The 2021 MSP Boom: Gain from it by an “Everything as a Managed Service” Approach [Part 1]

Standing in Q1 2021, it appears to me (and analysts worldwide) that managed IT services are out of troubled waters. While last year most organizations scaled-down external IT support barring a few niche applications like WFH and cloud, activities will resume in a big way in the next 12–18 months.

Understanding the 2021 MSP Boom

44% of organizations globally intend to increase their outsourced activity share over the next 1.5 years, with an increase of 4 percentage points and nine percentage points in cloud infrastructure and security, respectively.

I attribute this trend to the following drivers:

● Crisis-time purchases from 2020 need concerted attention. Organizations have seen an uptick in shadow IT and fragmented SaaS apps, taking away from their process mining efforts. 2021 will be a year when enterprises pursue digital maturity and not just faster transformation.

● Cybersecurity risks reached an all-time high last year, pointing out an uncomfortable truth — enterprise systems lie exposed mainly. At the mercy of sophisticated threats, it is only a matter of time and opportunity until your inadequate digital fortress gets breached.

● Some of the changes introduced last year are permanent. For example, 1 in 3 contact centres in India plans on switching to work from home for good, requiring a complete system overhaul. Stop-gap solutions put in place last year should go through a rip-and-replace transformation.

● Customers now expect companies to be present on digital channels, even after physical operations resume. There is no going back, and companies would want to extract value from the data generated from these digital channels after putting in significant investments.

All of this adds to the already formidable task at hand. The new challenge of getting an organization back to BAU in 2021 in a still-evolving business environment needs viz. the new operational work culture and the newly established RTO(return to office) procedures.

A managed services provider (MSP) would be able to step in at crucial junctures of the company’s transformation journey, providing the support needed for uninterrupted, distraction-free growth. And most importantly, this isn’t limited to traditional managed IT maintenance and support alone.

Everything as a Managed Service

Everything as a Managed Service is not a new concept. “In the past few years, the tech market has trended towards offering Everything as a managed service. We are confident that this trend will only continue in popularity in 2021,” mentions Computers Nationwide in a recent blog post.

Initially, it referred to the extension of managed services beyond the core service offering. For example, the MSP wouldn’t just take care of a business transaction — they would host the interaction in their infrastructure, look after security, provide value-adding tools, integrate with legacy — whatever else will be required for customer satisfaction. In this version of Everything as a Managed Service, there was a focus on crafting an end-to-end SLA that would meet a customer’s every imaginable requirement.

For example, this is what Verizon had in mind when it offloaded its data centres in favour of partnerships with AWS and other public cloud vendors to provide its customers with a tailored, industry-leading managed services solution.

In 2020, MSPs must go beyond leveraging Everything as a Managed Service for customization — instead of pursuing hyper-specialization to unlock hidden service efficiencies.

Here is an example:

RKON Technologies appears to be another run-of-the-mill IT services provider. Still, it has one differentiating factor for a standup managed services value proposition: it specializes in Managed IT migration post a merger or acquisition, a critical use case for enterprises. The company’s CEO said that they landed on this approach by “dumb luck,” but it should serve as a useful example for companies to narrow their managed services approach and tap into a targeted slice of the demand pie in 2021.

RKON came up with a product called rPoP, which is like a cloud-in-a-box solution as the customer transitions from the legacy site to the final destination.

What Are Your Options?

When considering Everything as a Managed Service, one must look at both IT and non-IT opportunities. Some of the lowest hanging fruits for traditional MSPs are:

IoT managed services — Comprising IT solution design, procurement assistance, equipment rentals, if any, implementation, edge data gathering and hosting, analysis and insights, maintenance, sustenance, and retirement. IoT managed services expected to reach $79.6 billion by the end of this year, making it an ideal option for companies with existing supply chain and hardware integration footprints.

Application managed services — A popular solution for application delivery and support on the cloud, specialized for different software ecosystems like Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP. I notice that CRMIT offers Managed Salesforce ecosystem, and they are focusing on applying Fail fast. They bring continuous improvement linked to customer success by using learning from failing fast to technology or product perspective, from a cultural standpoint. Staying on top of all the latest Salesforce’s latest features and functions can be challenging for an experienced Salesforce consultancy to help. Managed Salesforce services built to deliver a comprehensive set of activities from implementation to support and evolution to improve the adoption from a minimal viable Salesforce to maximum Salesforce value.

Managed security services — Comprising partnerships with leading cybersecurity vendors and appliance providers to craft a bespoke cybersecurity solution. Managed security services expected to reach $46.4 billion by 2025.

Managed communication services — Comprising the design and delivery of a unified communications environment, gaining from a marketplace of interoperable players, aaS solutions, and increasingly individualized internal and external communication/collaboration environments.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg — even outside of the IT management domain, there are opportunities to be gained from bringing a managed services mindset to areas such as digital marketing, human resources, enterprise content, facilities management and even employee amenities like F&B.

In my next blog, I delve into the Everything as a Managed Service mindset in more detail and discuss how you can leverage it for greater efficiency. Until then, please write to me at Arvind@AM-PMAssociates.com to continue the conversation.

Board Advisor, Growth Enabler, Strategy & Culture Alignment and Technology Advisor

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Arvind Mehrotra

Arvind Mehrotra

Board Advisor, Growth Enabler, Strategy & Culture Alignment and Technology Advisor

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