What’s Hot: Industry Trends MSPs Should Be Watching

It’s an undeniable fact that the IT world changes persistently, and as managed services providers (MSPs) navigate the next stage of technology evolution, you should pay attention to technology trends that will help the bottom line and increase your business’ longevity.

According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlooks 2018, huge changes are afoot in the industry, brought on by technology advances such as IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence (AI), and the maturation of the cloud.

For MSPs, these new technologies present a mixture of opportunity and challenge. The trick is to figure out how to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities. CompTIA estimates the IT sector will grow 5 percent this year, thanks to “robust customer demand and the uptake of emerging product and service categories.”

Overall U.S. technology spending in 2018 will exceed $4.8 million, according to IDC. So end customers are ready to spend. The question is, “Are MSPs ready to deliver?” To get ready, here are four trends to invest in as you look to the future:

1. Cloud Maturity

The cloud has become a fact of life for businesses, now that most companies have tested the cloud and made significant investments in it. “Many firms are now ready to take the next steps, moving into full production mode where there are few if any restrictions on the type of application that can live in the cloud,” CompTIA says. But developing a cloud strategy also entails knowing when some applications should stay in house – located at the edge. Most organizations will have hybrid environments mixing edge, cloud and corporate-owned data centers to handle their IT needs and IoT implementations. MSPs have an opportunity here to help clients set and execute their cloud and hybrid strategies.

2. Internet of Things

As IoT devices find their way into consumer and corporate settings, businesses will need help in managing, maintaining and optimizing connected systems. This, too, creates an opportunity for MSPs but requires that providers make the necessary investments to acquire and train staff that can work with IoT systems. MSPs that mobilize early will get in on the ground floor of IoT implementation, while competitors will still be trying to figure out how to profit from the opportunity.

3. Artificial Intelligence

AI is getting a lot of attention. With its potential to automate processes and turn data insights into action, AI will be essential to the IoT’s success and be a major driver of the transformation of IT. As technology solutions become more complex, CompTIA posits, AI will enable “companies to both manage a more extensive IT architecture and solve a broader range of problems. As with IoT, the AI opportunity also demands investment by MSPs. You’ll need to acquire the skills and capabilities to help customers deploy and integrate AI systems to modernize their businesses.

4. As-a-Service Models

Thanks to the cloud, just about any technology can be delivered as a service, which is why we’ve seen an explosion of as-a-service models, including infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service. As new technologies are woven into IT environments, the as-a-service landscape will expand and grow more complex. MSPs will have opportunities to deliver AI, analytics and various areas of cybersecurity as a service. With innovation, vision, and investment, MSPs can leverage these technologies to create new markets and win new business.

The transformation currently gripping the IT industry isn’t for the timid or indecisive. MSPs that understand the opportunities, develop a clear-eyed vision of the future and take bold steps are more likely to succeed in the brave new world of AI, IoT and everything as a service. Click here for more information on hot 2018 trends.