2023 is the year of opportunity for MSPs

By Greg Jones, Vice President of Business Development, EMEA, at Datto, a Kaseya company.

With 2022 firmly in the rear-view mirror and 2023 beginning to unfold, organisations are focused on implementing plans for the coming year – whether it’s automation, digital transformation, or improving the hybrid work environment. While business plans may change from year-to-year, some things never change. One of those is the cyberattack landscape. What does all this mean for managed service providers (MSPs) and their future?

Uncertain economic conditions will more than likely continue in 2023, leaving organisations in the unenviable position of overcoming the market climate by reducing spend and delaying investments in new solutions. At first glance, it looks like a dismal outlook for MSPs, however the economic downturn can be an opportunity for them to grow.

Intelligent automation promotes profitability

Ongoing staffing issues are forcing businesses to do more with less while, simultaneously, tight budgets have made it necessary to decrease operational costs. MSPs and their clients can ride this economic wave by incorporating intelligent automation into existing processes, which will ultimately help them be more efficient, productive, and profitable. For example, processes that are easily automated include labour-intensive and repetitive tasks such as reconciling expenses, diary management, documentation, and other administrative tasks.

Across nearly every area of a business, opportunities can be found. To determine the processes – especially the outdated ones that can be improved – businesses should have an open discussion with their MSP partner. MSPs, on the other hand, can automate many basic day-to-day tasks such as onboarding new clients, dealing with recurring Remote Monitoring Management (RMM) tickets and much more.

Digital transformation drives end user improvements

Both MSPs and their clients will continue their digital transformation efforts, however the focus will be on improving the hybrid/remote workers’ day-to-day experience. While monetary investments will be necessary, organisations will be able to keep costs to a minimum by incorporating tools such as video call platforms. This effort is less about cutting-edge technologies and more about harnessing technology to drive the business forward. Additionally, consolidated platforms will simplify how emails and messages are processed and how users access services and content.

In 2023, digital transformation efforts will revolve around the user experience by considering how they can make each employee’s working day easier, shave time off jobs, and free up time for other tasks. While MSPs will continue their own digital transformation efforts, forward-looking companies will require their services to successfully implement their digital transformation plans.

Remote working tools go from basic to sophisticated

At the start of the pandemic, there was a sudden surge in remote working as the world went into lockdown. Three years on, many organisations have carried on hybrid working. In the early days, workers were only provided the necessary basics to get the job done such as a laptop/desktop, webcam and VPN connection. The next 12 months will be a good opportunity for businesses to take the next step in transforming from basic work-from-home tools to more sophisticated technology. Improvements to consider range from tools for better time management and improved security to new marketing and communications platforms, and even accounting system upgrades.

Improving cybersecurity requires more outsourcing

Fuelled by ransomware, cybercrime, and social engineering that show no signs of slowing down, security remains a top priority for organisations. Add to that supply chain attacks, connected devices, and remote working, new cybercrime risks are a growing concern. In addition, bad actors are now using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine (ML) learning against their victims – for example, to scrape information off social media platforms or track users’ behaviour and exploit certain time windows where they may be more susceptible to attack. Couple this with shrinking IT budgets and a shortage of cybersecurity professionals and businesses have a perfect storm on their hands. The opportunities for MSPs are nearly endless, from offering extended security services and filling talent gaps to adding agility and providing the right expertise – 2023 will mark the year that MSPs are in high demand.

MSP and vendor consolidation will continue

The monthly revenue business model adopted by many MSPs have made them a popular target for acquisitions by technology companies. Given the favourable exchange rate, US and Canadian firms are and will continue to buy European companies. Over the next 12-months, we will see a move towards a combination of very big MSPs and boutique MSPs serving certain sectors. To standout in this new environment, MSPs will need to create a distinctive profile for themselves and ramp up their sales and marketing efforts.

Even though organisations are tightening their purse strings and an increasing number of MSPs are being acquired by technology companies, the future for MSPs looks promising and profitable. However, to capture the opportunities that await them, MSPs will need to adjust their offerings and business models to meet their customers’ needs.

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