The managed services business model is undergoing the most dramatic transformation since companies moved from break/fix to a recurring revenue model, and some MSPs aren’t sure about the path forward.

That’s according to Gary Pica, industry thought leader and founder of TruMethods, an organization that helps MSPs realize the best performance from their businesses. Pica brought that message to his Schnizzfest event in Philadelphia last month, and shared the details in a recent phone call with MSPmentor. Pica also gave us an update on some TruMethods announcements, including upcoming integration with PSA software. Here’s what Pica said.

Cloud disruptions loom

“What I’m seeing now is not dissimilar to what I saw back in the early stages of managed services,” Pica told me. “I’m seeing it again with the cloud evolution.”

Before remote monitoring and management became mainstream, the idea of automating IT processes was a big deal, Pica said. Now it’s commonplace, and the best business practice is how to take the technology and “wrap a process around it so that every customer has a specific result.”

Commodity pricing pressure

But we are still in the early days of cloud, and some MSPs still view it as something to fear. In many cases, cloud changes the business model. There’s hosted apps, hosted infrastructure, hosted desktops and more. And as the technology begins to proliferate, IT service providers feel the downward pricing pressure.

Pica recommends that every MSP work on developing an MSP Superpower. Your Superpower is the reason people do business with you and it’s what makes you unique.

MSP Superpower defined (It's not what you think.)

Pica’s definition of an MSP Superpower is this: Put all your knowledge and experience into a package that shows customers that you can give them a unique result, even though all other things are the same.

TruMethods sought to make that easier for MSPs with last year’s introduction of MyITProcess, a blueprint and map for automated IT services that provide customers with a unique experience.

Pica notes that many Schnizzfest attendees had a different view of their superpower. They said things like: “It’s because we understand their business,” or “We offer a better response time.”

Pica points out that these responses are generic – they could come from just about any MSP.

Standardize and align

“Everybody offers pretty the same thing,” he told me.

Instead, MSPs should take each piece of the business, one by one, and standardize on best practices. Then align customers to the standards and practices.

“Constant alignment against standards is the key,” said Pica, adding that he built his own MSP businesses around this concept.

But, he acknowledged, “It’s getting harder to do that with the cloud evolution.”  And maybe that’s why some MSPs fear the cloud.

But MSPs have an edge that big companies can never have with the small and medium sized businesses, Pica said.

“There's a reason why these big companies like Dell have not been successful in the SMB market,” he said. “SMBs are locked up by independents. “It’s not just about the service. These are small business people. They need a level of relationship. They need all your knowledge and experience. That's what all these SMBs need. MSPs are uniquely qualified to provide that relationship that these big companies don't understand.”

What’s new with TruMethods

TruMethods will release a new member portal this fall. The redesigned site will also feature a mobile app, letting members get all the value of TruMethods on the go.

MyIT Process has added new features, headlined by integration with professional services integration software (PSA) starting with ConnectWise. ConnectWise integration will arrive by the end of Q3 with AutoTask and TigerPaw integration coming in Q1 of 2014.