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By the Numbers: The Current State of Canada’s MSP Market
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By the Numbers: The Current State of Canada’s MSP Market 

As MSPs have grown in importance, we at CenturyLink wanted to learn more about how companies want to work with different vendors. Working with the Branham Group, we commissioned original research to shed light on this market in Canada, and through this study, we discovered some wide-ranging and important insights.

The Big Picture

The biggest take away: Canadian companies both want and need the support of a strategic technology partner. IT staff spend too much time maintaining IT systems and not enough time innovating. More than half of respondents (55 per cent) revealed that they spend half their time or more maintaining and managing existing systems. This massive time drain prevents IT staff from doing anything other than simply keeping the lights on.

Changes and advances in technology are both an opportunity and an existential threat to many businesses. Companies we spoke to revealed that outsourcing some of their IT functions could be one of the most important moves they make as they plan for the future: 40 per cent of companies surveyed agree or strongly agree that an IT outsourcing relationship could save their company money.

IT managers also recognize the value of staying small and nimble. Rather than having a large internal team that fully manages and implements IT, almost 80 per cent of companies surveyed would prefer to have a small internal IT team that manages an outsourcing relationship. 

Time and Productivity

IT professionals are very busy, and unfortunately they are spending far too much time responding to immediate needs. More than half of companies surveyed have experienced a major productivity loss due to an outage or systems failure. More than half (53 per cent) of Canadian companies have also experienced a significant loss of productivity due to an app, network or data systems failure. At the same time, nearly 40 per cent of companies surveyed believe their IT systems and processes are out of date and require fundamental updates. This combination of systems failures and out of date processes creates a perfect storm for lost productivity or wasted resources.

Outsourcing: The Magic Bullet

Luckily, many companies understand that they need to do something different and that a strategic MSP relationship can help. More than half (56 per cent) of survey respondents agree or strongly agree that an outsourcing relationship would free up IT staff to concentrate on more important projects.

Increasingly, companies also understand that the best way to get value from an MSP relationship is to focus on the big picture. Almost two thirds of respondents (65 per cent) were most interested in working with an MSP strategically, focusing on services ranging from advisory to execution, rather than a tactical relationship in which just a few services are purchased on a self-select basis.

This is encouraging for us at CenturyLink, because it shows that Canadian businesses see the full value of making their MSP a true business partner, not just another technology vendor. When asked about the main outcome they would wish to achieve through an MSP relationship, respondents indicated the greatest interest in achieving business objectives (43 per cent), followed by financial and administrative objectives (35 per cent), and finally, technology objectives (represented at 22 per cent).

It’s my view that more and more companies will see the deep value of a strategic MSP relationship that focuses on business objectives. And as a leading MSP in Canada with several marquee customers, CenturyLink is thrilled to see that companies are starting to see the benefits of outsourcing IT to more closely align with their business objectives. This sea change represents the next evolution in this fast-moving, inter-connected, digital world.

Ash Mathur is the Regional Vice President and Managing Director of Century Link Canada. He is responsible for leading CenturyLink’s overall sales, operations and growth in Canada. Ash has served as a member of the Conference Board of Canada, ITAC and St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation. He holds a MBA and B.Sc. Honours from the University of Toronto.

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