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Thinking About Your MSP Strategy for 2021? Start Here

Published: 2020-12-31

ASCII Group president Jerry Koutavas highlights the area where MSPs can thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic and long road back to profitability. By D. Craig MacCormack 

While its counterparts on the AV integration side have struggled in many ways to transition into new vertical markets and different ways of doing business as the coronavirus pandemic has continued its spread across the globe, MSPs have found themselves more in demand than ever. 

Looking ahead to what’s in store for IT integrators in 2021 and beyond, Jerry Koutavas, president of The ASCII Group, isn’t sure where things will go, but he sees flickers of optimism in areas including network security and collaboration protocols as the work-from-home setup becomes permanent for many. 

It’s going to be a mixed bag in terms of opportunity,” he says. “Larger companies are mandating employees work from home and some are extending it for many years. Will that trickle down to small business? 

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“If it does, what MSPs put in place in terms of security might not be enough. They might need to go back and fortify some of these environments,” he says. 

Koutavas points to the state and federal governments as playing a critical role “in terms of getting businesses up and running in 2021. 

It’s going to be vital to at least get quicker into the recovery,” he saysWe just want business back as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is.  

This industry has been blessed. There is so much growth taking place, unless you’re an MSP that’s really vertically focused. MSPs are going to come out of this just blazing. They’re going to have money in their pockets, the recurring revenue upside is there,” says Koutavas. 

There’s a lot more optimism for our industry compared to others. It’s just a matter of timing,” he says. 

While we chose “transition” for the word that best captures the state of the industry on the AV side of the ledger, Koutavas chose “capitalization” for The ASCII Group and its membership. And, no this has nothing to do with elementary school grammar lessons. It’s about capitalizing on opportunities. 

What’s taking place right now is MSPs are getting an influx of business. That includes new customers and more opportunities for recurring revenue,” says Koutavas. “What they need to do is reinforce their businesses morehiring to fill some of those open positions and thinking about new ways to market. 

The more aggressive MSPs who are looking into reinvesting are the ones who are going to win out. You have to put your foot on gas and move the business forwardThe idea of going from great economy into the pandemic shouldn’t slow down the investment in our companies. Now’s the time to do it,” he says 

Like in AV, interest in IT integrators and MSPs has been “steadily increasing,” says Koutavas. 

“Investors have to put money somewhere and they prefer to put it into a safer bet,” he says. “We’ll probably start to see a lot of newer players and more conversations in 2021 and into 2022. 

“There are some interesting rollup strategies starting to take shape. Everyone is looking at an everything-as-a-service model and we’re right at the center of that. Investors are going to be sniffing that out,” says Koutavas. 

It depends on the industry how quickly they’re going to get back up and running,” he saysWe’re in the event industry too. Getting that part of the business up and running puts juice into the economy. Government has use-or-lose scenarios, but most companies aren’t going to start throwing money down the drain.  

Koutavas says there are some innovations that were thrust onto the world due to the pandemic that could have some serious “staying power.” 

“Collaboration is a rocket ship,” he says. “Given the influx of everyone going online for meetings, we’re seeing MSPs becoming consultants and advising clients on the best ways to use this technology.” Most companies are likely to “tighten up” their collaboration protocols, says Koutavas. 

Dovetailing with that, he says, is the idea of better and more robust security setups as the work-from-home goes from a novelty to a way of life for many companies. 

“The pandemic has pushed everybody and their business models through a stress test,” he saysIt’s not enough to survive right now. You have to pivot, then pivot again, then pivot again and keep adding new layers of opportunities, so if one layer goes away, another one is there to take its place. 

Learn more about the ASCII Group here

Posted in: News

Tagged with: Managed Services, MSPs

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