The future of IT managed services providers, and what it means for your business

As enterprise technology evolves, MSPs evolve faster. Here’s how IT managed services providers have changed, and what that means for your business.

Enterprise IT moves fast. But it’s not just businesses that get swept up in the change. IT Managed services providers (MSPs) are evolving too. And because they’re often at the bleeding edge of change (so their clients don’t have to be), they adopt new ways of working before anyone else. 

In fact, while enterprise IT spend increases by just 10% each year, MSP spending increases at a compound annual growth rate of 17%. By 2021, analysts estimate that MSP spending will make up 24% of all business IT spend worldwide.

Many technology advancements can be seen in MSPs long before they get adopted internally in large enterprises. But MSPs aren’t just the canary in the enterprise coal mine, they’re also making changes that offer significant benefits to the businesses working with them.

Here’s a look into how the world of MSPs has changed historically, what’s in store for the near-future, and what that really means for those that rely on managed services providers.

From simple procurement to valued partner

A long time ago, some MSPs just focused on the procurement side. Acting as a product catalogue with benefits, they’d buy the systems you needed, help install and configure them and, ultimately, leave you to it. Of course, expectations are different now. Many enterprises expect more value from their partners—and MSPs are no exception. Today, high-quality MSPs look at ways to add more value both before and after procurement. Often, they’ll consult extensively to find the best solutions for businesses, and then support them long after initial deployment.

As businesses crave data, MSPs provide it

Beyond adding more value, MSPs are also shifting their focus to respond to the new challenges businesses are facing. Today’s organisations are increasingly preoccupied with data, specifically:

  • Securing, accessing and extracting value from vast volumes of data
  • Managing increasingly complex and diverse infrastructures
  • Monitoring, managing and optimising application performance
  • Keeping compliant  
  • Filling skills and capability gaps

MSPs have increasingly moved to help address these challenges for their clients. Many are now:

  • Shifting from traditional to modern infrastructure services
  • Moving up the stack from infrastructure towards app-focused offerings
  • Evolving from traditional services to app-economy services
  • Changing focus from internal business operations to external digital engagement
  • Adapting from more traditional transactional relationships to strategic growth partnerships

Echoes of cloud in the new MSP

Doesn’t this focus on data sound familiar? Rapid, cost-effective data analytics are a key driver for adopting cloud solutions, and MSPs have responded by providing more advanced analytics of their own. But this isn’t the only link between the two. The cloud has helped businesses move from committing to a single vendor through hardware designed to last for years, to flexible contracts across multiple providers that can last for as little as a single month. MSPs have followed this multi-vendor lead. While single vendor shops were common a few years ago, many of the best MSPs now source solutions from multiple providers, finding the best ones for their clients’ unique goals.

What does this mean for you and your business?

As MSPs have evolved, so has the value they can offer enterprises. If you’re not already working with an MSP, there’s no better time to investigate how a partner can help you do more with your IT. And if you are already working with an MSP, it’s worth investigating how else they can support your IT strategy—as well as your wider business goals.

In particular, it’s worth looking at how MSPs could provide you with:

  • Improved data collection, storage and analytics solutions that help you make better-informed decisions
  • An integrated, multi-vendor ecosystem that offers the best solutions from different providers
  • A more consolidated, supported IT estate that helps you do more with less

Just the tip of the iceberg

We’ve covered just a few ways MSPs have evolved over the years, and how this benefits those working with managed services providers. But really, these changes are just the beginning. As the world of business evolves, MSPs will keep upgrading their offerings to keep themselves—and their customers—on the cutting edge of enterprise technology.

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Note: We measure our success by our clients’ success. To better reflect the partnership we enjoy with our clients, we’re changing what we call the MSP side of Arkphire. From now on, our strategic service offerings to clients will be called IT Services (ITS).