What Will The MSP Of 2020 Look Like?

Business consultant and thought leader Stuart Crawford peers into his crystal ball after consulting several MSPs about their concerns and opportunities.

Stuart Crawford, Consultant

March 25, 2016

4 Min Read
What Will The MSP Of 2020 Look Like?

The other night, I was very fortunate to sit down for dinner with Colorado Computer Support CEO Blake Schwank. Blake and I have been friends for years and I am very fortunate to be able to meet with Blake about a half dozen times a year. Blake is a member of our Ulistic High Performance Club and has been a client of ours for many years.

Blake was here in Myrtle Beach for the SchoolDude conference. He is a firm believer that everyone on his team at CCS should be very involved and have a full understanding of their clients’ line of business applications. Blake believes this is more important than monitoring and patching; however, the latter is what many managed service providers continue to concentrate on. Blake believes this focus on the wrong things will be the ultimate demise of many managed service companies.

The question came up over dinner, “What will the MSP of 2020 look like?” This is a great question. I often reflect back on a discussion I had many years ago with Sean Fullerton from NSN Management in Tulsa, Okla. Sean made a statement that is entrenched in my memory, “What will you manage when there is nothing left on the network to manage?”

The year 2020 is only a few short years away. Are you prepared for what 2020 will offer? What will matter most to business leadership in 2020? Technology change is accelerating and shows no real sign of slowing down. My crystal ball is a little fuzzy, but I think I have a keen eye for trends in the information technology space. After all, many of the trends I predicted as far back as 2005 are ringing true today.

Here are some areas I believe MSPs need to start preparing for:

  • Cyber Security: Malware, Ransomware and Malvertising are gaining momentum fast. Ransomware and malware advertising attacks are almost a daily occurrence. Businesses are wrestling to keep their information security solutions ahead of the malware curve. This is similar to macro viruses and other virus activity from 10 to 15 years ago. This is an important area for MSPs to focus on. Those with detailed security solutions will outpace their competitors, starting this year.

  • Cloud: The cloud isn’t going anywhere and hopefully we have seen the end of the MSPs that bet their business on Small Business Server. Businesses are flocking to cloud solutions at record speed. It is easier to move an application to the cloud, and many do not require the blessing of IT. How does an MSP deal with the rapid movement to cloud technologies? This is easy: Stop focusing on restricting access to resources and start embracing everything a business requires to reach its goals.

  • Business Strategy: MSPs need to be strategic with their clients. Reflecting back on Fullerton’s comments, there is much left to monitor on the network. Successful MSPs must win a seat at the boardroom table. They must focus on the strategic use of technology and how technology (on premises or cloud-based) can help their clients. Ken Wallewein from KMSI in Calgary, Alberta, recently shared with me that a client wants him to start looking at strategic use of wireless technologies. MSPs must look at ways to develop strategic relationships with their clients.

  • Focus on the Rank and File: Back when I got started in the IT industry, my boss at the time, Jon De Jong, asked me if I wanted to be a server specialist or a desktop technician. I quickly answered, desktop. That was 1997. I knew that the decisions regarding IT came from the people who use the technology and I wasn’t wrong. Fast-forward almost 20 years and the rank and file is more important than ever. When you focus on the end users, you have a business that will last forever, regardless of the changes in technology.

One thing we know is this: Technology continues to evolve and how business uses technology will continue to mature. However, the end user will always need help and support with information technology solutions. Business leaders will continue to need guidance and direction on the right IT solutions to meet their business objectives. How can you help them? How can you position your MSP business to offer these services?

Not sure where to start? I invite you to book a time to talk with me. Book a discussion with me at http://www.ulistic.com/stuart and let’s chat about how your MSP can build a successful 2020-ready business.

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About the Author(s)

Stuart Crawford

Consultant, Ulistic

Stuart Crawford is Creative Director and MSP Marketing Coach with Williamsville, NY and Burlington, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.

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