As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes part of daily life and the extremities of its impact somewhat diminish, the debate whether work will be done from the corporate or branch office, or from home, has also settled a tad. We have, for the most part, arrived at a “hybrid work” philosophy in Australia. Most organisations have made peace with this. Some companies are letting their teams pick as to how many days precisely they will commute to work from the office, and which days it will be. I have heard different versions of what companies are doing in this regard. Some are allowing their teams to work from home full time. Some are demanding the entire team come back to work. Some are making it contingent on the function, or the role. Some are mandating which days will be “work from work” days. Others are leaving this in the capable hands of the workforce.
I recently read a survey of 400+ U.S.-based IT decision-makers. As per the survey, 94% of organisations have adopted some form of hybrid work structure in response to COVID, and about 72% described the transition as successful.
Salient data points from the survey
The transition to hybrid work continues to gain traction. From the research, some data points for MSP and IT services firms to consider…
- 62% of the 400+ IT decision makers in the survey stated that the work-from-home shift necessitated the creation of new, more efficient workflows and processes.
- 65% increased investment in supporting the newly formed hybrid workforce architecture.
- 63% increased investment in hybrid work-aligned security solutions.
- 53% increased investment in maintaining effective, efficient and secure remote work.
- 53% increased investment in security and risk management was needed.
- 49% increased investment in employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX).
How does this impact the MSP and IT Services firms?
Where managed service providers (MSPs) are responsible for the IT service delivery they will play a significant role in assisting organisations to achieve their intended objectives in a world of the new normal. But MSPs should not believe that the hybrid work destination has been achieved. The survey reveals that businesses are continuing to struggle with collaboration (51%), burnout (47%), and security (38%). 40% of respondents also indicated that developing a collaborative environment for hybrid teams has proven to be a big difficulty.
Hybrid work creates challenges and opportunities for the MSP and IT Services sector
At the heart of these concerns is the sharing of domain knowledge expertise, which helps firms not only better serve their customers but also to foster innovation. Organisations are finding it particularly challenging to onboard new remote employees because they cannot quickly acquire the subject knowledge that was formerly acquired primarily by osmosis in the office.
MSPs should anticipate a change in the modus operandi of how employees will work moving forward. Some companies will bring their entire workforce to work, just as they did prior to COVID. In this case, the MSP will support the firm just as they always did. In other cases, the workforce will work remotely, as they did through the COVID lockdowns. In this case, MSPs will support the clients just as they did through the COVID period. In yet other cases, companies will have a hybrid work approach and MSPs will need to support the client workforce wherever they work from.
The other challenge that has surfaced post-COVID is that workforces are not only working from anywhere, but they are working at any time, and they are leveraging a device of their choice. Employees today are doing school runs where they traditionally might not have, they are working from cafes, and they are working hours contrarian to the traditional 8 to 5. The MSPs must support this new style of work.
COVID changed the patterns of workforce availability. People could not commute to work. The flow of part-time workers reduced as VISA status changed; 4-year work VISAs were reneged, student VISA changes came through, and changes were made to temporary and graduate VISAs. These changes led to a transition in the workforce mix. Companies started relying on contractors, freelancers and even a global workforce to achieve their objectives.
Today, MSPs must support the client employees regardless of whether they are full-time staff, contractors or global workforces.
Most employees believe they can perform to the requirements of their jobs working from home. In some cases, their managers agree that the job can be done from home, and in others they don’t. In some cases, the companies support a work-from-home policy, in some cases companies support a hybrid work arrangement, and in others, organisations stipulate their employees to work from the office full time. Whether organisations require their employees to work for 1, 3 or 5 days from work, they must provide effective, efficient, and seamless support to the workforce. This means that MSPs must have the systems, processes, applications and support protocols in place to support a workforce that is no longer commuting to the corporate head office or branch offices. They might be working from home, from a library, from a university, from an airport kiosk, while travelling across Australia in a mobile home, from a CBD-based service office, or from a regional location which has low access levels to the web.
While MSPs do face significant challenges associated with hybrid work, this is the new world of work, and MSPs must align their play. The challenges of hybrid work also come with an opportunity. The opportunity to look after the needs of their clients. The opportunity to evolve their own play with the play of their clients. MSPs must adapt the service they provide as the policies of their clients evolve. The MSPs that finetune their play and evolve their play to suit their clients will not only continue their working relationships, they also serve to increase the client’s spend with them because they would be serving a now evolved business and service model.
Next Steps for MSP and IT Services firms
We are in a ‘new world of work’ now. COVID has changed the world, and along with it, how organisations and people approach work has transformed. Hybrid work is here to stay. Companies have embraced this new way of being, or they are in the process of doing so. MSP or IT Services firms must align to the new norm. The applications you leverage, the technologies you use, the systems and processes you utilise to deliver your work, and even the people you hire must cater to this new norm. You will need the ability to transition every aspect of your business to retain your clients and to go on a journey with them as their IT Services partner of choice.
Connect with Resonate…
At Resonate, we offer four pillar services:
- Strategy Advisory and Consulting: We provide strategic advice and consulting to MSPs and IT Services firms to help them grow and scale. Our strategic advisory scales across several dimensions of the MSPs world; strategy, marketing, sales, product, innovation, IT ops, vendor management, pricing, etc.
- End to End B2B Marketing: We provide a full stack of B2B Marketing services and solutions relevant to MSPs and IT Services firms. Our expertise is in marketing technology services and products firms.
- Sales Advisory and Consulting: We provide B2B sales advice and consulting to MSPs and IT Services firms to help them grow and scale. Our sales advisory scales across several dimensions of the MSPs world; deal coaching, CRM management, top of funnel analysis, remuneration, talent acquisition, talent development, talent retention, win-loss reviews, etc.
- Sales Development as a Service: We appreciate that MSPs and IT Service firms want a steady supply of high-quality leads that have been qualified not only by marketing but also at the sales layer. As such, we make the first call on your behalf. We take on the role of cold and warm calling as a service so that your BDMs are only working with a qualified list of prospects.
To learn more about how Resonate can enable your MSP / IT Services firm to become more profitable, increase revenue, reduce costs, gain competitive advantage, and improve sustainability, please reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0412 517 237).