2020 Mid-Year Review: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Back in December 2019, I made four predictions related to Managed Services Providers (MSPs) for the upcoming year. Little did I, or anybody else, know that a little thing called COVID-19 was about to infect and affect nearly every corner of the world. Now that we’re halfway through 2020, and three months into this new activity called “social distancing,” I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how these predictions for the MSP world have panned out so far in this very unpredictable year.

Author: Joe Alapat, CEO, Liongard

Prediction #1: Mergers and acquisitions will continue, with some surprising new players in the MSP space
Reality: We saw a rapid acceleration of M&A in the MSP world in 2019, and there’s been plenty of movement this year already (see the list of deals on Channele2e). Despite the coronavirus pandemic disrupting some acquisition and buyout plans, our industry remains vital to the success of so many others. Therefore, MSP M&A will continue, but the pace will depend on whether a second wave of the virus hits us as hard or harder than the first, and how long it takes the economy to recover.

Prediction #2: MSPs will need to prioritize security programs, for their clients and for themselves
Reality: Well, I couldn’t have dreamed six months ago just how important cybersecurity would become, as customers across industries migrated to remote working environments. The rapid change left many MSPs scrambling to provide security solutions to an onslaught of personal devices and networks. In my original predictions, I noted that the current 22 billion connected devices were expected to rise to 38 billion by 2025. But, as remote workers and virtual learners alike cleared shelves bare of laptops and tablets, I’d wager that we’re already much closer to that number.

The influx of devices combined with unsecure environments mean ransomware and other cyber threats have more opportunities than ever to strike. To combat all of this, MSPs and their vendors must have the proper security safeguards in place and stay hypervigilant about security.

Prediction #3: Emerging technology will drive MSPs to manage even more
Reality: It was a typical December and “coronavirus” hadn’t become part of most people’s everyday language when I made the following statement:

“In 2020, MSPs will be managing more non-traditional tech for their customers. Some of these will be moved off-premise while others will remain on-premise,
but one thing’s for sure—change is coming.” Folks, we have experienced significantly faster change than I envisioned; but, here we all are.

To manage the sheer number of devices out there, as well as the increasing variety of platforms and tech tools, MSPs must find ways to increase efficiency and scale their operations. Liongard, for our part, continues to listen to feedback from MSPs (via our Ideas Portal and other avenues) about what they need in order to do this, which directly drives our roadmap.

Prediction #4: Automation will reach new heights and new levels of importance
Reality: Automation couldn’t be more important right now, with profit margins getting tighter and MSPs being stretched. Recent ISG Index research reports the managed services market will experience a 17% decline in Q2 2020, but expects a rebound in the second half of the year.

The 2112 Group reports that about one-third of channel partners have two months or less in cash reserves, but 57% of partners believe they will meet or beat their original 2020 revenue plan. If MSPs want to recover from the recent havoc wreaked by COVID-19, they’ll need automation on their side. One takeaway from the first half of the year is that we all need to be ready to pivot quickly and focus on the essentials—things that can’t be done if you’re knee-deep in manual tasks and digging through data for answers.

That’s precisely the reason Liongard exists—to minimize those frustrations for MSPs through advanced automation. Liongard’s automated documentation and Custom Actionable Alerts open up your team’s schedules to zero in on more impactful (and satisfying) tasks.

For example, 5th Gear Technology Concepts has stated that Liongard’s automation has:

  • Cut onboarding time by 50%
  • Freed up 15% of staff time
  • Helped to secure two new accounts, totaling $65,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

A lot has happened in the first half of 2020, most of it totally beyond anyone’s wildest predictions. I think we’ve all learned some valuable business lessons along the way and we’ve still got six months left to go. If you’d like to explore all the ways automation can help your MSP streamline, scale and deliver on your promises—even during unpredictable times—join us for a demo of Liongard. We’re live every Wednesday at 12PM EST and happy to give you a tour.

Joe Alapat is founder & CEO of Liongard. Read more Liongard guest blogs here.

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