March 17, 2019
Let’s first start by contemplating what a managed service provider is. To do that lets take a stroll down the computer-services memory lane. Pun completely intended!
I was recently inspired by a visit to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Well deserved, the DEC PDP-1 had its own room, not only because of its importance in history as what many consider it to be one of the first legitimate mainframe computer, but because it needed its own room!
The progression and evolution of computing led to the formation of industry giants such as IBM, Cray, Burroughs, and on and on. These mainframe computers were providing computing power to run governments, large companies, and with the advent of digital signals running on our telecommunications infrastructure, serving multiple organizations across the countries, continents and the seven seas. Then came service bureaus: companies who housed and maintained these mainframes, placing computer terminals at their clients’ locations for end user computing. Seeing the opportunity for generating a recurring revenue business, Ross Perot, IBM’s number one salesman, left IBM to start EDS and became the managed service provider for the Fortune 1000 and whole nations.
This was a win-win. EDS was able to hire, train, and provide highly skilled experts and professionals in teams and often armies to serve several clients, leveraging the economy of scale that the client couldn’t on the own.
Then came Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The CFO, who had the need and the purse strings, was sick and tired of waiting for the Data Processing Department to get to the front of the line for applications and projects that were desperately needed. Ergo, a purchase order was cut for one then several IBM PCs with Visicalc to build and modify their own spreadsheet applications. Problem solved. Natural
This personal computing and then local area network phenomena organically evolved to serve many business needs. One problem: small business took this on
Today, the best in class Managed Service Providers are succeeding in the same way the early Service Bureaus succeeded; by working closely with the client leadership to understand the business, the vision, the strategy, and the culture to truly serve the business needs and be on the team in defining the client’s future. It’s high time we create a category called Managed Solutions Provider.
To that end, consider adding your IT provider to your organizational, aka Accountability Chart for EOS companies. This will be sure to further align your IT strategy with your organizational and business strategies.