Braving the COVID-19 world: What the new reality means for MSPs

Beyond the recent scramble to address the surge in demand for things like VPNs and remote desktops, what does a COVID-19 world look like for an MSP? More specifically, what opportunities does it hold?

In recent weeks, we looked at a pair of pre-COVID-19 reports that provided insight into where the world stood for MSPs before it took a sharp right turn.

Kaseya’s 2020 MSP Benchmark Survey Results Report suggested that MSPs in general don’t lack for cloud-related growth opportunities. They are increasingly conscious of pursuing them…but they have some challenges to do so, not the least of which is having the right tools for the job. The 2020 Flexera State of the Cloud Report found a growing opportunity for MSPs as a decisive majority of enterprises follow a hybrid cloud strategy.

That was then, what about now? To quote Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

Earlier in June,  MariaDB Corp. released a survey of 559 enterprise engineering and IT managers in the U.S. and Europe. Forty per cent of respondents reported that they are now accelerating their move to the cloud, while 51 per cent are planning to move more applications to the cloud as a hedge against future pandemic shutdowns. Only 24 per cent said they are slowing down their planned cloud migration due to COVID-19.

“Companies realize that many structural changes are here to stay and future disruptions – be it another pandemic or an entirely different disaster –  need to be anticipated and planned for,” MariaDB said.

Cloud migration – and by extension, a hybrid cloud model in which some mission-critical functions remain on-premise – is, as we have said many times before, the great growth opportunity for MSPs.

But this is not just about the cloud. It’s about becoming that trusted advisor and partner, even that “one throat to choke,” enterprises need to help them manage their IT and data resources in the most cost-effective and efficient manner as possible, securely. This can span a number of different service areas which a growth-minded MSP can add to its catalogue by making the right investments in people, technology and back-office processes.

The demand is there.

In late April, CIO Magazine released a survey of 400 IT leaders to gauge what they now consider to be their priorities for the foreseeable future. The top answers were:

  1. Cost control/expense management (45 per cent of respondents)
  2. Improving IT operations/systems performance (38 per cent)
  3. Redesigning business processes (37 per cent)
  4. Developing and refining business strategy (36 per cent)
  5. Security management (33 per cent)

Points 1, 2 and 5 are an open invitation for MSPs to bring options to the table.

Lastly, AppDynamics reported in late May the results of its survey of 1,000 IT professionals from around the world.

While this report contained no specific references to cloud, respondents did predict their business practices will change in the following ways:

  • Continued use of remote working tools and tech (86 per cent of respondents). Plenty of work to go around for MSPs.
  • More flexible/on demand resourcing (84 per cent). Hmmm – this sounds like something an MSP could lead, by helping an enterprise client provision and manage the right combination of cloud resources.
  • More rigorous vendor selection to ensure business continuity (79 per cent). Might an MSP have a role to play here as that trusted advisor?

“Technologists are experiencing pressures from all sides, accelerating digital transformation projects, mobilizing huge sections of the workforce to operate from home, while at the same time needing to manage their network and maintain security throughout the technology stack,” AppDynamics said.

Are your team and your business processes ready to rise to the challenge? If not, let’s talk.

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