Rising investments in digital business transformation initiatives are starting to deliver some surprising dividends for IT services providers in the form of modernization opportunities. Spiceworks, on behalf of CenturyLink a provider of telecommunications and managed services, recently conducted a survey of 250 IT professionals working at midsized businesses to find which IT projects are being launched as part of a digital business transformation initiative. The survey reveals that the top three IT projects are focused on backup and recovery (55 percent) followed by retiring legacy systems and workflow automation, at 50 percent each. 


Retiring legacy systems and modernizing workflows are part and parcel of any digital business transformation initiative. As it turns out, backup and recovery have become integral elements of these initiatives for two reasons. The first is that most new applications are being deployed in the cloud. Rather than acquiring a dedicated set of tools to move data into the cloud, most IT organizations are simply relying on their existing backup and recovery tools.

The second reason is a little more mundane. To help free up funding for digital business transformation projects, IT organizations are looking to drive costs out of their existing processes whenever possible. One of the easiest ways to achieve that goal is by relying on cloud services for backup and recovery. In most cases, those same IT organizations are asking themselves whether they should continue to manage those tasks. Given all that’s now expected of them, is managing these tasks really the best use of their time and manpower? The willingness to cede management of basic IT functions to a managed service provider (MSP) has arguably never been higher.

How can MSPs take advantage of this opportunity?

Savvy IT services providers are riding this wave of digital transformation to drive all manner of IT projects. IT leaders know they can bury the cost of a whole range of IT projects within the scope of a broad digital business transformation initiative. Most of those projects are all trying to accomplish the same thing. Every organization has a massive trove of data that they are trying to turn into a business asset, that will enable them to achieve a competitive advantage. Of course, every IT professional knows that the competitive advantage enabled by IT today, is tomorrow’s table stakes for remaining in the game. Over time, organizations that are not continually investing in digital transformation will simply fall too far behind to effectively compete. The opportunity MSPs have is to not only provide the expertise required to drive those projects, but also develop a strategic alliance with key customers, that extends beyond being a trusted advisor.

Building those kinds of relationships all starts with understanding the value of data. The days when IT organizations and MSPs could treat all data as being relatively equal are over. MSPs that are unable to provide their end customers with strategic insights into the value of their data are providers of a commodity service at will. The good news for MSPs is that most IT organizations are already struggling with managing all the data required to drive their digital business transformation efforts. In fact, it’s hard to remember if there was ever a time when IT organizations needed to rely more on external expertise to manage their data.

Photo:  Costello77 / Shutterstock

Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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