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CompTIA MSP survey shows pandemic reshapes MSP outlook

Some MSP perspectives of the market may be pessimistic for the next year; however, new CompTIA research shows that most feel recent changes have positively influenced business.

The pandemic provided MSPs with new opportunities, which many took advantage of. However, the pandemic's repercussions continue to reverberate, and partners feel uneasy about the future, according to research from CompTIA, an IT industry association.

When the pandemic struck, new social distancing rules were put into place. Many businesses needed help creating a technology infrastructure to support employees as they worked from home and turned to MSPs. Consequently, eight in 10 MSPs said the changes they made in the past two years positively affected their businesses.

MSPs grow their business

In addition to remote work services, channel partners focused on a few other areas. Providing a great customer experience was their top priority at 54%. Cybersecurity, 47%, remained a hot priority.

"Cybersecurity challenges will never be fully solved," said Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA. "They represent an evergreen puzzle for technology companies, who will never reach a point where it is completely addressed. There is always more work to do."

Carolyn AprilCarolyn April

Nearly half, 46%, of MSPs said shifts in customer procurement habits drove change within their own business, according to the CompTIA Trends in Managed Services 2022 report. Many MSPs pivoted away from their traditional focus on system infrastructure.

"The traditional MSP infrastructure management business has become commoditized, so MSPs need to move up the stack to provide more valuable services," April explained.

Now MSPs offer premium services, such as business applications as a service, data analytics, cloud, compliance and privacy, IoT, blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

The traditional MSP infrastructure management business has become commoditized, so MSPs need to move up the stack to provide more valuable services.
Carolyn AprilSenior director of industry analysis, CompTIA

Pessimism also grows

The pandemic's aftermath is taking shape, and with it comes a high level of uncertainty. Between 11% and 14% of MSPs are pessimistic about the state of the market and/or their own business in the next year. That number is about three times higher than the last survey, IT Industry Outlook 2022, taken in 2021 when only 4% were pessimistic.

MSPs do face significant new challenges. What the post-pandemic world will look like is unclear. New global issues, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, may dramatically affect national and international economies.

The current tight labor market is another hurdle. In fact, 37% of MSPs now find it difficult to hire people with the necessary technology skill sets. To bridge the gap, they either bring someone in from another organization or invest in technical training for their own staff, a step that 44% of MSPs see a need for.

The pandemic shook up the MSP market. Most partners fared well during it and emerged with stronger businesses. They positioned themselves to help corporations adopt the new technologies working their way into the corporate mainstream. However, a growing number of partners are uneasy about the future because it holds so many uncertainties.

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