I have the opportunity to attend numerous industry events, but a recent one left me wondering…

It started accidentally. I decided to sit down at a table surrounded by MSPs discussing the ins and outs of their businesses, crazy customer stories, market trends…. all the normal topics. I took the opportunity to ask an innocent question: what has been your most innovative use of public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)?

This is where it got interesting…

Not a single one of them were using public cloud computing services in any meaningful way.  No AWS, no Azure, no Softlayer, and no Google…none of them.  And to the MSPs at the table, the reason was simple: there was no reason to.

All were seemingly capable MSPs running successful businesses and appearing to meet the outsourced IT needs of their customers, but none of them delivering solutions via IaaS..  And while I could outline all of the reasons why they weren’t leveraging IaaS, I thought that now is the time we should explore some of the reasons why MSPs should be leveraging IaaS to support public cloud solutions.  Here are just a few:

Hybrid Cloud: As contracts for managed services approach renewal, many companies wonder if they are getting the best combination of price and technology. Is the managed service provider (MSP) leveraging cloud infrastructure to drive increased efficiency and decreased costs? The opportunity with IaaS and managed services is to disrupt or be disrupted by a hybrid cloud offering as part of a managed services contract to drive operational expense (OpEx) savings.

IoT: The Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics are top of mind for many partners inquiring about points of innovation and new service offerings. Recently, Gartner forecasted more than 20 billion connected “things” by 2020, which International Data Corporation (IDC) equates to a $1.3 trillion market opportunity. A few of the more critical services required to recognize the full benefit of IoT are remote monitoring, predictive analysis and asset management delivered via IaaS. Data is everywhere and the struggle on how to best leverage it continues to be a topic for discussion—but IaaS is almost always part of the conversation.

Things IT Doesn’t Even Know About: Line of business users are leveraging, at an increasing rate, cloud-based infrastructure  as a cost-effective means of accessing enterprise grade software to meet business objectives, without consulting their IT departments.  The  solutions focused on differentiation and experimentation and are often driven through lean start up methodologies focused on learning, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing innovative technologies that deliver new business outcomes—all while leveraging IaaS.

These are just three examples with many more added to the list each month.  All signs are pointing to  an increased propensity to offer some form of IaaS as part of a managed services contract to drive OpEx savings AND deliver new IT resources to end users.

Change is in the air. The opportunity with IaaS and managed services is to “disrupt or be disrupted.”


Stacy Nethercoat leads Tech Data’s TDCloud business unit, which is dedicated to the adoption of cloud computing and the enablement of solution providers to build a profitable business through a recurring revenue model. A 20-year company veteran, Nethercoat is responsible for TDCloud’s organizational structure, strategic direction, business development, sales and marketing. Recently, she was named to the seventh annual MSPmentor 250 by Penton Technology Group, which identifies the world’s leading Managed Services Provider (MSP) executives, entrepreneurs, experts, coaches and community leaders. As a result of her efforts in 2014, Tech Data was ranked No. 21 in the Talkin’ Cloud 100. In 2009, Nethercoat was named to CRN’s Power 100 Women of the Channel list. Most recently, CRN named Nethercoat to its 2015 Channel Chief list.