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Three services all managed service providers should consider offering

30/11/2021 | Marco D’Angelo

Consider assessments, migration, and ongoing support to remain competitive

The managed services provider (MSP) market, valued at more than $161.37 billion in 2021, is expected to reach over $311.32 billion by 2027 — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%  

Clearly, now is the time IT solution and service providers like you should consider bolstering your current offerings, if you haven’t already done so, by extending your reach and providing managed services. Doing so will help you and your customers continue to scale adoption of cloud technologies and react to this growing opportunity.   

Since the COVID-19 crisis began (and before), organisations have been moving more and more of their workloads to the cloud. The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report found 90% of organisations surveyed said they’re using at least one cloud service. However, with all its demonstrated value, it’s still important to get cloud “right” to ensure value derived is maximised. 

As such, three services MSPs should consider offering are cloud assessments, migration services and ongoing support. Let’s take a look at all three in a bit more detail. 

Cloud assessment 

The journey toward cloud technology-accelerated digital transformation should begin with assessing your customers’ current environment and understanding their infrastructure. In fact, a deep, thorough assessment is essential. 

Before moving workloads to the cloud, your customers must understand which applications are best suited to cloud and why, the cost associated with the transition and how to get started. An in-depth cloud assessment furnishes them with a clear, logical pathway for moving forward. 

Included in the assessment is a cost-benefit analysis which helps your customers understand what they will pay to migrate their data to the cloud, how much money they’ll save long-term and total cost of ownership. The assessment should also include business strategy and goals, why migrate to cloud, after all, and should it be done in stages? Is a hybrid strategy best or is the business ready for a complete migration? Are there certain workloads they shouldn’t move to cloud? 

Assessments should also divulge potential issues that could occur during cloud migrations. This preventative approach can help address and/or prevent disruptions before they happen, which is key to ensuring your customers stay on track and have business continuity during migration. The major public cloud providers all offer their own flavour of assessments that can be tailored to fit your specific customer needs. Once you thoroughly understand your customers’ environment and the scope of what is going to be moved to the cloud, it’s time to move onto the migration part of the digital transformation journey. 

Cloud migration    

Although cloud providers offer tools and services to help companies migrate their business-critical data, information, workloads and applications to the cloud, it’s beneficial to have the help of an MSP to do the heavy lifting, particularly if your customers lack the technical expertise. 

Cloud migration requires careful planning and execution, taking into consideration things like performance, security, latency, availability and choosing which cloud provider(s) to use. It also comes in various levels of complexity, depending on the size of the project. 

Migration could include a simple lift and shift, moving existing workloads and applications to the cloud, or it could be more complex, involving refactoring/redesigning workloads and applications, making use of new services available via the cloud. Migrating large databases is challenging and can include physically loading data onto hardware and shipping the appliance to a cloud provider or transferring the data over the internet. Whichever method is used, migration takes time and knowledge to do it correctly, usually in carefully planned stages. Additionally, MSPs must also help make sure data is intact and secure and that your customers’ systems remain operational throughout migration. 

Ongoing support and monitoring  

After migration to the cloud is complete, your customers will likely need ongoing support and potential monitoring to ensure their needs are being met and to help them make changes, when necessary, like when cloud resources are in need of optimisation. Cloud adoption is an ongoing activity and needs now and 12 months from now will likely look different. 

Part of this consultation should be helping them set up a cloud center of excellence, since aligning cloud strategy with overall organisational strategy is crucial to success. Your customers will need widespread advocacy from within the organisation to ensure enthusiasm and adoption throughout the organisation. Therefore, this group should be comprised of representatives from all parts of the organisation, from IT to security to finance to HR. 

A cloud center of excellence team should develop a framework for cloud operations, govern the IT and cloud infrastructure, and implement cloud best practices organisation wide. It will help ensure your customers are making the right decisions and realising the full benefits of the cloud, with you and your Distributor partner as their trusted go-to source for advice. 

And if you’re thinking that some customers may be too small to have their own cloud center of excellence, you could actually serve as that virtual center as part of your ongoing support. In fact, whether customers are large or small, your expertise as an outside consultant should include looking at developments in the technology pipeline related to cloud and understanding how customers could adopt these. 

For instance, after taking care of the basics, perhaps you’ll find it’s time to add threat assessments, security services and/or application development to your MSP offerings. 

Grow your business today 

Increasingly, customers like yours are choosing IT solution and service providers that can deliver all (or nearly all) the services they need rather than using multiple sources. 

If you haven’t chosen to transform into a managed service provider, perhaps now is the time. Doing so enables you to grow your business while opening up new recurring revenue streams and becoming strategic to your customers. 

Consider, at the minimum, providing cloud assessments, migration services and ongoing support, which includes helping customers set up a cloud center of excellence. If you need help getting started, call on the Arrow team and our award-winning platform ArrowSphere to support you.  

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