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MSP Association Changes Name
By Dan Muse

September 16, 2002

The managed service provider (MSP) industry hasn't shaped up to be the market it once seemed destined to become (see MSPs Struggle to Find Niche). Rather MSPs are either focusing on speciality areas or becoming part of the consolidation trend. So it's not surprising that the MSP Association, a nonprofit trade group formed a little more than two years, is broadening its focus to reach a broader constituency.

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Today the Concord, Mass.-based association announced that it is changing its name to the Strategic Sourcing Advisory Council (SSAC).

The new identity will help the group "reach new companies and achieve broader goals," said Meg Pulliam, president of SSAC. In addition to establishing best practices and promoting the adoption of managed services, the name change reflects its plans to better serve providers of applications, applications management, security, storage, consulting and other services, Pulliam told ASPnews.

SSAC's stated goal is to provide IT organizations with objective criteria to evaluate vendors using established best practices as the guide. The group also promotes the adoption of service delivery standards to service providers using the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) set of best practices.

In January, the MSP Associations introduced its Service Management Quality Initiative (SMQI), a program designed to drive quality into the delivery of managed services using the ITIL framework for delivering and measuring IT as a service, to ensure repeatability and reliability (see MSP Association Ups Industry Standards).

"Our success with the SMQI has broadened our membership beyond management service providers," said Carolyn Holden, SAAC's executive director. "We continue to grow our membership at a record pace as the industry agrees that a best practice approach to delivering services is the hallmark of outsourcing solutions.

The SSAC reports that members have access to programs that include the following:

  • Service Catalog — Attempts to define services using standard terms and definitions, populated with managed service companies' offerings in a uniform format using ITIL descriptors.

  • Service level guidelines — SSAC will publish service level guidelines that will help customers understand how to measure the services they receive from outsourcing vendors and what levels they can expect to obtain.
  • ITIL Training and Certification Guidelines — Through its accredited training affiliate members HP, Interprom and ITSMI, SSAC offers two training courses to assist companies in learning how to implement ITIL and become compliant with itSMF guidelines and SMQI.

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