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A survey of 1,003 individuals, published this week by Eagle Hill Consulting, confirms what most managed service providers (MSPs) have long known in their hearts: more than three quarters (78 percent) respondents said technology makes their job harder.

Most IT professionals like to believe the opposite is true. However, the survey also notes 65 percent of end users find technology makes their day-to-day work experience frustrating. More than a third (35 percent) said they are generally frustrated with the technology employed within their organization.

MSPs, of course, play no small part in contributing to that overall sense of frustration. However, a seminal moment to make amends might be arising at a time when more workers are gaining access to COVID-19 vaccines. It’s obvious to all that work as most employees once experienced it will never be the same. However, that doesn’t mean employees won’t be returning to the office. It just means that many more of them will be working from home more regularly.

Preparing for hybrid workforces

Inevitably, that fluid work environment will require organizations to revisit how IT services are delivered and managed. In many cases, organizations will also naturally be wondering if an external IT service provider might provide a better experience to their employees now that most of them will be working from anywhere.

The issue that MSPs need to come to terms with is to what degree can they actually rise to that challenge. MSPs have, of course, managed millions of endpoints on behalf of customers for years. That clearly became a more challenging endeavor, when in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all those endpoints suddenly left the corporate office for home.

The issue that MSPs need to address now is what was once viewed as a stopgap measure that enabled endpoints to access corporate applications using virtual private network (VPN) software, is no longer sufficient. In general, most end users view VPNs as a cumbersome way for remotely accessing applications.

MSPs will assume responsibility for strong connections

Going forward the onus for providing secure connectivity is going to shift toward the services provider. The expectation is that via a secure software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), an MSP will provide access to a digital workspace through which applications running on-premises or in the cloud can be centrally managed. MSPs that can’t provide that level of seamless experience are soon going to find themselves consigned to the proverbial digital dustbin of history.

It’s not clear whether an end user rebellion is brewing just yet, but all the elements for one are there. Organizations of all sizes are doing their best to retain skilled workers any way they can. The quality of the IT experience being provided is now a major factor in why employees decide to work for one organization over another.

As the economy continues to improve and employees start to look for better opportunities, it’s only a matter of time before IT is called out for being a root cause of employee turnover. MSPs need to be seen as either moving to head off that rebellion before it gets any worse or, in the case of landing new business, providing the means to quell one that is underway.

Like most rebellions, the underlying issues that create so much frustration in the ranks have been fermenting since long before COVID-19 hit. It’s just that now that as the end of the pandemic is in sight, much of the frustration end users have been experiencing for year is likely to finally boil over.

Photo: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

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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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