Technology is advancing is so quickly that it seems like there are not enough qualified tech professionals to go around, creating a growing IT skills gap. Lacking IT personnel can impede day-to-day business operations, overall company goals, and, ultimately, the bottom line. According to a ChannelPro Network article, CompTIA researchers found that eight out of 10 business executives are concerned about the IT skills gaps within their organizations. This skills gap can create heftier workloads and hinder employee satisfaction. In addition, when in-house teams lack key resources — including enough staff members — their abilities to innovate wane. Insufficient resources can also create a pattern of reactivity, forcing in-house teams to put out more fires because they’re unable to take proactive measures with limited time or skills. Plus, having fewer skilled professionals available can make an already expensive and competitive hiring landscape even harder to traverse, putting increasing pressure on today’s tech leaders.
In response, many chief information officers (CIOs) and other IT executives are turning to managed services providers (MSPs) in efforts to bridge the gap. MSPs can alleviate many stresses by identifying areas ripe for improvements, implementing the technology necessary to make those changes, and offering ongoing monitoring and support. However, there is a common misconception that mistakes MSPs as in-house IT staff replacements rather than partners.
In reality, MSPs are often responsible for ensuring day-to-day functionality such as data backup and security. For example, MSPs can help IT executives assess their cloud application readiness and provide strategic support during data migrations, tasks their in-house teams may neither have the time nor appropriate resources for. This can take pressure off in-house teams, enabling them to focus on bigger-picture tasks like meeting strategic project goals, improving user experiences and customer satisfaction, as well as meeting or exceeding business objectives.
MSPs can also augment their partners’ IT and staff setups with shared services, a diverse pool of resources available on an as-needed basis. This empowers tech leaders to scale personnel support and technology resources only when necessary, helping to lower costs while achieving project goals. Just remember: Not all MSPs are created equal, so it’s important to be selective.
When choosing an MSP, tech decision-makers can often feel pressured to use shrinking costs as key criteria for bringing on MSPs, especially during times of economic downturn, according to the CIO article. It’s important to partner with MSP experts who not only understand their technology but also their clients’ specific industries and businesses.
An effective partnership keeps business — not just technology — at the forefront of all planning. Many seasoned MSPs have existing relationships with vendors, which often means they can secure good rates and fast responses on products and services for their clients; MSPs can also leverage these relationships to renegotiate vendor contracts if necessary.
Over the years, significant demand for MSPs and their services has spurred more strategic partnerships. The MSP’s role has evolved from simply offering services to being a true consultant and business partner to clients. For some tech leaders, an MSP’s technical support and services are enough to help in-house teams bridge the skills gap. Increasingly, however, more IT executives are turning to MSPs for customized experiences and specific expertise as they adapt their strategies to meet changing customer needs. Overall, it’s essential for any business leader planning to work with an MSP to remember that MSPs are not replacements — they’re partners!