Saturday, 22nd February 2020

Managed Services remain healthy and profitable

SolarWinds has released the findings of its “2019 Trends in Managed Services” report, showing the health of managed services and the forces shaping the market across North America and Europe.

SolarWinds MSP partners with The 2112 Group to create the annual report from findings based on data from its benchmarking tool, MSP Pulse, which provides deep insight into potential growth opportunities for IT providers and where they can excel, areas for improvement, and can also help guide how they invest in their business. The comprehensive reports show comparisons on revenue, profit, service selection, sales capacity, customer engagement, and growth potential.

“Our research has revealed that 97% of respondents offer some form of managed services—which is a clear demonstration of the managed services transformation remaking the technology channel. It’s safe to say the state of managed services is strong,” said John Pagliuca, president of SolarWinds MSP. “This latest research also underscored the major growth opportunities we’re already looking to help our MSPs leverage including automation, security, and operations. With our customer success-focused initiatives like MSP Pulse, the MSP Institute, and Empower MSP, we’re supporting partners with much more than technology. We’re working to fuel the success of our MSPs in 2020 and beyond. The future looks bright for those who want to expand their comfort zone, and we’re here to help them do just that.”

The results show that MSPs are comfortable with the security basics such as antivirus, backup, and firewalls:

·For solutions in North America, respondents were most comfortable offering and using antivirus (89%), firewalls (83%), data backup and recovery (81%), and endpoint security (75%).

·In Europe, respondents were most comfortable offering and using antivirus (93%), data backup and recovery (82%), firewalls (82%), and antispam (80%) as solutions.

However, MSPs have room for growth in some of the more advanced security solutions and offerings, as respondents were less confident in the more complex controls:

·European and North American respondents selected the same top three solutions they were least comfortable with: biometrics, cloud access security brokers (CASBs), and digital rights management.

·On the services end, European respondents were least comfortable with penetration testing (52%), auditing and compliance management (39%), and risk assessments (36%). North American respondents were least comfortable with auditing and compliance management (53%), penetration testing (47%), and security system architecture (39%).

The results also showed MSPs are starting to increase the use of automation to handle day-to-day tasks such as patch management and backup, but don’t feel comfortable with automating the advanced tasks:

·Automation saves North American MSPs an average of 15.6 full-time employee hours per week and in Europe, an average of 23 full-time employee hours per week.

·In North America, respondents were least comfortable automating client onboarding (44%) with identity and access management in second place (38%). In Europe, respondents were least comfortable automating SQL query workflows (57%) but shared their discomfort with automating identity and access management with their North American counterparts.

In the 2018 report, MSPs were losing customers almost as fast as they gained them, but 2019 showed an improvement in customer retention. Two of the top three reasons for losing customers stemmed from the customer rather than the service provider:

·In North America, respondents pick up an average of four clients every three months while losing one in the same period.

·In Europe, respondents pick up an average of three clients every two months while losing more than one on average in the same period.

·Top causes of customer loss included the company either went out of business (26% in North America and 16% in Europe) or were fired by the partner (25% in North America and 16% in Europe).

Another key finding showed core business operations are still amongst the biggest growth obstacles for MSPs including lack of resources/time, sales, and marketing:

·North American MSPs claimed their biggest obstacles toward growth were sales (43%), lack of resources/time (42%), and marketing (26%).

·European MSPs claimed their biggest obstacles toward growth were lack of resources/time (41%), sales (32%), and security threats (32%).

Many providers claim a lack of sales and marketing expertise is a major anchor on their growth—hiring specialized staff could help close the gap or training for existing employees. The SolarWinds MSP Institute, a learning portal within the SolarWinds Customer Success Center, gives SolarWinds partners access to a variety of courses, including sales and marketing tracks, to help coach users in the management and growth of their business, and provides go-to-market strategies and advice to help educate on these issues.

“We’re so pleased to be partnering with SolarWinds MSP again on the annual Trends in Managed Services report,” stated Larry Walsh, CEO of The 2112 Group. “It gives MSPs an opportunity to see where the IT channel currently stands, where the opportunities are for growth and where they could improve as it pinpoints the crucial trends shaping the managed services market.”

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