The past year was like no other, beginning with a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc for more than two years, only to see a sharp rise in inflation limiting economic growth. Heading into 2023 it’s hard to predict with any certainty what might come next. COVID-19 infection rates are rising in China, but inflation may be slowing thanks in part to a sharp rise in interest rates. There are, however, 10 technology and business trends that appear to be blowing favorably in the direction of managed service providers (MSPs) that should continue to buoy prospects well into 2024.
10 technology and business trends to watch for this year:
- The Skills Shortage: Despite recent cutbacks that led to some IT professionals being laid off, demand for IT expertise continues to far exceed supply. That imbalance forces many organizations to rely more on MSPs for IT services simply because in many cases, there are no other viable options. In fact, the skills shortage has become so chronic that many internal IT teams are now co-managing services alongside MSPs. That’s a far cry from the days when internal IT teams tended to view MSPs as more of a rival than a partner.
- Economic Uncertainty: Inflation coupled with the war in Ukraine and the price of oil creates a level of uncertainty that results in organizations looking to limit the number of full-time employees they might otherwise hire. Historically, economic downturns have been good for MSPs in the sense that increased demand for external IT services has often been countercyclical to economic growth.
- Digital Transformation: While there is no doubt that some organizations are cutting back on the number of digital business transformation initiatives launched in the early days of the pandemic, there are just as many that are doubling down on those investments. Many more business leaders have come to realize how dependent their organizations are on IT to engage customers that expect to be digitally engaged.
- Cloud Data Growth: Regardless of the overall state of the economy, the amount of data being generated only continues to rapidly increase. Organizations of all sizes are increasingly dependent on external services to manage a wide range of types of data that is mainly being stored in the cloud. Reining in the cost of processing and storing all that data has become a much higher priority.
- More Cyberattacks: The volume and sophistication of cyberattacks only continues to increase. The number of open cybersecurity job positions that are unfilled is still measured in the millions. Even with advances in automation there is no possibility there will be enough qualified candidates to fill those positions any time soon. The only way to effectively combat cybersecurity threats is to rely more on MSPs.
- Increased Regulation: After the better part of a half-decade of comparatively lax enforcement of regulatory policies, it’s apparent governments around the world are starting to pursue enforcement actions more aggressively, while at the same time the pace at which new regulations are being created is increasing. Regardless of personal feelings about regulations, the need to comply with them generally results in more demand for external IT services to manage the process.
- Rise of Edge Computing: The number of IT platforms that organizations are deploying is only going to steadily increase as more data is processed and analyzed at the point where it is created and consumed. The challenge organizations face is that lack the ability to effectively manage a fleet of distributed computing platforms at scale so increased reliance on MSPs is all but inevitable for most.
- The Coming of Cloud-Native Computing: New types of software artifacts in the form of containers running on Kubernetes clusters are finally crossing the proverbial chasm of mainstream adoption as organizations realize these types of applications are less expensive to run over time than legacy monolithic application. The issue, of course, is that not many organizations, as of yet, really understand how to manage Kubernetes cluster at scale so demand of managed cloud-native service is rising sharply.
- Beyond Monitoring: Remote monitoring is the core service upon which many MSPs depend to drive the bulk of their revenues. As IT environments become more complex the need to be able to proactively identify anomalies indicative of a potential disruption to mission-critical IT services is spurring demand for a more modern approach to observability. Given their long experience with metrics, MSPs are in the best position to deliver these next-generation monitoring capabilities.
- AI Surges: Advances in artificial intelligence are now coming at a steady rate with ChatGPT only being the latest example of how a wide range of processes will be automated. The challenge is that the AI models that drive these processes need to be trained and deployed using processes collectively known as machine learning operations (MLOps). Starting this year many organizations will be looking to outsource the management of those processes to make data science teams more productive.
There is already no doubt 2023 will be one of the most transformative years in the history of MSPs as the ways IT is consumed continue to evolve. As a result, there is no shortage of opportunities for savvy MSPs willing to make the right strategic investments to capitalize on them this coming year and beyond.
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