In every industry 2020 will be remembered as a
year that brought immense change in both working practices, and the types of
services needed by customers. The business environment shifted dramatically
almost overnight; a pre-existing surge in technological innovation was pushed
into overdrive by the need to adapt to an entirely new working reality.
It’s no surprise that this need for business
agility has resulted in higher investment in IT services, and with it, an
increased need for management of these services. Managed Service Providers
(MSPs) have long played a role in supporting a customer’s IT infrastructure.
But with a global shift to remote working and tech innovation, MSPs found
themselves in an almost purpose-built situation that required remote handling
of IT solutions.
With their ability to help businesses prepare
for change and ease them into a new era of working, there are four key things
MSPs should have in their armoury to help customers grow and succeed in 2021.
Multi-cloud has changed the game for
organisations. While it has without a doubt opened up new opportunities,
businesses now require infrastructure that allows for their workloads to work
seamlessly in different environments.
For this reason, MSPs should focus on
supporting customer’s strategy, asking themselves how to best prepare their
customers for an environment that will undoubtedly continue changing to keep up
with the latest technological innovations. They should be looking to add value
in all areas possible, and should consider the different benefits of cloud
storage vs. on-prem storage: recognising that the future will continue to focus
on a multi cloud strategy incorporating both. In this sense, building a
customer’s infrastructure can be regarded as a strategic tool for
future-proofing their data strategy.
From a financial perspective, MSPs need to
appreciate that the endless cycle of upgrading and implementing the latest
technology is a large burden for businesses wanting to stay ahead of the game.
Multi-cloud makes sense; it’s operationally efficient for customers wanting the
capacity to move workloads freely without large investment every few years.
offerings support innovation
Many companies and their CFOs will
understandably be reluctant to implement innovation strategies with no direct
link to benefits. As-a-service offerings, like Pure-as-a-Service, provide the
flexibility that many will be looking for after such a tumultuous year. MSPs,
and some vendors, should be looking to identify these pain points and solve
them through adapted financial offerings.
What’s more, they need to recognise that
buying into expensive on-prem offerings has become an increasingly bitter pill
to swallow. We can see a transition happening with MSPs that will sit
comfortably in 2021; many are seeing an opportunity to differentiate by pushing
their customers into the next age of innovation whilst taming the costs. A
With the constant stream of new technology
released, as-a-service options allow both MSPs and customers to try new tech
and ‘fail fast’ – enabling them to find the solution that fits their needs
without breaking the bank. Plus, as an added bonus, they won’t need to worry
about the burdens of financial forecasting – offering relative flexibility in
In 2021 customers need the ability to move
their workloads freely, and containers hold the benefit of encapsulating
software into virtual self-contained units. But the complexity of cloud-native
technologies such as Kubernetes is driving more organisations toward consuming
managed services delivered via the cloud versus deploying these technologies on
Forward-looking businesses are moving to
containers which in a couple of years will be a widely adopted and mainstream
standard for data storage. Many larger customers are further along their
digital transformations and are now ready for multi-cloud, meaning MSPs that
can deploy Kubernetes across multiple clouds will see increasing demand for that
expertise as they look to tee up customers to realise the value from their
2021 will be a year of assessing how workloads
are managed; they need to be in the right place for their designated
application, and this will continue to be a key area that customers look for in
their data assets
on hyperscalers with differentiation
Hyperscale public cloud providers have created a new dynamic in the cloud market, offering businesses unlimited capacity, seamless updates and large geographic scope. Analysis has shown that hyperscalers dropped $99 billion in capital expenditure in the first three quarters of 2020, setting a quarterly record in the third quarter alone.
It’s no wonder they raise a consistent
concern. But rather than competing with hyperscalers, MSPs that want to get
ahead are already starting to work with them. In this scenario MSPs must act as
the metaphorical glue that brings all of these new technologies together for
their customers. Only by doing this will they be seen as a true partner, having
the best interest of their customers at the forefront.
And where they can’t work together, MSPs need
to be recognising their key attributes that differentiate them from
hyperscalers. Take the ongoing challenge that Covid has presented, and how many
customers haven’t been able to directly get to their data centres in the
frequency they would normally have liked. For MSPs, having someone do that on
the customer’s behalf on a monthly basis has become an incredibly strong
It’s clear that many of the pain points of
2020 will stick around for much of 2021. The business landscape has
irreversibly changed in many ways. With this in mind, MSPs need to recognise
that the hurdles that have been put into place for businesses represent a clear
opportunity to help knock them down. By providing innovative bespoke solutions
for customers, using the forward-looking tech and services above, MSPs can play
a crucial role in providing the roadmap for continued business growth and