Were The Mayans Right? Is The end of SBS the end of the World for MSP’s?
2012 brings an end to a familiar world for MSP’s and IT solution providers with the announcement of the end of the road for Windows Small Business Server, and Windows Home Server. Though there hasn’t been an official press release from Microsoft regarding the discontinuance, the news was released today in a Server 2012 Essentials FAQ.
Microsoft has been very vocal about it’s push into the cloud and is now forcing the hand of the IT community to get on board. In the past these types of announcements have created major discontent in the partner network and this move is sure to get the same reception.
Windows Server 2012 which comes in four versions, Foundation, Essentials, Standard, and Datacenter all have major tie ins to the cloud. On the surface this doesn’t seem like a major issue for IT solution providers, but none of the Server 2012 versions come with Exchange or Sharepoint which was a big draw to the SBS server line.
The push to the cloud and SBS discontinuance is not be the end of the world for MSP’s and solution providers; it just forces an evolution and change that is already occurring in the industry. The days of hardware servers for small businesses and traditional server management may be coming to an end, but the opportunity for providers to educate, transition, and consult with customers is stronger than ever.
As major manufacturers continue to move technology forward, it is imperative that solution providers stay relevant and find their place in the mix with their customers. SBS was a great product with a great price point that met the needs of most small and micro businesses. It was an end to end solution that put the solution provider at the top of the food chain.
The days ahead are not so clear for the traditional provider; but what is clear is the fact that business change will be necessary. The client relationship belongs to the provider and it will be important to continue to maintain that relationship. Now is the time to strengthen those relationships, visit clients, provide education and marketing, and start moving to a consultative role.
There is no more status Quo, Microsoft is putting the squeeze on as it is necessary for their business; the affect of this necessity will be felt by all in the channel. Don’t let 2012 be the end of the world for your business, do what it takes now to make sure you stay relevant in tomorrows IT environment.