Opportunities arise for MSPs despite skills shortages
A survey of 2,740 IT decision-makers conducted by Skillsoft, finds only 16 percent plan to rely more on third parties for support despite ongoing skills shortages. Instead, a full 45 percent plan to invest in more training for their existing staff, while another 18 percent plan to hire additional staff.
Overall, two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) shared they are experiencing a skills gap in their IT teams, with artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning and cybersecurity being the top two areas where they lack expertise (30 percent). Cloud computing follows closely at 26 percent.
IT leaders show bias toward internal talent
Managed service providers (MSPs) have been competing with internal IT teams for decades. In theory, any time there is a chronic shortage of expertise, it creates additional opportunities for MSPs. Still, most IT leaders are naturally biased toward getting as much as possible out of their existing staff.
However, the survey makes it clear that there are a lot of impediments to training, including lack of time (46 percent) and lack of budget (35 percent). Organizations also report technology is changing faster than their skills development programs can keep up with (43 percent), and 41 percent are struggling to hire candidates with the skills they need. Well over a third (37 percent) find it difficult to even attract the right candidates in the first place. A total of 36 percent admit they haven’t invested enough in training. As a result, many organizations are likely to rely on third-party organizations for support simply because there isn’t any other option.
MSPs are well-positioned to attract the best talent
The Skillsoft report also suggests that third-party organizations are also likely to attract the best talent because they offer higher salaries. In North America, the average salary for an IT professional working for a system integrator or value-added reseller (VAR) is $170,517. That compares to an average annual salary of $124,931 for IT professionals in the U.S.
Given that the average salary of IT professionals is more than $50,000 higher than IT professionals working for other types of organizations, MSPs need to make sure they are investing in developer expertise that is in high demand. IT leaders will become more inclined to rely on existing staff from IT service management (ITSM), while desperately looking for help to address emerging AI needs alongside existing cybersecurity and cloud computing challenges. MSPs that have those skills are much more likely to be seen as adding value versus being viewed as an existential threat to the tasks that internal IT teams are currently managing.
Of course, in the age of AI there is much less certainty about what tasks will need to be performed. Many existing processes will become increasingly automated as generative AI becomes more pervasively applied, for example, to streamlining incident management. The challenge for MSPs, as always, will be making sure they stay ahead of technological advances that are about to utterly transform how IT services are delivered and consumed.
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