Alex Ford, EMEA sales director at IT Glue, discusses the opportunities, and challenges, for MSPs post-Covid
As part of CRN's MSP Transform event taking place on 23 June, we catch up with IT Glue about how MSPs can capture the UK's post-Covid recovery.
What is the biggest challenge that your partners (VARs, MSPs, etc) will face this year, and how have you helped them combat these?
Many of our partners are now managing not only a huge backlog of pent-up project work but a host of new projects sparked by the necessary innovation for many SMB's to continue being successful - yes some businesses really suffered in 2020/21, but many have really flourished - and they are driving a substantial demand for transformational technology to support their growth from our partners. To support IT Glue's partners in delivering this we have continued to focus on increasing automation to free up time from the mundane and repetitive, allowing them to focus on delivering value. We are also huge proponents of providing guidance on a myriad of business challenges and opportunities through webinars with guest speakers and content. For example, we have ones covering HR, finance, video marketing - topics that have very little to do with our platform, but areas we want to offer support to our partners. I'd go check out https://www.itglue.com/resources/ as there is some great content on there for MSPs.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your partners over the next 12-18 months?
The innovation sparked by events in 2020 shows no signs of slowing down within the SMB. Innovation is what allows a business to be successful in the wake of global economic disruption and MSPs are best positioned to deliver that innovation. I think we will see more mid-market enterprises adopting the MSP model, at the very least on a co-managed level. That will likely lead to the larger MSPs punching up and with that there is likely some client attrition which smaller MSPs can benefit from.
What impact will customers returning to offices and adopting hybrid working models have on your business?
We solved a lot of challenges for remotely dispersed workforces in 2020; the shoulder tap was no longer an option and therefore reliable documentation and great process was vital and that doesn't change when returning to the office as I think some element of hybrid is always going to be in place now, I don't expect a huge shift for us. But we are looking forward to being able to meet our partners again at an event, at their offices and catching up over a coffee.
What one technology trend will shape the IT channel the most over the next 12-18 months?
It's tough one to call out one amongst trends like accelerated SaaS adoption, compliance as a service but I'd probably say the most obvious is investment in IT security.
What is your advice to partners to grow their business with you this year?
IT Glue can help MSPs become so much more efficient and that means you can grow your customer base without having to add headcount, that is a very simple formula to growing your margins. Get obsessed with process, meticulous about great documentation and embrace automation.
Alex Ford is EMEA sales director at IT Glue