B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 4 months ago

Understanding the MSP landscape with Randy and Adam


Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are not immune to the increasingly threatening landscape of cybersecurity. Ingram Micro is primed to support MSPs as they navigate end-user demands and build a solid security practice. 

What does that look like from case to case? 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Randy Irvine, Director of Sales and Market Development, and Adam Bellows, Director of Vendor Management, both of Ingram Micro, about: 

- The shifting landscape of MSPs

- How Ingram Micro supports their partners

- Consistent education between vendors and partners 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two, B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This episode is sponsored by Ingram Micro security. Strengthen your security practice. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two, B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, shall be Scare Hawk, and our guests today are Randy Irvine, director of sales and market development, and Adam bellows, director of vendor management, both of Ingram micro. Randy and Adam, welcome. Shall be great to be here with you both today. Great to be here, Shelby. Excited to have this conversation. Yeah, well, so you know, today we are talking about growing your MSP and building that recurring revenue with you guys, the experts there at Ingram micro. But first, Randy, let's talk about manage service providers, I guess, quickly for the initiated, what is an MSP? Yeah, our definition of a managed service provider is, you know, any partner WHO's providing some type of service to their end clients, especially from a reoccurring revenue standpoint. Is really how we define the MSP marketplace today. Brandy, is that the same thing as an MSSP. Great question, Adam, right, uh, right. On my favorite topic of security, I would say, you know, slightly different. You know, everyone's definition varies to a degree. But you know, our opinion from an MSSP standpoint is those are the MSPs that are really supplying an extra layer of security services to their end clients. or or an MSP that strictly focuses on nothing but security. Is How we view the MSSP market today. So they're more dedicated in that security focus. That's the main service for providing, not a kind of an over all services suite. Right, exactly, spot on.

So, Adam, we know we're seeing a lot of industry change, of course, in the past two years. Have MSPs then changed as well? So, you know, I would say yes and no. I think you're seeing, you know, the rise of the traditional Var that is moving into the MSP world and becoming a service provider. You know, we talk a lot to partners and they talk about, you know, our U N M sp, and I think there you know, that's why we kind of kicked this conversation off with the finding. I think a lot of them think they are an MSP. Um That's part of the education process and then, I think at the same time there are a lot of partners that have en MSPs for a long time, that grew up in this space, that built their practice entirely around service offerings. So you're seeing kind of a not necessarily a merger, but you're seeing an evolution in that in that MSP space, of of partners definitely trying to make their way and get into that area. Rise at the bar sounds like a good sci fi movie also, you know, Randy. Is there a difference, then, between the more traditional MSP and today's more modern MSP s? I mean, do they look different? Do they have different goals? I guess can you talk us through this kind of shifting landscape or seeing, you know, I mean to say they look different is I would be challenged to say that. I think it really just comes down to how much sure your practices right. A lot of our current MSPs, you know, have had existing, you know, for example, help death services that they've provided for a number of years, right, and they've had well established relationships with their own customers, you know, especially from a from a recurring revenue standpoint, from a managed services standpoint. But you know, in my opinion. You know, whether you're a long term MSP or you know you've you've just ventured into that space and you've started to grow your practice. You know, all of our MSPs are really focused on the same types of initiatives and that's you know, it starts with identifying the right...

...solution for their own customer. You know, moving into finance, how how does the end customer want to consume that technology and and pay for that technology? Third, I would say is, you know, how does the MSP deploy that solution? And then eventually, how do they scale? You know, how do they grow, whether it's from, you know, additional clients and and trying to scale themselves, or just trying to expand, learn and grow some of the technical solutions that they're offering their own client? So I would say from a solution standpoint, of financing standpoint, all the way to deployment and scale, those are the four key areas that our MSPs are really focused on today and those are all areas that Ingram is well positioned to help support our MSP customers and help them identify what growth areas they want to get into. Yeah, well, I'm glad you mentioned the finance piece and I do want to get into some of the services that Ingram micro provides. But I guess, following up though, so has the role then of the M SSP changed? I mean we know that the security threat landscape is uh is certainly evolving, a growing and, frankly getting scarier by the moment. Have those mssps had to shift their models, their their goals? I guess, do they look at any different nowadays? Yeah, I can jump in on that one and and Adam you can add some color, but you know, I would just I would say the overall in general, the security landscape, it just continues to get more and more complex. And you know, whether you're a you're an MSP growing and moving into that security space or whether you're well established m SSP, it's it's now is is there's no better time than now to really analyze the security products that you're offering your own customer, the...

