A New Year: Peek into a Managed Service Provider's 2021 Initiatives

A New Year: Peek into a Managed Service Provider's 2021 Initiatives

If there’s only one thing you can truly rely on in the world of technology, it’s the constant pace of change. That change is all around us in the form of disruptive emerging techs like artificial intelligence and augmented reality. These developments are driving constant change in the consumer market as well, putting businesses under ever-increasing pressure to adapt quickly if they want to stay relevant.

In an effort to overcome these challenges, every business must choose the right partners and vendors, such as managed IT services. Now, with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s a great time to start setting some new year’s resolutions for businesses and determining an IT budget for 2021. Here are some of the key focus areas you and your tech vendors should be thinking about going forward:

What does a managed services provider do?

A managed services provider (MSP) remotely manages a client’s computing infrastructure and end-user systems. These offerings are supported by service level agreements (SLAs), which stipulate the maximum response times to support requests and the level of service availability, to name a few. Today’s MSPs are increasingly turning towards the total talent model, whereby they serve as a complete extension of your team by offering training and consultation services and more.

#1. Managing increasing complexity

While there’s no denying the benefits of cloud computing, issues with costs and management threaten to overshadow its popularity. There are far more cloud apps and platforms than there were a few years ago, while hybrid and multi-cloud deployments are starting to span a hugely complex array of environments. Given this rapidly advancing trend, the coming years will see MSPs focus heavily on reducing complexity and providing their operations and management expertise to businesses wanting to consolidate and simplify their IT infrastructures.

#2. Adoption of machine learning

As a core driver of what experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution, machine learning is changing the way we live and do business. It’s the key to automating a raft of repeatable and routine processes across every industry from manufacturing to retail. It also offers ways to reduce complexity, minimize overheads, and reduce the risk of human error. MSPs continue to focus more and more on these emerging technologies, recognizing them as catalysts for digital transformation.

#3. Increasing focus on edge computing

For several years now, it seems all the emphasis has been on cloud computing and the steady decline of in-house servers and workstations. However, particularly in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, there’s still a need for highly responsive systems where data is processed locally to dramatically reduce latency rates. The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving the rapid growth of so-called edge computing, and MSPs must be ready to accommodate fast-growing portfolios of edge devices and infrastructures.  

#4. Exploring immersive technologies

Immersive technologies include augmented, virtual, and mixed reality. No longer on the fringe of innovation, these solutions are rapidly entering the mainstream, their value emphasized by the ongoing pandemic and the limitations to in-person experiences. These technologies have important implications across many sectors, such as maintaining and repairing machines on manufacturing shop floors or providing immersive training for healthcare professionals. MSPs will likely focus more and more on these valuable new techs.

#5. Facilitating secure remote work

Remote work was already well-established before the pandemic hit, but the events of the past year have greatly highlighted the need for greater workplace flexibility and adaptability. The era of remote work is undoubtedly here to stay, even when people do start going back to the office. This has placed businesses under increasing pressure to adopt remote work-friendly solutions, such as wide-area networks (WANs) and consolidated cloud environments. MSPs will continue to increase their focus on these infrastructures, with a growing emphasis on the ways they can keep them secure against cyberattacks.

#6. Focusing on business continuity

Many companies have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, making the need for disaster recovery and business continuity greater than ever. MSPs will continue to help businesses become more adaptable, which has never been more important during these unprecedented times. Outsourcing workloads to an MSP is becoming increasingly important from a backup and disaster recovery standpoint, since it involves sharing a degree of the risk facing your company.

What is the best way to choose a managed services provider?

Enrolling a managed services provider is one of the most important business partnerships you will ever make. Even though you’ll probably want to avoid vendor lock-in, you should still be thinking about the longer term. After all, a dependable MSP will become a critical extension of your team, often in the capacity of a fully outsourced IT department. For this reason, you must choose a company that understands your industry and the unique challenges it faces. They must be prepared to align their services with your goals and priorities and, in doing so, power innovation throughout your organization.

Charles IT takes a personal approach to IT management and consulting. We’re here to help you innovate without adding risk and, above all, maintain compliance with industry regulations. Contact us today to talk to a real person!

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