Reinventing Managed Services
The pandemic came and changed the dynamics of the world’s business environment. Needless to say, MSPs had to make changes to their operations as well.
The most significant change was the phenomenon of distributed workforce. With physical restrictions and mandated lockdowns in place worldwide, businesses had to rely on remote work solutions to keep everything up and running.
An uncharted area in the MSP industry, distributed workforce can appear intimidating but can work in favor of the organization if capitalized correctly. The two most important factors that ensure an MSP’s success in this pandemic are survival and change.
Opportunity in adversity
While the pandemic made life inconvenient for people, it also acted as an accelerant. It propelled models and trends and fast-forwarded them by years. “Work from home” for example, was already being considered and gradually adopted by certain organizations pre-pandemic.
But the pandemic pushed this transformation that would ideally take as long as ten years to happen in 3 weeks or so. Similarly, e-commerce saw eight years’ worth of transformation happen in as little as two months.
This pandemic allows MSPs to help out organizations save their businesses and keep their employees. With business resilience as a priority, MSPs can turn these organizations future-proof. The pandemic is a driving force and allows MSPs to do something right while making some money out of it.
Related Reading: Business Resilience for MSPs
Future readiness is the name of the game
There is a saying that MSPs are always late to the party. However, IT is a constantly evolving industry. An MSP has to be open to new technologies if it plans to stay relevant over the years. This connotation associated with MSPs as legacy technology enthusiasts needs to change and soon.
New players have come up that fall under a younger age group, rely on more agile products, and have an energetic approach to running their organizations. They are reliant on data-driven solutions and AI. These new managed service providers will run the old ones over unless they are willing to adapt to new technologies and revolutionize their service delivery.
Related listening: MSP landscape: the founder’s perspective
The builder-assembler analogy
Dave Sobel, the owner of MSP radio, came up with an interesting analogy that breaks down the roles of hardware and software vendors and managed services in the IT environment. He calls it the builder-assembler analogy.
“The builders are the people that are creating pieces of technology, right? So software vendors are builders, hardware manufacturers are builders. They are creating an object, a thing. Assemblers are the people that take all of those bits off of the shelves, and then they put them together in new ways that create other things.”
Host, MSP Radio
The software and hardware vendors are the builders in this case as they develop new technologies to improve efficiency. It is now up to the assemblers (managed services in this case) to use this technology to deliver something new and valuable.
Builders and assemblers have to work in tandem. Builders have to keep creating new things so that the assemblers can use those new things to create new services and products. This is also true for exciting technologies like AI. The MSPs cannot find new, unique ways to implement AI unless the software vendors find a way to leverage it first.
Re-imagination is key. The onus is on MSPs to reimagine how they perceive themselves as service providers and see how they can expand or transition their roles. MSPs need to ask themselves: “can we do more?” It’s an exciting time for managed service providers with the increasing necessity of IT and cloud-enabled services across the globe.
“It’s all about moving the MSP provider or the IT provider away from being just from the widget seller and the IT guy to a risk-management firm.”
This is the perfect opportunity for managed service providers to delve into new areas and find newer and more intuitive ways of delivering services. The way MSPs earn money has changed over the years, and it will continue to change.
MSPs need to constantly be on the lookout for trends and look around at what’s happening to evaluate if there’s a way to fit that in their current MSP strategy.