reasons to have conversations and satisfy the needs of their customers.
“You might not to necessarily have the right product or the right skill set but it’s your job to come up with a solution that solves that challenge that they’ve got,” he added.
“Whether that’s in partnering with other organisations that have the skill set that you don’t have, you’ve got to look at delivering for that customer. Because in the end, that’s what makes them sticky when you’re solving a business challenge.”
This roundtable was sponsored by SolarWinds MSP. Photos by Maria Stefina.