Innovation needs left unmet by half of UK managed services providers, Claranet finds

The latest research from Claranet suggests that as many as half of British organisations that look to their IT services providers to assist with innovation fail to have these needs met. The results point to a new imperative for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to work more closely with their customers to ensure that they can help them meet their business objectives by bringing new ideas to the table.

The pan-European research report, which surveyed 900 IT decision-makers from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux, from a range of mid-market organisations, found that organisations overwhelmingly favour providers that can proactively engage with them over those that will simply follow orders. However, when asked about their actual experiences, it becomes apparent that MSPs have some work to do to match IT decision-makers’ expectations, with many falling short.

Looking specifically at the UK, there are large discrepancies between the expectations of British IT decision-makers and their experiences with MSPs: 62 per cent look for expert guidance, but just 35 per cent believe their MSPs to be expert guides; similarly, 42 per cent want their MSPs to be innovators, though only 23 per cent views them as such.

Michel Robert, Claranet’s UK Managing Director, commented:

Given the intense pressures on today’s IT departments, and the lack of available time to devote to priorities like innovation, organisations should be able to turn to their service providers for their guidance and expertise. But it’s clear that many users of MSPs are left wanting in this regard. While providers from all countries appear to have some work to do, it’s the British MSPs that stand apart as some of the most likely to fail to meet their customers’ expectations of innovation, expert guidance and advice.

Though there may be any number of reasons for this shortfall, I don’t believe it’s down to an inherent lack of innovation and expertise amongst British managed services providers. Rather, I’d suggest it’s down to lack of communication and speaks to a weakness of customer-provider relationships. Being able to support customers to meet their business objectives and move their businesses forward demands a level of intimacy not afforded to some MSPs. It’s only by working closely with customers, aligning themselves with their business strategies and establishing trust that this can be achieved. This is something we are acutely aware of at Claranet, and we have established a customer advisory board as well as other customer communities which allows us to gather direct input from our customers on our strategy and drive customer engagement,” he concluded.

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