Midmarket CIOs are reliant on outside partners to satisfy the IT demands of their organization. Most midsize companies lack the internal resources to deliver a wide range of services such as desktop support, application development and management, IT security solutions or cloud services. As a result, IT leaders need to carefully select partners who can deliver a wide range of IT services. But where to start? Well, CRN recently compiled a list of the nation’s top managed services providers which is a useful tool for today’s IT leaders.

CRN's fourth annual Managed Service Provider 500 recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. The 2017 MSP 500 list recognizes those companies in North America whose approach to delivering managed services is one innovative step ahead. The Elite 150 are large data-center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premise and off-premise services.

Longtime IT journalist and CRN editor Rick Whiting published the story below on this year’s crop of managed service providers which was featured on the publication’s web site. You can view the lists CRN compiled including the Elite 150, Pioneer 250 and Managed Security 100 by using the links below.

View MSPs with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market The CRN MSP 500 Pioneer 250.

If you are looking for security-focused managed services providers these 100 just might be good partners. The CRN Managed Security 100

The following is from Whiting’s blog which appeared on the CRN.com site. You can view the entire story Overview of this year's MSP 500.

Adoption of cloud computing and managed services range from businesses just dabbling in a few stand-alone applications, such as CRM or email, to those that are all-in with many of their IT services being provided and managed by third-party MSPs.

Many businesses across that adoption spectrum have one thing in common, however: They are thinking strategically, not just about cutting costs, and increasingly looking for guidance about their next steps in cloud and managed services. And they are often turning to MSPs for their expertise.

"We are getting increased requests for advisory services," said Jeff Budge, vice president of advisory consulting and product management at OneNeck IT Solutions, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of hybrid IT solutions whose offerings include cloud and hosting services, managed services, professional services and application management.

Early adopters heavily invested in cloud and managed services are "trying to figure out what are the next steps," Budge said, while those who have moved more slowly are still looking to understand what cloud and managed services can do for them.

"It used to be Capex versus Opex," said Richard Anderson, CEO of Imagine IT, noting that cost savings were once a big driver of cloud and managed services decisions. But today Imagine IT, a Bloomington, Minn.-based MSP for SMBs, is seeing more businesses and organizations thinking strategically about managed services.