New Opportunities For Cloud MSPs—But Beware Of Lofty Expectations

It’s not just about coping with greater volumes; it’s also about meeting your clients’ new and evolving demands. 

  • November 12, 2021 | Author: Rich Castagna
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A new report from analyst firm IDC predicts a surge in demand for cloud-based services—promising news for cloud MSPs, but the silver lining may come with its own cloud for insufficiently prepared service vendors. The report, Managed CloudView 2021: Executive Summary, is based on a survey of 1,500 organizations across a variety of industry sectors in several countries.
With the limitations placed on companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, IT departments often felt the stress of providing expanded and new services to support a remote workforce. With the use of collaboration tools and online productivity suites soaring, the amount of data produced and need for management increased at a rate that threatened to outstrip the resources of many organizations.
For many of those organizations, cloud services were lifesavers. More IT shifted from internal data centers to the cloud, for both basic services and for those the company was unable to provide. Demand for cloud services is clearly on the rise, but expectations also increased.
That’s good news for cloud services providers, but it should also serve as a call to arms to expand services strategically. It’s not just about coping with greater volumes; it’s also about meeting your clients’ new and evolving demands. 
Along with more remote workers, changes to the digital landscape that companies must negotiate include: more frequent and more perilous security threats, vast growth in data stores and the need for new tools to turn that data into useful information. As a cloud services MSP, you may need to upgrade your toolkit and expertise to meet those needs. 
You may be called up to provide support for newer techs such as IoT, edge computing, computational storage and AI/machine learning. And that’s not just for MSPs that provide platform or development services. If your organization’s sweet spot is data protection and disaster recovery, you’ll need to understand the role of those activities in new environments such as IoT/edge computing as well as how advanced techniques—perhaps based on AI/ML—can enhance data protection and recovery. 
Being able to offer cloud-to-cloud backup is likely to loom larger over the next few years as companies tap SaaS apps and a lot of their data ends up with those cloud services. With increased demand for cloud services, competition will heat up, as well. Positioning your service as a one-stop shop by bundling products will provide broader coverage for your customers.
You should also ensure that your services will mesh smoothly with on-prem operations, as the switch to the cloud is likely to be a hybrid affair for at least a transitional period. It will enhance your positioning if you can form partnerships with other cloud services to ensure that what your organization provides works with other cloud services.
The bottom line is that cloud customers still have two main expectations: getting superior service compared to what they can implement in-house, and saving money on infrastructure and expertise. They want better and cheaper IT, and they see cloud services as a route to greater IT agility.

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