Evolving MSP businesses for the remote workplace today
Wed 15 Jul 2020 | Joseph Landes
Rather than being paralysed by “MSP Inertia”, MSPs should act now to embrace the cloud
One of the lessons – and there are many – to come out of the current global public health crisis is the importance of adaptability.
A common manifestation of this trait is in the ever-growing remote workplace, the adoption of which has changed business infrastructure as we knew it—and the ecosystem for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is no different.
Because cloud adoption still has not come near to reaching peak adoption in the channel community and among SMBs, MSPs are at varying stages of their journey. To continue to be relevant, valuable, and profitable, MSPs need to adapt. They need to be in the cloud.
Now Is the Time for MSP Cloud Migration
In times of economic uncertainty, businesses are forced more than usual to evaluate their strategy for continued profitability.
Many MSPs, over the past month or two, are wishing now they had moved to the cloud much earlier. While some feel rushed to move suddenly, or accelerate plans to move to the cloud, careful planning is critical during this time to ensure ROI on your cloud investments.
Within the MSP ecosystem, leaders who have shifted to managing their customers’ infrastructure in the cloud benefit from having immediate access to customers’ IT environments, while those who have yet to make the shift are left at a disadvantage.
While there are a handful of common challenges for MSPs moving to the cloud, these challenges should not be barriers.
Cost, complexity, and pricing risk are three primary reasons that MSPs face difficulty in confronting the decision to move to the cloud. But ultimately, the biggest challenge for MSPs to overcome is their resistance to change, which we refer to as “MSP Inertia.”
MSPs that are experiencing success and recurring revenue from deploying, managing, and securing their customers on-premises, will not always see the justification to change the way they have always operated. The reality, however, is that the sooner you move to the cloud, the better more efficiently your business will operate because you are tapping into cloud services at a time when demand is very high and trending upward.
The Workplace is Changing and So Should You
Over the past three months, the remote workplace has become commonplace. Adoption has grown at a rate that leaders could not have expected, but the need to shift away from on-premises operations is not new.
Over four years ago, many MSPs began to see the transformation quickly taking place around productivity software. When Microsoft began pouring investments into Office 365 (now known as Microsoft 365), it became clear that managing an on-premises Exchange Servers would soon be an outdated method.
Today, over 50 percent of an MSPs’ business related to Microsoft 365—the tech giant’s most popular SaaS product—begins with U.S. enterprises seeking migration and modernization of the implementation and integration processes, according to the ISG Provider Lens Microsoft Ecosystem Partners Report.
This is a good start, but now is the time for all MSPs to build a strong Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) practice fully in the cloud. Because of their familiarity with Microsoft 365, the best way to do this is with Microsoft Azure.
Think about what would happen if an on-premises Exchange server went down in a crisis, pandemic, or natural disaster.
An MSP not currently in the cloud would be unable to provide value to customers at a critical time. An MSP working in the cloud, however, would benefit from the enhanced technology in Microsoft 365—from improved security to collaboration with Teams, and more—and be able to offer these elements to their customers.
The need to change is clear, and the investment MSPs make in moving to the cloud is one that will help them remain strong players in the game moving forward.
Cloud acceleration is being seen across all parts of the ecosystem, from beyond MSPs to schools, banks, retailers, state and local government, and much more, so MSPs need to keep pace.
With the public cloud showing up here and now in big ways for MSPs, the shift to the cloud helps them stay competitive as customer demand for the best work from home solutions is creating a new world of work, and also Managed Services. Rather than being paralyzed by MSP Inertia, act now to embrace the cloud.