Gernot Krautberger - stock.adobe
The challenge is no longer just about becoming a managed services provider but getting into a position where you can be an MSP that delivers a range of emerging technologies that customers want.
There have already been warnings from some in the industry that MSPs are not offering a wide enough portfolio of services and as a result are leaving customers frustrated.
That frustration could well turn to lost business as users head elsewhere with a survey from ConnectWise warning that those that fail to adapt to the emerging opportunities will miss out to those that are more nimble.
“The race to the top of the MSP sector is already underway and MSPs will have to develop, innovate and adapt to ever changing technological and business conditions as fast as they can, if they want to keep up,” says Greg Lalle, vp, international sales & strategy at ConnectWise.
“But in the rush to scale up service delivery, organisations must not lose sight of the fact that building a sustainable and profitable business is also dependent on identifying the right solution strategy and maintaining a strong customer focus," he added.
The firm found that the pace of change in the market meant that MSPs were finding it difficult to keep on top of customer demands.
The result is that almost all (92%) are planning to introduce new services over the course of the next year. Security services are the most popular, which echoes one of the themes at this year's just finished InfoSec. Cloud monitoring services are also set to be popular in the months ahead.
ConnectWise found that more than half of those MSPS it spoke to (57%) were finding it harder to meet the demands of customers compared to just a year ago, which was impacting satisfaction levels.
The ConnectWise findings reinforce other channel opinions about the changing state of the market and the potential problems it is causing for MSPs.
Dave Sobel, MSP evangelist at software company SolarWinds MSP, recently voiced his opinion about the dangers of the evolving market.
“I worry about solution providers’ ability to keep up with the transformational changes, because technology is moving so fast and spreads so ubiquitously," he said.
Ingram Micro also recently expressed concerns about the low number of subscriptions that some managed service players were offering customers.
Research out last month to celebrate MSP Day found that there was a gap in what was being offered and the services SMEs wanted. One of the main conclusions of the study from Barracuda MSP was that managed service adoption remains narrow and the services most commonly offered by managed service providers don’t match the services most commonly purchased by UK SMEs.
That theme was echoed at the recent Ingram Micro Cloud Summit with the firm sharing its views about the market and the need for more involvement by resellers.
"How you move from being a build partner to a scale partner is essentially about selling more subscriptions. Many of our partners are still selling one or a few subscriptions to their customers," said Apay Obang-Oyway, Director of Cloud & Software UK&I at Ingram Micro Cloud.
Top challenges for MSPs
Evolving security threats, maintaining margins in the face of service commoditisation and building market share all represent a constant challenge for providers of IT managed services:
• the ever-changing threat landscape is proving a top challenge for 47% of MSPs
• almost half (47%) say offering services at a competitive price, and/or offering a service that is cost-effective for their organisation (45%) is high on their list of priorities
• over one-third (37%) are finding it difficult to develop new business and cultivate new customers
• over one-third (35%) admit the pressure to deliver innovation in the face of fierce competition is proving difficult.