...security solutions that you're offering your own customer. There's a tremendous amount of potential gaps from a security posture that our MSPs and M s sps need to help fill with their own clients and we think Ingram is well positioned to help our MSPS and M S S P s alike, you know, really identify what technology solutions, what vendors that they need to, you know, really lead and help offer their own clients to ensure that they're well protected. And I can add that to shelby. I think I don't necessarily think the M S S P is changed right. I think when I think of M S S P, I think of an enterprise customer base. The focus is certainly there, uh, and only more magnified with everything that randy just mentioned right in the world that we live in today. I think what you are seeing, though, is some of these MSPs trying to build out their security practice more right or, you know, and and look to certain vendors, resources services to be able to offer that. And so I think, you know, that's where we can certainly help our partners as they look to get more into those security spaces and security services around, how to get there right with our offerings, with the services we have. But I think you're going to see, you know, that whole mssp model is expensive. You you know, generally speaking of a sack. You have engineers. You know it's it's expensive to scale so how do we help our partners there and drive that, especially if you're a smaller MSP trying to build that offering up? So I think that's what we're starting to see more of and you're starting to see vendors respond and different offerings come out, especially in the last five years, to be able to support that market. But is that too steep a challenge at them? I mean for those smaller MSPs that are moving into into security? Is the landscape so volatile and complicated and challenging that's almost you know, they're too late to become an as an M S SP? Or is that learning curve too steep to be able to provide those services and you really need the demands...

...that are that are out there? You know, not if you have, you know, a trusted distributor partner like Ingram, micro shelby. So I think, I think that's the role we have to play right I think there's an education piece of it. There's a lot of stuff that we're doing and we'll talk more and and make sure we share resources, but part of what we're doing right now is helping with a from a practice builder perspective. Right, we know our partners need help in building out this practice. What is, you know, MSP one, oh one to two, oh one to three, oh one to four, oh one look like? What are the services I should be offering? What are the vendors I should be talking to? And we've built that playbook when we've built that practice builder, to help educate our partners understand this is the journey that you should be taking on. You don't necessarily need to be selling all of them, but here are things that you should be looking at if you want to get into this space, in this territory Um, and that's what we've been doing this passion and really starting to build up our practice around. How do we get our partners there and how do we help them with all this, you know, with with that learning curve that you talked about, and I think there's, you know, Randy mentioned a bunch of things from financial services, training, you know services, you know, even marketing. We're helping our partners with marketing in the space right and how do you talk to the right clients and how do you get how do you grow your MSP practice? So there's a number of elements that we're helping our partners to really build this out and get them into the space as they go forward. Now I was just gonna add, and I'm talked about training and I think, yeah, sure, you know, it's it's building that security practice. You know, can seem daunting, but you know, we have the right training enablement programs to really assist our partners with all of that. Ingram's identified, you know, that the top trends that we're seeing from a security standpoint. You know, everything from zero trust to identity and access management. Right like we have technical experts to assist our MSPS to really understand those key trends. And then what do they need to do from a solution standpoint, from a vendor standpoint, you know, how do they need to train their own, you know, engineers on staff and...

...and we can assist all of that through our tech force. And that's just you know, that's just one aspect of of helping our MSPs grow and become that trusted advisor to their own customer. Well. So, and let's go ahead and enumerate those services that Ingram micro can help provide. So let's touch on the last one you mentioned. Then the tech force. I guess if, again, for the uninitiated, tell us about that and I'll point it to you, Adam, and then come back to you, Randy. Tell us about the tech force and and basically how they are able to to work and kind of be an extension, a partner. Yeah, absolutely. You know, so that this team was really built with the idea and concept that we wanted to focus on the security trends and the solutions in that space. And so, you know, typically in a distribution world we've always been vendor lead or vendor driven, and we still are right as the lead on vendor management. They're near and dear to me. But we built this team to be able to talk to our partners about the solutions, how to build a practice around it and then, you know, downstream, come in with the vendors. That makes sense to be able to support that. So it's very much they're there to help talk to our partners about how do you build a practice around identity and access management, how do you build a practice around security awareness and training, how do you build a practice around email security and endpoint management? So and then we come in with the vendors. So they're there to fully help and educate the partners on on what's out there and then we have that vendor conversation after that. What about financial services? You know, we know that the UH, this consumption model. People, you know, companies, want to to move towards the way that that consumers take in products instead of buying the whole uh, you know, kit and caboodle. You know, they're looking at this netflix model. Randy, tellsp about this financial services and how that helps. Yeah, you know, financial services is, you know, it's probably a paramount to, you know, every security deal that we fulfill, and it really starts with not necessarily how, you know,...

