Studies Tell Conflicting Story on Managed Services Growth

The managed services profession has always suffered from a lack of accurate financial data. To be clear, MSPs do have access to some fantastic internal operational data. What MSPs don't have is global or even significant geographical data on managed services spending trends.

Now, in fairness to the research and analyst firm industry, there doesn't seem to be any large vendors willing to fund these types of studies, but that is a topic for another time. Let's agree that we have gone a long time without any meaningful managed services spending data. But, this dry spell seems to be ending.

Analysts Finally Paying Attention to Managed Services Industry

In recent years there has been an increase in research firms publishing "managed services" spending reports. Now, I've written about this elsewhere, but the quality and accuracy of some of these reports are dubious. I do not fault the Sampling or the mathematical approaches to these reports. However, I do have an issue with the categorization of managed services, which can significantly impact the overall accuracy of the studies.

Do Studies Tell Conflicting Stories?

There are two recent studies on managed services and cloud computing that may be telling conflicting stories about the next few years. For example, a Fact.MR study claims that the managed network services industry will be worth $120 billion by 2028. A different study conducted by CenturyLink and Statista says the cloud computing market will surpass $400 billion by 2020.

On the surface, these may seem like non-intersecting studies, but I wonder about that. Gartner has projected the 2018 IT services market will generate a little over a trillion dollars. Several research reports have claimed the global managed services market to be worth around $250 billion, with global cloud computing significantly less than that.

One of the apparent reasons for these seemingly contradictory studies is the analysts do not use consistent terms, and nor are these terms consistent with what the practicing service providers use. Inconsistent terminology is a big problem. Until the analyst community starts to rely on common terminology, we will suffer from these conflicting and ultimately unhelpful reports.

All Signs Point Up!

Regardless of any inconsistencies between these reports, they all share an undeniable commonality, which is considerable growth in the coming years. Early on in and manage services profession we would have been very thankful to have even this generic but hopeful type of data. Today, however, I believe we can and need to do better.

We can no longer rely on generically positive research studies. We must begin to generate accurate data on the types of managed services consumed and the types of companies consuming those services.

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