By now, phase one of the “great cloud migration” is complete. 92 percent of companies now use the public cloud in some form or fashion. It’s clear that cloud computing is no longer a buzzword or a passing trend — it’s a best practice for businesses of all sizes and industries.
Despite the overwhelming move to the cloud in recent years, there are still significant differences in how companies use the cloud, and what they’re capable of doing there. In particular, younger and smaller companies may not have the budget or in-house IT staff to achieve all of their goals in the cloud.
For many companies, the technical complexity of deploying and managing cloud-based solutions requires a partnership with a third-party managed services provider (MSP). 64 percent of organizations are working with a managed services provider to oversee at least one IT function.
As cloud services change and mature in response to an evolving business landscape, your organization needs to work with a “next-gen MSP”: one who understands both your business objectives and the cloud technology required to fulfill them.
What is a next-gen MSP?
Traditional MSPs provide a variety of services to their clients, such as:
- Running and operating environments
- Generating reports for metrics and KPIs
- Creating backups and disaster recovery plans
- Providing technical support and maintenance
- Installing new patches and upgrades
- Ensuring the security of the network and infrastructure
While these offerings can be highly beneficial to clients who lack deep technical knowledge, they can also foster dependence on the MSP — which can be harmful in the long run. If you rely too much on your MSP for even basic services, you may be left adrift when the MSP is temporarily unavailable or permanently closes up shop.
In addition, traditional MSPs may not be a good fit for clients who are seeking a more active role in their own IT management. For many organizations, the move from on-premises to cloud services isn’t just about cutting costs and becoming more flexible. Cloud services represent the chance for your enterprise to take charge of your IT, develop more innovative business solutions, and better serve your customers.
For these reasons, the traditional MSP model is increasingly giving way to the “next-gen MSP.” This new MSP paradigm represents a major opportunity for both MSPs and their clients. In particular, next-gen MSPs can reinvent themselves in the eyes of their customers: moving from a mere source of technical support to a strategic advisory partner.
Next-gen MSPs emphasize tactics such as automation and self-service in order to increase agility and reduce cost. By building self-regulating solutions that can run without a great deal of human attention, next-gen MSPs free up time and effort for their clients to pursue higher-level, higher-impact activities.
What do next-gen MSPs really do?
In short, next-gen MSPs aim to better prepare their customers to adapt to a changing cloud landscape. Below, we’ll discuss just a few of the ways that next-gen MSPs represent a departure from traditional managed services. In all of these changes, the focus is on automation and building dedicated solutions that keep the customer better-informed and more in control of their own IT destiny.
- Hardware to software:By migrating away from on-premises hardware to cloud-based solutions, next-gen MSPs and their clients no longer have to worry about fixing a server that’s gone down or refreshing their technology at regular intervals. Instead, they can focus on the software and cloud services that best help them achieve their business needs.
- Centralized to distributed: Traditional MSPs often use a “fishbowl” network operations center, in which a team provides services from a centralized location. Next-gen MSPs are moving away from this model in favor of a decentralized, automated setup. Intelligent, self-healing, cloud-native solutions can remove a great deal of the manual work that the fishbowl model requires.
- Disorder to DevOps: Change management for traditional MSPs can be a highly complex operation due to the great deal of manual work that it requires. A growing number of next-gen MSPs are using DevOps to implement and track changes more efficiently. By pushing new code into production more quickly, next-gen MSPs can make your business more agile and improve your ROI.
- Vendor to advisor: Perhaps most importantly, MSPs are becoming less about tech support and more about long-term strategic consulting to help you reach your potential as a business. Next-gen MSPs take full ownership of and responsibility for your destiny as a company. They understand that it’s not about the technology itself, but how you use it to get where you want to be.
Companies that use public clouds such as Amazon Web Services are seeking more from their IT services partners — and many traditional MSPs are unable to provide it. Next-gen MSPs are no longer just a place to outsource your IT issues; they’re a full-fledged strategic partner who understands your unique situation and needs.
As your business grows more comfortable with your place in the cloud, consider partnering with a next-gen MSP who can help apply the right technology and know-how toward your business goals.
Want to keep reading? Check out 4 public cloud trends you need to know about.