Jakub Jirsk - Fotolia

MSPs seen as answer by skill-strapped customers

TechTarget and ESG Technology Spending Intentions research reveals how important managed service providers are to users

The vast majority of customers are looking to work with managed service providers (MSPs) to take advantage of third-party expertise.

The latest TechTarget and ESG 2024 Technology Spending Intentions in EMEA research has found that a significant number of customers are looking to the channel this year. The headline figure was the 84% who indicated they planned to leverage the support that MSPs could deliver.

The reasons why MSPs are seen as the solution are down to a range of challenges, including struggling with a shortage of skills and talent.

Customers also revealed that they were looking for help dealing with increased complexity managing cyber security defences, and a desire to work with partners that could improve their detection and response capabilities.

Other areas where the channel was seen as providing support included backup, business continuity and disaster recovery, plus datacentre hosting and colocation.

Overall, the other key positive for the channel was not only are their skills in demand, but customers are more likely to have budget allocated to pay for those services. The research found that most customers were feeling positive about budgets for the rest of 2024 across EMEA.

When customers were asked if they had more budgets this year, 48% indicated that they would be increasing the amount they would invest in IT, and almost all others intended to keep things at the same level as 2023. Looking at the spenders, 22% are hoping to aggressively increase budgets to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the business.

Where users were looking to spend were on varied types of technology, with security leading the way, followed by cloud, data management, automation and IT services management.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) was also on the list, but not in the top five, indicating that there is still some way to go before investment is prioritised for this tech.

Those looking to adopt the technology indicated that the use cases were around security as a tool to help automate data protection and customer support, with sales and marketing to help generate campaigns.

The findings indicated that where GenAI was being used, it was in the top spending areas to support the general IT priorities for user businesses.

The research also revealed that the move to cloud was continuing, with customers looking to take some on-premise applications into a hosted environment over the course of this year. Modernising of in-house applications appears to be accelerating, generating opportunities for those channel players that can enable and support those actions.

The research highlighted the vertical markets set to be growing IT budgets the most this year, with finance, manufacturing, technology and education leading the way.

Top 10 areas where MSPs are in demand:

  • Cyber security;
  • Backup/archive/business continuity/disaster recovery;
  • IT service management;
  • Software development;
  • AI/data science/machine learning;
  • IT asset management (software and hardware);
  • Cloud management/migration;
  • Data centre hosting/co-location;
  • Monitoring;
  • Automation (business and/or IT).

Read more on Managed IT Services