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MSPs must continue to evolve

Managed service providers have gone through several changes over the years and the need to adapt continues to be paramount

Successful managed service providers (MSPs) have been able to evolve their proposition to deliver increased complexity while meeting expanding customer needs.

Over the years, MSPs have shifted from providing a selection of limited services, including the likes of backup and some management tools, to meet expectations that they can deliver everything as a service (XaaS).

Mark Appleton, chief customer officer at ALSO Cloud UK, speaks about the change: “The managed services model has had to adapt greatly over the past decade to meet customer needs. With the shift from the traditional MSP model, where a single individual managed various IT support for clients, to a whole team and well-integrated product stack, client needs are being met and exceeded more than ever.

“From our position at ALSO, we’ve witnessed significant transformations in the MSP landscape. MSPs are increasingly tasked with offering everything as a service – software, desktops, and so on – which has led to the proliferation of services as they inherit previous technology stacks. Cloud adoption has  surged, with clients migrating workloads across public and private cloud providers, thereby creating a need for managed hybrid infrastructures,” he added.

His advice for those looking to become or increase their position in the managed services market is to be aware of this evolution and to make sure to come in at the right level.

“Clients expect more services on lower budgets. Thus, understand the specific needs and map business plans accordingly,” he said. “MSPs face constant challenges and need to be prepared for them to persist throughout 2024. As cloud adoption peaks this year, adapting to offer and manage cloud-based solutions while managing security threats and compliance requirements is critical for teams to rapidly adjust to,” he added.

MSP research has shone a light not just on the importance of partners to customers, particularly in delivering security, but also the challenges in gaining skilled staff and fending off competition.

Appleton said those issues remained serious ones for the MSP community: “When it comes to MSPs preparing for the next decade and beyond, future-proofing operations should be the priority to ensure business continuity and longevity. Embracing cloud and automation by leveraging tools can enhance efficiency and scalability,” he said.

“Investing in talent is another key step; attracting and, most importantly, retaining skilled IT professionals keeps your team highly qualified and ensures the skill pool is retained in a competitive environment. Similarly, diversifying services beyond traditional IT management to stay agile amidst changing customer needs and advancements in technology.”

Last autumn, Appleton shared his view on the important role MSPs play in delivering cyber security education. Given their position as trusted advisers, MSPs are in a prime position to handle security demands for customers, and therefore must evolve their ability to cover emerging threats.

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