A global annual survey of 1,350 business and IT executives conducted by Jigsaw Research on behalf of NTT Ltd. suggests that as organization invest more in software to drive digital business transformation initiatives, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of organizations that rely on managed service providers (MSPs).

The survey finds the number of respondents that now rely on third parties to manage over 50 percent of their IT requirements has now risen from 25 percent to 38 percent, representing a nearly 50 percent increase.

The survey also notes that organizations partnering with service providers for more than half of their IT support are almost 50 percent more likely to have optimized their digital transformation initiatives. In all, 92 percent of organizations agree that a trusted technology partner is a foundational part of their IT strategy.

Two emerging digital business transformation issues

For decades now, the percentage of IT consumed as a managed service has stubbornly remained at less than 20 percent or lower, much to the consternation of many MSPs. However, as more organizations launched digital business transformation initiatives two issues became immediately apparent.

First of all, with more internal IT professionals working from home, it became necessary to rely on external expertise to manage cloud platforms that are now being more widely deployed. In many cases, the cloud infrastructure that needs to be implemented manifests itself in the form of platforms such as Kubernetes. As it turns out, most internal IT teams don’t have a lot of hands-on experience with the platforms that are needed to deploy a growing number of cloud-native applications.

The second more subtle reason for the shift towards MSPs is that organizations are now finding they need to allocate more of their limited resources to building and deploying the software that drives digital transformations. As more organizations view themselves as software companies that happen to build a specific product or service, they tend to become a lot less attached to the IT infrastructure that, for the most part, is now finally seen as a means to a larger end.

A full 89 percent of business and IT leaders agree COVID-19 has caused significant changes to their operating processes, with 87 percent also agreeing it has accelerated their digital transformation strategy. A third of respondents (33 percent) also noted they pivoted their technology focus to take advantage of a market opportunity, or to scale their operations.

Promising signs for MSPs

That shift represents a potential boon for MSPs that have relevant expertise that can be consistently delivered at the right time. As every MSP knows, that’s one of those things is a lot easier said than done. Nevertheless, the potential opportunities for MSPs that are being presented by customers continue to expand as IT environments become more complex.

Of course, it’s hard to say with absolute certainty if this shift represents a momentary transition brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic or a more permanent state of affairs. However, it’s clear MSPs are being asked to step up in a crisis. The degree to which MSPs can retain that trust based on how well they perform once the current crisis passes is now entirely up to them.

Photo: pcruciatti / 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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