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The MSP Azure Straight Talk Express: Lessons from the Field

Joseph Landes
Joseph LandesChief Revenue Officer
Windows Virtual Desktop
December 13, 2018Articles

I recently left Microsoft after a 23-year career at the company and joined an amazing startup. Nerdio enables managed service providers (MSPs) to build successful and profitable Azure practices. This topic is close to my heart as for seven years in the US, Brazil, and India, I lived and breathed Azure watching many partners succeed albeit with a lot of sweat equity and several hits and misses along the way.

After joining Nerdio, I embarked on a learning tour in the US; visiting as many MSPs as I could to understand their challenges building Azure practices and how we at Nerdio can accelerate their progress. Two major themes emerged from my visits with more than 30 MSPs:

Architecting an Azure solution is technically complex for MSPs.

With the rapid rise of the public cloud and the resulting efficiencies it brings for customers of all sizes, MSPs have known for some years now that they need to educate themselves on Microsoft Azure. More importantly, MSPs must hire technical resources who can go deep into the myriad services Azure offers and will continue to add with each passing day.

MSPs need to seek out talent to add to their staff who are fluent in not only DevOps, which Azure was primarily designed for, but also IT administration. In speaking with MSPs, the challenge of competently provisioning a full IT environment in Azure made some shy away from pushing more customers to the public cloud; instead falling back on an on-premises solution or convincing the customer to squeeze a bit more life out of the dying server collecting dust under their desk.

Pricing Azure accurately scares MSPs.

Many MSPs are in the midst of a business model shift toward providing per-user, per-month pricing to their customers. Microsoft Azure can be the perfect product to enable this new partner-client relationship but only if the MSP feels confident that they can provide an accurate Azure price to their customers.

To date, this has been difficult using available calculators and price models from Microsoft and other vendors. The number of servers, virtual machines, and memory options, pricing and discount choices, and third-party tools and applications that need to be accounted for makes it more than difficult for the MSP to feel confident providing an accurate quote to their customer and knowing they will do so while achieving a reasonable margin.

With Nerdio for Azure, we have made it ridiculously simple for MSPs to build a profitable Azure practice and confidently move their customers to the cloud in three key ways:

  1. Nerdio for Azure allows an MSP to automatically deploy a complete IT environment in Azure within 2 hours without an engineer. This is work that would normally take an MSP a week or more thereby saving time, eliminating mistakes, and allowing their technical resources to be repurposed to more pressing and valuable work resulting in increased customer satisfaction.
  2. Nerdio for Azure’s Cost Estimator provides a highly accurate per-user, per month cost to provide a full IT environment in Azure leveraging standardized templates. It considers everything from their Office 365 cost, CSP discounts, type of virtual machines, memory needs, datacenter location, bandwidth costs, and much more.
  3. Nerdio for Azure’s Auto-Scaling and Monitoring functionalities allow MSPs to easily scale up and scale down their customer’s environment as computing and business needs change and as employees come and go from the company making it the most flexible and easiest way to manage multiple customers from a single pane of glass.

Speaking with MSPs about their challenges bringing customers to cloud with Azure has been invigorating and I look forward to sharing more learning from the road with you in the coming weeks and months. Check us out at https://getnerdio.com/azure for more information on Nerdio for Azure.