New Support From Microsoft Will Aid the Growing MSP Field

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Given the state of the economy at the moment, more and more IT departments are resorting to layoffs and budget cuts. Forced to maintain their levels of service and security with fewer resources, many are turning to the use of managed services providers (MSPs).

“In an economy that’s sorely in need of some good news, [it’s] a really good thing to point out that [MSPs have] not just weathered the economic downturn but they’re experiencing growth,” said Charles Weaver, president of MSPAlliance, a professional association that create standards and education opportunities for the managed services industry.

“Many [MSPAlliance] members have been cautiously watching the economy and wondering how that’s going to impact [them],” Weaver said. “And I think [while large-scale projects] are definitely being pushed off, overall the recurring managed services — infrastructure, management and monitoring — that our members provide to businesses around the world are actually increasing. I think that we are expected to see this maintain growth for the next several years.”

On top of that, Weaver had even more good news for the managed services industry: its recently announced partnership with Microsoft. Weaver described the partnership as a “reciprocal recognition” in which each organization will promote and give credit for the other’s certification process.

“On one hand, the MSPAlliance will be recognizing officially certain Microsoft certifications — those specifically in their IT infrastructure environment, those around system center essentials and basically anything dealing with IT infrastructure management,” he said. “And those companies who obtain those Microsoft certifications will receive credit for those certifications on our exam.

“Conversely, Microsoft is going to be promoting or encouraging their partner base throughout the world to take the Managed Services Accreditation Exam as a continuing level of their commitment to IT management and IT services.”

Weaver said Microsoft’s support of the Alliance’s exam denotes a level of legitimacy, indicating that MSPs have the education and business skills needed to be quality providers of managed services.

“It gives a certain amount of validation to those people who have worked so hard and established a certification,” he said.

The Managed Services Accreditation Exam was created two years ago by members of the MSPAlliance board, which consisted of representatives from companies such as Siemens and Cognizant, as well as other from small and medium-sized businesses. Weaver said the exam is to MSPs what the bar exam to for lawyers.

It tests for “a standard that is technical but primarily business, ethical and financial. So [it’s] not just are you technically competent to do the work, but can you be trusted to do it? Are you secure? Are you a stable company?” he said.

– Mpolakowski,

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Meagan Polakowski


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