A 20-year veteran of the managed service provider (MSP) business and president of Seattle cloud solutions firm Arterian, Jamison West shares three suggestions he’d apply if starting an MSP from scratch right now.

  1. Focus on cloud – The tricky part is, we are in a world that five years ago doesn’t look like it will five years from now. My first thing is, I’m not doing on-premises at all. I’m never touching a server again. We’re in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. As an MSP, our success is tied to picking (our partner) in that cloud-first, mobile-first world.

 

  1. Become an expert partner – Get extremely immersed in that cloud technology. Pick your horse. For me, it’s Microsoft. Are you comfortable with the technology? You have to believe that this is going to be a relevant platform in the future and pick the company who you can partner with. Microsoft is a partner company. I can support it because I built my business with Microsoft. I totally believe in (CEO Satya Nadella’s) vision.

 

  1. Know your endgame – You have to know what your goal is. You can’t run, over the long-term, a mature MSP at 10 or less people. I don’t believe our competitive environment is going to let you be successful at that smaller scale. So, you could build and sell before you get to that level of maturity. Or, do you plan to grow organically or through acquisition to get past that plateau. Just know what your end game is going to be.

 

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