“Like many businesses, MSPs have been rocked by two years of pandemic-induced economic upheaval,” said carolina april, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA. “Some MSPs saw this as an opportunity to get creative and find new ways to deliver value to customers, but others struggled to hold on.”
Savvy MSPs have strengthened their business by expanding into new service areas and aggressively targeting things like improving the customer experience and marketing efforts. Many MSPs have also capitalized on the massive shift to remote working, equipping and managing customer technology networks that have been moved from centralized office cubicles to home offices. Eight out of 10 MSPs said the changes they have made in the past two years have had a positive effect. Thus, 53% of MSPs are optimistic or very optimistic about their outlook for the next 12 months.
But not all MSPs had this experience, and their concerns about the future are also reflected in the CompTIA survey results. Between 11% and 14% of respondents were pessimistic or very pessimistic about the state of the managed services market and/or their own business in the coming year. That compares with just 4% of a similar group of respondents who expressed unease about their future in a poll taken last October.
“Much of this nervousness is largely attributable to events beyond their control – the uncertainties of Covid’s next steps, supply chain issues and worries about the economy,” April said. “The apprehension can be alleviated as these pressure points become less of a concern.”
Increased focus on customer experience, cybersecurity
With customers having more options than ever to purchase their technology solutions directly, MSPs continue to look for areas where they can add value. Providing excellent customer experience (CX) is at the top of their priorities. Almost half (46%) of MSPs said changes in customer buying habits are leading to changes in their own business, while a comparable number (44%) said demand for business advice also pushed them in new directions.
“Customers overwhelmed with choices need help determining the best solution for their business needs from hundreds of identical and sounding online marketplace app offerings,” April explained. “An MSP’s consulting influence can cement a trust and bond with customers that can be both lucrative and valuable.”
Cybersecurity complexities are another area where MSPs see opportunities to strengthen relationships with customers. 93% of MSPs said cybersecurity sophistication is driving changes in their business models or will in the next 24 months.
While network services, help desk, storage and device management continue to be staples of the MSP services menu, companies are also expanding into “premium” offerings. These include line-of-business applications as a service, data analytics, cloud-based services, and compliance and privacy consulting. MSPs also continue to explore opportunities with emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Nearly half of MSP respondents said they had added premium services to their line cards to a moderate degree in the past year and 43% did so to a significant degree. Among MSPs that have added premium services, 62% said they expect strong growth in this category, on par with the rest of their business, while 19% expect robust growth faster than other services.
But progress in these new and emerging areas is hampered to some degree by the realities of today’s labor market. In the CompTIA survey, 44% of MSPs said they needed technical training among current staff and 37% had difficulty hiring people with the necessary skills.
“The skills are there, but today it’s a job seeker’s market and MSPs are competing not only with other tech companies for new hires, but also with companies in all categories of the industry. industry,” April said. “Smart MSPs invest in their existing staff by providing in-house training and access to certifications and other accreditation pathways for professional development.”
CompTIA’s research note “Trends in Managed Services” is available at https://connect.comptia.org/content/research/trends-in-managed-services-2022.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for 5 trillion dollars the global information technology ecosystem; and the nearly 75 million industry and technology professionals who design, implement, manage and protect the technology that powers the global economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the technology industry and its workforce. To visit https://www.comptia.org/.