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IT Priorities 2023: Customers continuing to turn to MSPs

The channel is seen as a solution to a range of IT challenges, including security and cloud management

Customers continue to invest in managed services because they lack in-house skills and expertise across numerous areas.

The TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities Survey for 2023, covering the UK and Ireland, revealed that customers are continuing to invest in managed service relationships.

Top of the list in terms of the areas where managed service providers (MSPs) are being used to help customers was cyber security, which continues to be a challenge for users as they try to protect their data and make sure they don’t become a weak link in a wider supply chain.

Security was followed by cloud management, as customers look to deal with multicloud environments and migrate more applications. Those MSPs able to deliver solid IT management services should also find themselves in demand.

“Organisations are already struggling to deal with current threat levels and cannot afford to cut back on spending as it will leave them even more vulnerable. Instead, they will need to work more closely with channel partners and managed services to make smarter investments,” the study said.

Cyber security services, which includes managed services, will grow by 14.1% to reach $144.3bn this year, the report added.

Other areas where customers indicated they would reach out to an MSP included unified comms and collaboration, automation, DevOps, software development and monitoring.

In terms of where the broad IT priorities were for customers in the year ahead, the survey revealed that even in the face of macroeconomic headwinds, many customers understood they have to keep moving forward with IT, with 44% planning to increase their budgets – a 10% increase on the previous report.

A major theme was data management and governance as customers looked to make sure they complied with regulations. The channel should notice investments around data governance and protection increase in 2023.

Cloud also continued to dominate many channel conversations, and the IT Priorities Survey discovered that 44% of EMEA organisations described themselves as “cloud first”, and those have aggressive spending plans for 2023.

Hybrid work has had an impact, driving IT investments, with 87% of firms across EMEA spending on “the future of work” to ensure they can deliver workplaces that meet employee expectations.

There have been plenty of headlines about automation and artificial intelligence (AI), including lots of scepticism about ChatGPT and the impact AI will have on mankind. At a customer level, however, the reality is that such tools need to be used to take up the burden and improve efficiency.

Finally, core business applications, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), are moving to the cloud as part of user digital transformation efforts, and that trend will also be a feature of the year ahead.


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