by Dave Sobel | 10/1/14

As I write this article, I’m in Dusseldorf, Germany, where we are hosting our MAX 2014 conference for the German market. This is the fourth of our series, and the team has flown around the world, visiting Australia, the U.S., the UK, and now mainland Europe. The focus has been on business growth, and how to grow your business, expand product lines, and add recurring revenue.

In planning for the future, MSPs and solution providers must balance two very competing forces. The first force is the idea of consistency. Solution providers who are focusing on the idea delivering a set of services via a contractual basis for a set price (generally defined as managed services) find that a focus on process discipline delivers results. Service delivery built on consistency is repeatable, reliable, and scalable, and this is the result of a strong managed services model.

This is offset by the need to remain agile. In an industry of constant change, where new technologies are always emerging, and where industry influences all the time, solution providers need to add new products, services, and technologies constantly to their offerings to keep up to date and remain relevant.

In thinking about this relevancy, and how to maintain its lead, MAX has conducted research around this problem, and released a set of research and information around staying relevant, and remaining the Perpetually Valuable MSP.

In our research, we highlight three core characteristics to the most successful MSPs. First, MSPs at the top of their game have insights into market conditions and technology progress, developing new products and offerings in a way that benefits both customer and MSP. Second, they have a focus on Operational Process Discipline. These MSPs are built on a foundation of repeatable process, and the commitment to address and resolve big or small issues via process management. Exceptional MSPs excel at this. Finally, those best-in-class MSPs have a deep understanding of customer requirements, beyond pure technical skills, and focus on business outcomes as part of their delivery process.

Our vision is bringing all the traits required to build MSPs that will not only focus on the first two, which have traditionally been key strengths for MSPs, but also to help MSPs embrace the third, bringing new innovations into their businesses. We have a basic formula for this business agility, which we believe, is the key to ongoing success.

Business Agility can be measured as the present fitness of the business, combined with future vision, and multiplied by agile development. The present fitness of a business is the ability to optimize performance in current operations to generate investment resources and the flexibility to pursue alternatives. Future vision is the focus on seeing and understanding new opportunities that will provide value for your business and for your customers, and plan a roadmap for when to adopt relevant options. Finally, agile development is the skill of assessing the impact of market drivers and taking fast, deliberate action to incorporate new offerings, retire offerings that are no longer valuable, and maintain predictable results.

This leads naturally into some best practices around becoming the Perpetually Valuable MSP. Our whitepaper (available to readers) covers that in depth, and future columns will expand on these. Building a system to be perpetually valuable appeals to MSPs, by using the skills developed already in process building on their own business to ensure relevancy ongoing with their customers.


Dave Sobel is responsible for fostering the growth and success of GFI MAX Partners. As director of partner community, he helps promote collaboration, education and innovation among GFI MAX Partners and among the industry as a whole, ensures they have access to business, technology and market resources, and are utilizing the MAX Platform to achieve positive growth, enhance their offerings and become best-in-class solution providers.