CRN MSP Trends Report 2018

Douglas Woodburn
clock • 2 min read

Appetite for outsourcing and managed services is rising, according to our study of 258 UK end users

Which IT functions to keep in-house, and which to hive off to a third party, is one of the eternal questions that has vexed IT decision makers through the years.

According to the findings of our inaugural MSP Trends report end users are set to lean more heavily on third-party IT providers in the channel over the coming years.

The full version is available, available to CRN Essential subscribers, can be viewed here.

An abbreviated version can be viewed by all here. The former features extra graphs and comment.

We asked 258 IT decision makers at small, medium-sized and large firms to estimate what percentage of their IT estate is currently managed by a third-party provider, or providers. We then asked them to predict what that figure will be in five years' time.

We hope the data and qualitative comments left by the respondents, alongside in-depth interviews carried out with leading UK MSPs, can serve as a guide for channel firms providing managed and fully outsourced services who want to know whether clients are likely to call on them more -or less - in the future, and why.

 Among the reports key findings:

  • Appetite for outsourcing and managed services is rising. The end users questioned currently entrust an average of 32 per cent of their IT estate to third parties, but expect this figure to rise to 48 per cent within five years.
  • The move to cloud, along with skills shortages and the increasing complexity of IT, were among the drivers cited
  • Despite this, many respondents exhibited a hard-wired scepticism towards outsourcing, with ‘we only outsource what is absolutely necessary' a common stance. Instances of where end users had had their fingers burned outsourcing swathes of their IT functions to an outsourcing giant were common, perhaps not surprisingly given the woes currently being endured by the likes of Capita, Carillion and BT.
  • MSPs we spoke to were hopeful they will be a beneficiary - rather than a casualty - of the current malaise towards large-scale outsourcing thanks to their bite-sized approach that leaves the end user fully in command. Despite this, they may also find themselves having to work harder to convince end users that bringing everything back in-house isn't the answer.
  • The well-publicised outsourcing backlash is fuelling the rise of the ‘hybrid services', according to one MSP quoted in this report. That is to say, rather than outsourcing everything, internal IT teams are keeping hold of strategic IT functions and collaborating with a team of external specialists that provide wrap-around services of either a commoditised or specialist nature.
  • Other growth hotspots picked out by the MSPs questioned include virtual data protection officer services, robotic process automation and Windows-as-a-service.

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