Digital transformation has revolutionized the world as we know it, impacting a variety of industries as technology shifts the way many enterprises go about their business. The abundance of innovative devices and applications has enabled companies to modernize legacy processes, accelerate efficient workflows, strengthen security, and increase profitability. Because of this, organizations across all sectors have considered digital transformation a success, as they quickly reap the benefits.
However, this isn’t to say that digital transformation hasn’t come without its share of challenges and hurdles. Enterprises across all industries are finding that, while there might be a plethora of new technology at their disposal, there’s a severe lack of IT professionals to fill high-level, technologically advanced roles to manage these new technologies.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there was a need for 40 million skilled workers around the world in 2020. Furthermore, the BLS estimates that this number could rise to 85.2 million by 2030, resulting in $8.4 trillion in revenue losses among all types of organizations.
On top of this, a recent global report from Gartner states that IT executives list talent shortages as the most significant barrier to the adoption of 64 percent of emerging technologies, ahead of cost and security. This is a staggering increase from only 4 percent in 2020.
This IT labor shortage has been especially impactful on SMBs, which already struggle to adopt and correctly leverage the variety of technology available today. Forty-three percent of small businesses across all industries have current job openings and are unable to fill positions. More than half of small business owners in construction (60%), transportation (56%), and manufacturing (50%) reported not being able to fill positions.
This shortage has SMBs and large enterprises increasingly looking for ways to either attract and retain the desired talent or otherwise find the necessary workforce with digital capabilities. This search has created a new and bountiful opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs), one where they can increase efficiency for clients and increase profits for themselves.
MSPs are already enjoying steady year-over-year growth. The global managed services market was valued at $161.37 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach $311.32 billion by 2027. The transition to technology brought about by digital transformation helped spur this growth and is once again proving to be a potential area of revenue for MSPs.
We caught up with Ryan Walsh, Channel Chief and Chief Operating Officer at Pax8, a fast-growing, global cloud marketplace for MSPs, bringing a range of IT solutions to those MSPs while also providing expertise across the latest “everything as a service” landscape.
“With the shortage of IT professionals, MSPs can immediately address the gap when they assemble a team of experts who cover all the disciplines today’s ultra-connected world requires,” Walsh said. “MSPs bring talent-as-a-service to multiple end-customers with less risk, less cost, and the tools they need to compete, with a complete and secure stack.”
Walsh explained that partnering with an MSP not only gives SMBs access to a full-service team but also to the expertise MSPs have to offer, including insight into better, more powerful, and more efficient new technologies.
“Organizations turn to their MSPs to develop the infrastructure, workflows and technology stacks they need, leveraging the economics of cloud and a full OpEx model, and to plan and invest in new services they may not even be aware of,” Walsh said. “We constantly invest in providing training and certification opportunities to our MSP partners, working together with the solution providers represented on our marketplace.”
Pax8’s e-commerce approach to making it easy for MSPs to discover, try, procure, then provision, monitor, manage and scale services runs across real-time communications, business continuity, infrastructure, integrations, networking, operations, productivity applications, and full-stack cyber security.
“The impact of cloud technology marketplaces like ours cannot be overstated, as we and the vendors we make available on the marketplace have completely redefined the distribution world,” Ryan explained. “In the past, the process of planning and scaling IT services was left to small IT teams with limited budgets. Finding the right vendors was a daunting task, not to mention the need to individually negotiate and contract for services, like cyber security, which have become very sophisticated, then having to hire and train more people, driving up costs and not providing the quality support required.”
Currently, 75 percent of B2B purchases are already made online, and more and more businesses are leveraging online channels to conduct product sourcing and procurement.
But for businesses and MSPs, B2B marketplaces allow them to streamline and simplify processes to make it easier for buyers and sellers to buy, support, and bill services, along with other benefits that have driven their recent growth, such as access to viable IT professionals.
“The real breakthrough for SMBs is that MSPs can utilize suppliers through a single umbrella contract with the marketplace provider,” Walsh said. “Through this contract, the client has access to a huge pool of talent that can deliver on any skill set immediately, instead of having to recruit and hire in a world where there is a vast shortage of experts. MSPs can tap into the talent pools and tools we’ve designed to make life easier and to control costs and help make them more profitable and agile.”
MSPs can help SMBs adopt applications such as automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and the cloud, which can all help improve efficiency and productivity without impacting their headcount.
“With a strong MSP partner, SMBs can either reliably fill the IT openings they have or rely 100% on the MSP,” Ryan concluded. “This new approach gives MSPs a chance to grow and reshape the market share between themselves and other service providers while also deepening their relationships with their customers, selling premium services SMBs need to grow and allowing them to concentrate on advancing their business aims without having to worry about their infrastructure, communications, applications or security.”
Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.
Edited by Erik Linask