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Remote Work: Converting Digital Transformation into MRR

Digital transformation continues to drive new channel opportunities, whether fueling the shift to remote work or elevating the value of cybersecurity practices.

4 Min Read
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During the last year and a half, we’ve seen one of the biggest technological shifts in history. After years of MSPs advising clients in the slow shift toward remote work capabilities, a global pandemic forced the issue.

The cloud enables new paradigms of flexibility and efficiency. Data is accessible from anywhere, while resources are easily scalable and delivered under a pay-as-you-go model. At first, MSPs were sprinting just to help customers keep the lights on as workers moved remote. Now, they’re perfectly positioned to grow their services, including being paid to research, design, procure, implement and support a variety of virtual options for their clients.

Sure, all of those services were available before the pandemic. But now businesses are hungry for them.

Navigating the move to remote work environments would have been extremely challenging without the digital transformations championed by MSPs and other channel partners. Many businesses would not have embraced those changes without proper planning and, in some cases, plenty of prodding from their IT services providers.

Remote work wouldn’t be possible without the cloud, apps and many other web-enabled technologies. Where would workers be without collaboration and communications tools like VoIP, Microsoft 365, email, instant messaging and video conferencing solutions? Each creates workplace efficiencies and improves productivity by allowing employees to work effectively from practically anywhere.

Redefining the Office   

Remote work is here to stay. Recent research by Pearl Meyer, an executive compensation firm, indicates that nearly a third (33%) of U.S. companies will continue WFH policies as things open up following the pandemic. More than 80% categorize remote work as a successful option based on their COVID-19 experiences, with almost 40% reporting increases in their productivity during that period. Those positive outcomes help explain why 36% of the companies surveyed plan to reduce the number or size of their facilities.

Those changes will require executives to evolve their mindsets about workplaces and technology. MSPs still have a big task ahead of them as businesses work to replace legacy systems and tools with virtual alternatives, and help reconfigure offices to accommodate hybrid environments or smaller workforces.

Companies must commit to expanding and refining their digital transformations. Those companies already working with MSPs have the advantage. As workplaces continue evolving to meet the changing needs of businesses and employees, proactive MSPs will need to add new capabilities to ease those transitions and empower their clients. Process refinement and automation must remain a focal point for WFH, hybrid and traditional environments–creating major opportunities for the channel.

Cybersecurity Goes Hand in Hand with Digital Transformation

The value of the IT services community continues to rise. Companies of all sizes need to rethink their protection tools and activities. Cybersecurity is another important differentiator for MSPs as they minimize the risks associated with these changes for businesses and enable new revenue streams for the MSPs managing them.

Life (and work) outside the firewalls is different. VPNs and endpoint security are critical, as are email encryption and filtering, and multi-factor authentication. Layered protection takes on greater importance when employees operate outside traditional brick-and-mortar office spaces. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a real concern in the WFH environment, and the move from servers and onsite data storage to cloud-based solutions raises the risk level for businesses.

Digital transformation continues to drive new opportunities for the channel. Whether fueling the shift to remote work and hybrid environments or elevating the value of cybersecurity practices, these changes are driving MRR and profitability.

That won’t be as easy as it sounds. Supporting a growing number of workplaces, each with a small number of endpoints, could significantly reduce providers’ efficiency and payroll costs. It will force MSPs to tackle new challenges and maybe work outside their comfort zone. Then again, that’s the name of the game when it comes to running an MSP. Nothing stays the same.

Amy Luby is Chief Channel Evangelist at Acronis. A proven entrepreneur and pioneer in the IT services industry, she founded and built one of the first true Managed Services Providers (MSPs) in the United States then expanded that into the first Master MSP, defining that business model in the process. Amy’s successes in the Channel have not gone unnoticed. She is the recipient of numerous Channel awards, including CRN’s Channel Chief and Women of the Channel Awards, MSP Mentor Top 250 Influencers, MSP Mentor Top 100 Global MSPs, SMB Nation’s SMB 150 and COMPTIA’s Industry Leadership Award.

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This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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