The economy is challenging, employees demands are increasing and the technology options are multiplying – so how does this translate into service requirements from customers to their Managed Service Provider (MSP)? We thought we would share with you the trends we see from our mid-market customers:
1 – Security everywhere
One word, but it covers a huge range of areas: Internet, network, devices and software, data and services, patch management, viruses and other malware. Security monitoring or proactive management of it?
The bottom line is that it’s a fundamental ingredient/consideration of every IT solution and customers need their MSP to be capable of supporting their security needs.
Customers are looking for security to be built into all solutions they look to bring into their company.
2 – Evergreen subscription support
In the days of yore, you could arrange training or documentation for users and try to get the best value from what you purchased. Over time you would figure that it’s probably worth getting the updated version and then repeat the process. Solid model, but not so effective with the update frequency these days.
When moving to an evergreen/subscription model for software, IT teams need to consider the model they plan to use to embrace updates. That needs careful consideration and potentially a new skill set, which is not always found within a current team.
Customers need an MSP with an effective model that supports IT teams in this crucial area.
3 – From cost minimisation to cost optimisation
These days it’s not simply about minimising costs. In the age of the digital business, when the pressure to remain competitive and invest in digital initiatives is increasing, cost optimisation takes on new dimensions.
It’s about looking beyond IT costs, into the wider business and how IT can support business efficiency. It is a business-focused, proactive, continuous discipline that drives spending and cost reduction, while maximising business value. It includes:
- Obtaining the best pricing and terms for all business purchases.
- Standardising, simplifying and rationalising platforms, applications, processes and services.
- Automating and digitising IT and business operations.
Customers are demanding that their MSP works with them to drive cost optimisation initiatives.
4 – Supporting Service Utilisation
We talked earlier about the challenge of managing a regularly updated feature set. There is a key stage before that. IT teams are also challenged to drive adoption of the functionality set already available – this includes both ensuring the full functionality is embraced as well as understanding how it can deliver business outcomes, demonstrating what business problems it can solve. Easier said than done.
Think Office 365 and the bucket load of services it includes. Then think about how many people stop at email and the Office suite and don’t use SharePoint, Teams, Onedrive, Yammer or Planner etc. Office 365 contains a whole load of functionality that businesses aren’t taking advantage of.
Customers are looking to their MSP to help them utilise all the functionality available from the licenses they already have, and the costs already incurred.
5 – Delivering business transformation
IT costs are usually in the region of 3%-6% of a company’s total costs, and minimisation can only deliver so much. More and more the focus is moving to how IT can lead the digital business transformation race, building an IT platform that is:
- Secure by design
- Innovation ready
- Cost optimised
We are in the digital economy era and customers know they need to transform in response, but that’s not easy when 80% of their time is spent on operational IT, leaving only 20% to strategically plan.
Customers are increasingly looking to their MSP to help them creatively close their specific digital gap (the difference between where they are where they want to be).