Should the market cap out at 20 per cent, as per McBain’s predictions, such figures still stand to represent enormous potential for MSPs in Australia.
For this is a market forecast to reach US$257.84 billion globally by 2022, almost doubling in size since 2017.
Locally speaking, MSP confidence remains high across the country, driven by a mature market playing host to established players providing high-quality services.
“We always keep up-to-date with the latest technology developments,” Joosse said. “With improved integration and automation, the time required to monitor networks means that it costs us and the clients less.”
Spanning small business, mid- market and enterprise markets, Hotline IT is homing in on industries such as not-for-profits, hire / rental and professional services, alongside manufacturing, distribution, government and retail.
Specific to not-for-profit, the provider — based in Frenchs Forest, Sydney — has been delivering solutions for more than 20 yeas, offering expertise across line of business applications such as Microsoft Dynamics, alongside accountancy software through MYOB and Xero.
Key customers include the Australian Dental Association, alongside Steric Trading in manufacturing and Allcott Hire in hire / rental, as well as Ford Civil in retail and Hills Flower Market through professional services.
“Developing partnerships with complementary industries is a key priority in 2018,” Joosse added. “This is alongside growing our customer base within targeted verticals, developing strong vendor relationships and increased promotion of Hotline IT through our marketing activities.”
Different industries provide different requirements, with deployments varied and usage disparate.
Therefore, an MSP today must be in-tune with both current and emerging technologies, finding a balance between innovating early and staying true to trusted solutions.
It’s a tightrope partners are well- versed in treading, creating a wafer- thin line between early adopters and laggards.
“Being able to adapt with the continual innovation of the industry is an ongoing challenge for MSPs,” Joosse said. “Also, it’s crucial to understand and ensure our products and services development are in line with what customers need and want.”
While it’s no surprise to state cloud and security as the leading priorities for both partners and customers during the next 12 months, Joosse said MSPs must think beyond conventional offerings to capitalise on changing dynamics.
Citing the Microsoft Azure platform, backed up by Office 365, Joosse said customers are investing heavily in cloud technologies at a national level, due to its ability to provide features and benefits to users ranging from one to one million.
Irrespective of public, private or hybrid environments however, increased cloud adoption is also creating added challenges around security, cited by Joosse as a “significant risk” to businesses in 2018.
“Security-as-a-service [SaaS] is a big issue worldwide and with the data breach legislation coming into effect in February, businesses are now placing IT security much higher on their priority lists,” Joosse explained.
From a partner standpoint, more than 80 per cent of worldwide security spending in 2017 spanned services and software, with managed security and integration services topping the list, according to IDC findings.
Closer to home, in 2018, Australian security spending is forecast to reach $3.8 billion, representing an increase of 6.5 per cent from 2017.
“Skill sets are scarce and therefore remain at a premium, leading organisations to seek external help from security consultants, managed security service providers and outsourcers,” Gartner research director, Ruggero Contu, said.
But while security, coupled with cloud technologies, remain core priorities for Hotline IT, value can also be found in providing services wrapped around collaboration and communication solutions.
“As more and more businesses have team members working remotely we are finding a large interest in improved communication channels,” Joosse added. “So, mobility and collaboration are key issues.
“Technology fits into the business strategy by providing a standardised platform so all staff have access to the same systems, whether in the office or remote.”
In assessing end-user buying patterns, Joosse also outlined a shift away from capital expenditure (CAPEX) towards an operating expenditure (OPEX) approach.
“There is also a strong desire for hardware and software purchases to be in the form of an OPEX expense, as opposed to having the large capital expenditure,” Joosse observed. “We capitalise on this through our rental model.”