Human Capital Must be Focus of MSPs in 2019
According to a poll of 107 UK CEOs, there is a massive skills gap facing organizations, and it could bode very well for managed service providers.
The study found that 71% of all respondents said a lack of data access and skills could put their organization at risk. The study also found that only 17% said they would invest in training for existing staff, and only 18% of the CEOs said they planned to invest in recruiting employees with strong digital skills.
Even within the IT community, there is a skills shortage facing the profession. One of the reasons for Amazon's pursuit of a second headquarters is to provide them with greater access to talent.
Skills Gaps is Bad News for End-Users
Aside from unique geographic factors such as the extremely low unemployment rate amongst Information Technology workers in the United States, IT workers have been increasingly more challenging to find globally. End-user organizations have been getting by with less human capital than they have in the past, at the same time cybersecurity risks are on the rise.
End-users have a skills gap, and it will reach a crisis point if it hasn't already. We know that the threats and general business challenges (and opportunities) facing organizations will only increase in the next 10-20 years. This means that customers will need to develop a longer-term solution for addressing tech talent shortages.
Managed Service Providers Can Help
While it may not have been expressly stated in previous market studies, MSPs have always offered many unique value propositions to subscribers of their services. I believe one of those unique values today is access to a diverse talent pool customers could not otherwise afford to maintain.
The messaging of MSPs as sources of diverse talent, however, is not happening effectively. In my opinion, the MSP community has spent the last 20 years focusing on communicating technology solutions to technical problems, and this needs to change.
Technology skills gaps must be addressed adequately by MSPs. Even more business could be won if MSPs included in their marketing and messaging the access to human capital, a distinct value and characteristic of the managed services business model.
MSPs Must Focus on Human Capital
When MSPs themselves engage in outsourcing instead of developing internal skills and staff, they lose in the long run. Aside from tactical and short-term outsourcing, MSPs should opt for doing more internally, not less.
This means, if you can staff up a NOC or helpdesk, you should do it instead of outsourcing. If you need more talent in a particular area of specialty, you should invest in those people, not outsource. These decisions are ultimately strategic and must be undertaken based on a firm knowledge of the MSP's business model and plan for the future. It also does not mean that you should never outsource or partner with external providers. It does mean, however, that if it is core to your value as a MSP, you should invest in and grow the people necessary to offer that service.
If MSPs outsource everything, what value do they really provide?