Businesses expect more from managed service providers than ever before

There is no doubt that our world has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many organisations have opted for a business as usual approach, some have acknowledged that spending five days in an office isn’t necessary.

As a result, the way employees work has changed and there is greater reliance on cloud computing and other services which enable remote work. This in turn means that the job of managed service providers has changed and as such an evolution is in order.

“Traditionally, the job of the MSP has been rather straightforward: your customer had one site, one data centre and one network, with all users in the office sitting behind a firewall, which gave you full visibility. In many instances, the MSP just took care of the servers and desktops, while other different providers were responsible for taking care of the company firewall,” explains division head of managed services at Vox, Craig Freer.

The Vox division head goes on to say that the world of work has changed in the last years not only due to COVID-19, but legislation as well. All of this has put demands on managed service providers they may previously have not had to deal with.

In fact, Freer says that managed service providers can no longer operate as “break and fix organisations” and must have a holistic view of a client’s IT ecosystem. This involves an evolution into something Freer calls the managed services professional provider.

“And, as providers evolve to being manager services professional provider, so too must the skills available within them: whereas previously technicians tended to stick to a particular area of expertise, they now need to be multiskilled and be able to understand how the IT ecosystem works together. They also need to have the adaptability to work with services – such as cloud – from multiple providers, so that customers have flexibility and aren’t restricted to just the solution that their MSP is familiar with,” Freer says.

The job of a managed service provider has evolved then from recommending solutions based on its functionality to now recommending solutions based on a customer’s needs.

The benefit for the MSP here is that it can leverage long-tail business and become an essential advisor for that business while gaining valuable insight for the future. Of course this is by no means an easy task and MSPs will need to manage multiple aspects of a business while keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

In closing, Freer says, “Ultimately, it’s not about going into a customer environment and proposing a new product or solution to be implemented. It’s about gaining a deep insight into how their business operates and looking at what their requirements and challenges are, instead of simply looking at their technology needs. Rather, the MSPP looks past the obvious problem, understands the core need, and proposes a continuous service that will help the business meet its needs while adhering to best practice.”

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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