Next generation managed services: What does the future have in store for MSPs?

Nadia Karatsoreos

More and more businesses are realizing that outsourcing IT is the way to go. These companies are doing this, not to just reduce costs like they have in the past, now they see it as a true service. What I mean is, people are opting for Managed Services to eliminate the risk, to support compliance, to adapt to cloud services (just to name a few).

Next-GenerationManaged Service Providers (MSP) are also evolving; and starting to focus on specific verticals like healthcare and retail to become experts in that particular field offering best-in-class service. Furthermore, the list of services that an MSP offers is evolving as well. In the past, 24x7 monitoring/alerting/reporting were the main solutions that made up their offering, today, and in the future, there will be a lot more than just that.

According to a survey done by CompTIA (from late 2014), the top reasons for using an MSP are:

  1. Gain proactive approach to IT problems/initiatives
  2. Improve security
  3. Better uptime
  4. Gain access to current technologies
  5. Cost savings over in-house IT

With the above in mind, here’s a few services that if you're not offering already you will be in the very near future:

Managed Security:

As security becomes essential for businesses of all sizes, the need to provide specialized Managed Security Services will grow as well. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute found that data breaches are not only now “as common as a cold”, but cost more to business than ever before. This would include a broad range of solutions like remote security updates, patch management, antivirus, malware and more.

Public Cloud and High Performance Networking:

By now, most MSPs provide some type of Cloud service/support, if not this will become essential moving forward. The MSP will become their clients' “Cloud Manager” and will be monitoring things like cost, adherence, operations, etc. On the network side of things, end-users now want the ability to transfer large amounts of data between systems, so the MSP will need to provide high-performance networking services to support the demand. These services include managed hosting, managed IP VPNs and storage.

BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is not a new concept, however it is something we will see redefined. In small and mid-size companies, the demands are increasing, however they usually do not have a sophisticated IT team to handle these demands. People want to bring their own devices to work, however they still want to draw a line between personal and work. The desire is to have true mobility and the ability to access all data. End-users will look to the MSP to fully support this initiative. A good and reliable MDM (Mobile Device Management) tool will be one of the most important tools an MSP can have!

Managed Print Services

According to the Managed Print Services Association the true definition is: the active management and optimization of document output devices and related business processes. The MSP offering will need to include things like, remote monitoring/management of the organization’s document management infrastructure, as well as provide updates and security.

Managed Communications Services

This service will allow you to offer data, voice and even video solutions on the same IP network. This can even extend to offering Managed Support Services, combining traditional call center features with intelligent IP call routing.

Further to the above, business goals and IT goals are aligning more than ever. The MSP offering now has to keep in mind employee workflow and the long-term goals of senior management. This approach allows you to grow past the consultancy label and positions you as a part of the team.

The MSP model is always changing and evolving, but having a good understanding of the trends will allow you to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing where you want to be and what you want to offer will allow you to create a clear path to success.

I leave you with a quote from Alice in Wonderland…

“Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked.

'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.

'I don't know,' Alice answered.

'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.”

Do you have any predictions about the next generation of managed services? Share your ideas with a comment below!