Despite all the turbulence, or maybe because of it, MSPs are needed now more than ever, Dippell says. “I think we are headed into a phase where there will be more remote, more mobile work, and remote means more cloud. But more cloud doesn't mean less MSP or less IT budget. It generally means more.” Further, he adds, as SMBs digitize more of their operations and client interactions, more of them are going to turn to MSPs for help.
In turn, he says, MSPs will have to meet the escalated need for cybersecurity as well as be “capable of handling more and more complex technology and business relationships.”
Oren agrees. The new normal MSP, he believes, should be a hybrid mix of managed service security provider and technology broker, connecting customers with the solutions they need versus supplying them directly.
The new normal MSP will also have more diverse tools in the toolbox, Walsh says, “to offer clients cloud versus on-prem versus SaaS.”
Certainly MSPs have learned some important things that will carry forward, reflects Fowler. “We did learn that we can work from anywhere and still be productive for our clients. We learned that people who tend to be productive in the office for us were also productive working at home. And those that struggled, struggled at home.”
With that knowledge, he believes, MSPs will look to widen their talent pool by hiring in different geographic areas where the cost for employees is lower. “I think that's going to help. We're going to be able to pull in talent and trust that the job will get done with people never even having to travel to the office or to the client's site.”
If anything about the future is certain, Fowler concludes, it’s that nothing about where and how people work is going backwards. “We're only going to keep going forward. And that will be a new normal for all of us. I think it already feels normal.”