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With mounting demands and expectations on IT teams supporting the connected workforce, times are changing.  At MicroAge, we want to make sure everyone is ready. Earlier this year, we had a webinar on the role of a modern MSP because the ways managed service providers can and should support organizations in a digital age are rapidly changing.

More than half of IT Decision Makers are Lacking Support in Key Areas

In a recent MicroAge survey on the state of MSPs, more than half of the 235 IT leaders indicated that they lacked support in the areas of cloud, cloud services, and security. These numbers come against a backdrop of 70% of all organizations increasing cloud spend to power a connected workforce. Still, 62% consider cloud strategy and services areas where their IT teams struggle with a lack of support, and 52% don’t even know if their MSPs support security services.

There seem to be many breakdowns around what a modern MSP is, why it’s critical to organizations in need of support, and the outcomes both can propel in working together. First, let’s look back at the history of managed service providers.

A Quick History of Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

MSP History
Well, for starters, let us take a little trip down memory lane. I will refer to this as the MSPs of the 2010s.  Mobility was getting off the ground at this point but not quite in orbit.  VMware clusters were all the rage. In fact, in the early 2010s, these “toys” were for “the cool kids.”  Sixty-six blocks were ending their conversion into on-premises VoIP systems.  VDI was gaining steam in the enterprise. If you were a medium-to-large shop and did not have VDI of some sort, you were behind the curve. Things were great. We had control of our kingdom.Then the upgrade and management fatigue set in, the continued maintenance of the platform alone could be overwhelming and risky.  The business had adopted the elasticity of virtualization, which meant more servers, more to secure, more to poke through the firewall, more to manage.  On the flip side of the coin, the burden for vendors was no walk in the park either. It meant more things out of their control that they had to support.  The challenge has become many small kingdoms to support that all had their own spin on things.The later years of the 2010s were sprinkled with organizations moving some business applications to the cloud and getting rid of collaboration workloads by migrating them to Office 365.  That was a good call because this is a huge pain point for most IT shops.  Then in 2020, the pandemic completely shifted the workforce to a remote state, and our homes became the new normal for work.  Organizations reacted swiftly to make this shift, ramping up on VPNs, moving file servers into Teams, looking at Intune as a viable solution because they no longer had on-premises connectivity to end-users.

Enter 2020

Remote work
As the global workforce went remote overnight, services needs for organizations grew for everything from day-to-day management operations, to workforce collaboration, to monitoring, and more. This sparked a pivot for modern MSPs to reevaluate their strategies to ensure they supported their clients.

What is a modern MSP?

Managed Services Provider

First, they stay alert to trends in the market to anticipate your evolving and changing needs proactively. After the move to a remote workforce, there was an unprecedented jump in cloud services, AI, automation, and more edge technologies. If you’re the client of a modern MSP, you would’ve experienced a seamless pivot to a remote, connected workforce with service providers and the chops to assess the tech stack necessary. Modern MSPs always look ahead to the future.

Second, if you’re working with a modern MSP, you’ll probably know because they never stop innovating—identifying the most secure, reliable, and current technologies for their client base.

Next, they save you time and work by automating device management. Your company resources and devices span across locations, each with different vulnerabilities. If your MSP isn’t bringing up InTune or thinking about implementing it successfully, they are probably not modern. Also, they prioritize monitoring. A modern MSP harnesses resources that integrate priority alerts to flag any potential issues or internal red flags to clients. A modern MSP with a robust monitoring system can respond faster to changes to prevent unnecessary outages.

Lastly, they are open to change because, as you probably already know if you’re reading this blog, the status quo just isn’t cutting it anymore for IT leaders. Rather than port everything to the cloud as-is, a modern MSP looks at optimizing migration to empower automation and collaboration.

The Modern MSP Takeaway

A modern MSP has moved beyond a 100% on-premises approach, asking, “is active directory still serving us?” Modern MSPs constantly advance technologies and security to stay ahead of or at least on top a volatile marketplace ripe with compliance changes and industry shifts.

To thrive in a disruptive, digital environment, IT leaders can’t settle for less than a modern MSP—proactively streamlining solutions and adopting new tech while remaining fluid and open to change. Are you working with a modern MSP?

Kyle YencerKyle Yencer MicroAge is the MicroAge vice president of services and connected workforce. Formerly the founder and president at Semaphore Co, a cloud-services organization acquired by MicroAge, Kyle has two decades of experience in IT services and operations and is dedicated to keeping the focus on advancing edge technologies, user experience, and maximizing agility and value.

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