IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The MSP’s Role in Solving the IT Skills Gap

MSPs need to show up for customers in new ways to ensure mutual success. By Hans Georg Uebe

According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now 3.97 million jobs for IT professionals in the U.S. At the same time, the unemployment rate for tech occupations continues to rise. Gartner research shows that current skills are becoming obsolete, and employees aren’t well prepared for future roles, creating a glaring skills gap between business needs and the workforce.

In light of this rapidly changing environment, channel partners can play a valuable part in alleviating these challenges by taking action in three central matters: Invest in high-growth areas like cloud to provide the necessary technology to compensate for a minimized workforce, ensure the right training is in place for upskilling and reskilling employees on critical and emerging tools, and develop their own IP to make customers’ lives easier and help them grow business.

Increased Cloud Investment

With digital transformation skyrocketing, cloud vendors and managed service provider (MSP) partners have been moving customers to the cloud at an all-time rapid pace. In fact, according to Gartner, IT spending on public cloud computing will overtake spending on traditional IT in 2025. In our own partner ecosystem, IDC found a $200 billion+ net-new revenue opportunity for SAP partners driven by cloud investments. These investments are helping customers of all sizes embrace increased innovation. With this shift to the cloud, there is an ongoing opportunity for MSPs to enhance the customer experience and provide them with continuous support throughout their entire cloud transformation journey—not just as a one-and-done implementation.

For instance, an MSP can pinpoint a unique need beyond a core cloud system requirement and develop an industry-specific solution, demonstrating a clear understanding of the customer’s business need and growing their own business as well. By focusing on the cloud opportunity, partners create a mutually beneficial relationship. As customers consistently evaluate their cloud implementation projects based on predetermined benchmarks to determine the project’s success, they’ll use the same partner for future projects if the solution is well-designed for their needs. Additionally, providing customers with the strongest solution and support as they go all-in on cloud enables them to alleviate the burden on any internal IT.

Training and Development

Leveraging learning and development and upskilling and reskilling is a critical way for partners to keep pace with the increasing skills gap. A World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report found that 50% of employees will need reskilling by 2025 to keep up with emerging technology—meaning MSPs should be continually skilling and reskilling their staff to keep them current and ensure they have what it takes to close this gap.

As the competition for IT talent grows, organizations are relying more heavily on learning and development initiatives to uplevel employees as quickly and effectively as possible. According to Gartner, most organizations continue to focus investment on key skills such as agile software development, cloud computing, machine learning techniques, and web services.

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