We’re always on the look-out for useful resources for our MSP customers and partners.  A case in point is a recent study put out by Datto, a leading provider of cloud-based software and technology solutions delivered by managed service providers (MSPs).

In general, MSP’s worldwide are optimistic.  The chaos and hit to growth that the pandemic has inflicted on the world’s economy have not dented MSP’s confidence about their prospects.  In the Americas, roughly 80% of MSPs agree or strongly agree that this is a good time to be in the industry.

Takeaway #1: Helping enterprises transition to the cloud, and cyber-security are top opportunities.

The Datto report asked MSPs what managed services they currently offer customers, and not surprisingly, the top answers were 1) managed productivity software (e.g. Office 365); 2) networking; and 3) help desk support.

But when asked what new managed services they plan to offer customers, the number one answer was “Cloud-based infrastructure design and management (Azure, AWS, etc.)”, followed closely by managed network security and intrusion detection. Why are these two services at the top of MSP product roadmaps and plans for the future?

Obviously, one reason is that both address fast-moving, truly global IT trends that will affect nearly every business an MSP would serve – and have potentially big financial impacts as well.

A second reason gets at the unique value that MSPs can provide to businesses.  Cybersecurity and cloud infrastructure design and management are complicated offerings and can be overwhelming for many businesses.  Additionally, there are an ever growing number of options in each area.  With these complex services and a myriad of options, many enterprises  look to leverage expert help from partners and MSPs.

Takeaway #2: Offering managed services – regardless of type– is correlated with revenue growth. 

While all MSPs offer services, they don’t all provide them to the same degree. A large percentage of MSPs surveyed still rely heavily on “non-managed” services, i.e. “break-fix” or other one-time project revenues.  The Datto report makes a strong case that increasing the share of revenue generated by managed services, regardless of what type of service is offered, should be a core part of an MSP’s growth strategy.

Takeaway #3: MSPs are continually looking for new managed services to offer customers.  The Datto survey identified a wide range of new managed services that MSPs are planning to offer their customers – everything from managed business continuity, to unified messaging to SD-WAN.

Bonus Takeaway: In this environment, it makes sense for MSPs to consider offering managed telecom and technology expense management. 

All right, we admit it: the Datto survey does not make this point explicitly.  But we see many MSPs entering the telecom expense management (TEM) space because it can provide immediate bottom-line benefits to customers and create a stronger MSP-customer relationship. And in the spirit of the report’s key findings, TEM shares the same reasons MSPs are moving to offer cloud and security-based services.

  • Telecom expenses are complicated for businesses to deal with, AND they are important because they account for a big chunk of total business IT spend
  • Many companies don’t have the expertise to properly track these expenses — so businesses look to partners like MSPs to help them
  • Expense management services can generate high margin, recurring revenue for MSPs.

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