...how does Ingram micro want to finance the deal? But again it's how does the end customer and and how does our MSP partner want to finance the deal? You know, whether that's upfront, whether that's through a subscription based model or a monthly reoccurring model, those are both scenarios that we can help support. You know, from the security solution standpoint, there's even some vendor partners who have created some unique programs for MSPs around usage and consumption, and you know those are those are financing methods that three or four or five years ago, you know, we thought maybe we're ten years out and they're here today. And they're all they're all models that Ingram can assist and, from a flexibility standpoint, support our partners. You know, at the end of the day, what we want to do is we want our MSPs to be that highly trusted advisor to their own customer and we want them to be profitable. And whether it's training, whether it's financing, a combination of both, you know, those are all areas that we look forward to supporting our partners and and helping them grow and close more incremental deals. So I just wanted about, you know, education of the partner, right, and part of where I sit on the vendor management side is there's definitely been education with our vendors, right, and helping them understand how this MSP world consumes technology and how they're looking to consume it. And so we've worked, you know, really closely with our vendor partners and building out MSP models and making sure that they're ready to transact. And then even certain offerings that we have today, where we have firewall as a service, right, a traditional hardware item that you can purchase on a monthly basis, or a quarterly basis or pay for on a monthly early basis, where in the past you have to lay all that out up front and purchase that upfront. So we've got a lot of different offerings. We spent a lot of time, like I said, working with our vendor partners to make sure that they're talking the same language as the MSPs and helping guide them as they build their practice. Yeah, yeah,...

...well, you know, Randy, you do work directly with the partners. I guess, if if we're to tap into some of those conversations that you're having with them, what do you here? I mean what do they need to help with to respond to the needs and demands of their customers? Yeah, you know, I'll use that question as a public service announcement as well. You know, some of the things we're seeing is just trying to help ensure that our own MSP partners have their own security posture and that they've tightened things up themselves. We're all outnumbered by the bad guys and unfortunately they've figured out that, you know, sometimes it's easier to Um to try to pick on one MSP because that opens up the door to, you know, hundreds and hundreds of end customers. So, you know, the first thing we're doing is really educating our MSPs on, you know, making sure their own you know, security posture as tight as possible and you know, we're helping them, we're helping them train them around that and also just training in general. You know, our Ingram ourselves, we've we've shifted our training programs around security from what used to be, you know, maybe yearly or twice a year, for doing those monthly now. And you know, we're doing it with smaller and shorter videos and shorter quizzes. We're trying to keep things like fishing and fraud top of mind right because it's so important and that's you know, that's one of the areas that we're starting, but you know, also just from a from a top of mind standpoint. The other thing I think of is cloud and our cloud practice and and the services were offering through our cloud marketplace. It's just another avenue where MSPs, you know, need help from a distribution standpoint of you know, how do I deploy this deal right? How can I take an opportunity and client and and make these services easy for them to scale as their business growth? And we can do that, you know, with the assistance of our cloud team and our and our cloud marketplace. So, as we do are to wrap up our episode now,...

...we always ask our guests the same funnel question and and you guys have heard this question, where do you see technology going in the next year? So, Adam'm gonna start with you. Yeah, I mean it's it's gonna be Cliche for the security guy to say there's going to be a focus on security, but it's very true and I think you look at you know, you turn in the news today, there's breaches all over. You know, you can't go a week without seeing one. You know, we see it in our partner ecosystem. You see it at the end customer. We're seeing it all over and you're seeing the evolution insecurity, right. You think about where it was five ten years ago, from a password to then the network and endpoint and now, you know, we talked about XDR and detection and Response and managed security offerings right, and how it's evolved. So you know, I think as as the bad guys only get better at this stuff, you're gonna see that focus and continue and it's not going away anytime soon. So I think for us it's about education, so while making sure our partners not without there and how we can support them from a vendorline card perspective to a services perspect and down the line. So I don't see the change in security. I don't see you changing too much here in the in the next coming years. As usually, agree with my friend Adam Uh. You know it's for me, it's the business and the landscape is just going to continue to get more and more complex, but at the same time the end customer is going to demand more and more flexibility. So you know you have complexity going up and you have the need to be flexible going up as well, and you know MSPs fit in the middle of all of that and they're going to need to continue to rely on world class distribution partners like Ingram to help support them with those efforts. Well, for our listeners who want to follow up on anything they heard today or or find out more information, how can they reach out? I'll point this to you, Randy. Yeah, I think MSP S U S at Ingram micro dot com is a terrific start. You...

...know, if they're not engaging with their dedicated field team already on some of these initiatives. U MSPT S U S at Ingram Micro Dot com is like great to start. Yeah, and another great resource Um to build on what Randy mentioned, is our security line card dot com site. Uh. This is a list of all of our technology offerings by product type, by Miss Framework that can help our partners. And on top of that we have our MSP playbook and practice builder that I alluded to earlier posted up on that website as well. So I encourage all of our partners to check that out, see our security offerings and see our playbook and how to how to build your MSP practice excellent. Well, Randy Adam, I appreciate your insight. As always, thank you for joining me. It's been a pleasure. Shelby, thank you for having us. This is great. Thanks Shelby, thanks Adam, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby Scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro Security B two B tech talk is a joint production by sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today in your favorite podcast platform.

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