Why Cant We Just Get Along?

In a new partner ecosystem, competitors are reaching out to one another.

Call SiteLite the outsourcers outsourcer.

The five-year-old management services provider (MSP) has ended its direct-selling effort and now aims to do all of its business through resellers. The company recently closed a deal with Exodus Communications, in which the hosting vendor will offer SiteLites management services under its own label. SiteLite has a similar reseller pact in the works with Technology Integration Group, a San Diego systems integrator.

SiteLites objective is to embed its MSP offering within its partners services portfolio. Industry executives maintain that alliances of this type may be critical for MSPs, some of which have had trouble offering remote management as a standalone service.

Comdiscos recent decision to tap NetSolve to provide remote management services is another example of alliance activity.

Stephen Sickler, executive VP of sales and marketing at SiteLite, has heard reports of MSPs stalling at 50 to 75 customers because co-location and managed hosting providers are muscling into their service niche. But instead of butting heads with the hosting vendors, SiteLite has decided to sell to them.

The company began the transition last year and by September, half of its business was flowing through partners. SiteLite earlier this month solidified its partner position, disbanding its direct-sales force to focus exclusively on channel marketing. The company has eight resellers.

While MSPs benefit from alliances, so do their allies. Sickler says hosting companies want to bundle managed services, "but most havent found a way to do it effectively beyond basic monitoring tools and putting consultants near the cage." SiteLite, he adds, can provide them with an array of services, including the management of network devices, Web servers and applications.

Exodus, for example, has outsourced to SiteLite, so the hosting vendor can focus on security, performance, and its "core business of space and bandwidth," Sickler says.

Technology Integration Group (TIG), meanwhile, believes SiteLite will complement its services thrust. "Theres a lot of commoditizing of what integrators typically do," says VP Rick Sbrocca of TIG. He notes that integrators need to move beyond hardware, adding that his company plans "to lead with some of the MSP services."

Welcome to the partner ecosystem.