Today a customer asked me about the value that we were bringing and how to they can justify paying for our services. The way Managed Service Providers (MSPs) justify their value to clients is to offer services at a price below what the client can get that same service for. In the case of this customer, they about 30 staff members. Hiring an IT engineer, project manager and helpdesk would just never be an affordable option. But, as their MSP we can offer that service at a price below what any one of those positions would cost by having many clients share the expense.
Then the MSP company does it’s best to balance service and costs to make sure they are completive with other MSPs. Part of what makes MSPs completive is standardized processes and solutions. The more customers have the same set of services, the lower the MSP can make our price to the customer. Think of it like a large company with multiple divisions. The IT department (the MSP in this case) controls what solutions are allowed as they have to budget for every solution in use at the company. While MSPs are not as monolithic as an IT department, they have some of the same pressures.
Here is where Microsoft comes in. The reality is simple, over 90% of the computers in the small business market (below 500 employees) MSPs tend to serve are Windows based. An even higher percentage of the on-premises servers MSP’s clients have are Windows based. The vast majority of email systems clients have are Microsoft Exchange based. So while some MSPs support other platforms (i.e., G Suite, AWS and Macs), they add costs in training staff and providing support to customers and therefor raise the average costs for all customers. So most MSPs are naturally going to advise all clients to go with Microsoft.
General Networks understand that some client have specific needs not met by Microsoft and we support other platforms. But with other platforms representing a very small percentage of our client base by user volume, the incentives are obvious.
When customers go to other platforms, MSPs are in the position of evaluating if they can afford to offer services to that customer at the same rate as other customers. If a customer is more expensive to support, the MSP must charge them more and the price becomes less completive. As most of the systems in use are Microsoft based, the incentives become clear.