Today, Acronis published their Pulse of the Industry report. This is a follow-up to research they reported in 2020. The focus of this report is the future of managed services and where we make money. One un-surprising conclusion is that the move to the cloud is being accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can grab the report at: https://www.acronis.com/en-us/resource-center/resource/560/.
Here are a few of my thoughts.
One of the most striking findings is the comparison of actual 2020 sales with projected 2021 (and beyond) sales. The vast majority of respondents reported stable or increasing sales for unified communications, networking, and systems integrations.
Looking ahead, these same respondents project major reductions in traditional onsite maintenance, hardware and software sales, and even remote management. They foresee increases in cloud-based management and managed security services.
One important message in all of this: The source of your revenue is changing - fast.
Here's a personal caveat to all such reports: If you haven't read Flash Foresight by Daniel Burrus, please do so as quickly as possible. Burrus gives great advice about examining future trends. One of him most important points is that we can only find a handful of "future facts" or hard trends. Everything else is a future possibility or soft trend.
I reproduced one of the graphics from the report here. I will take the list of current top revenue sources as fact: Network security, endpoint protection, data protection, remote monitoring, and email security. But the projection for the next two years is topped by Cloud/SaaS security and backup. As the report points out, this "top" future revenue source is not even on the respondents' radar right now.
Let me be clear: That's the direction we're going. But to move from not-on-the-list to top of the list in the next two years seems a bit drastic.
The report does make clear what most of us know and the rest suspect: Onsite hardware and software are disappearing fast. And the Covid pandemic is a great opportunity to talk to your clients about finally making the move. After all, many of them have been working from home while their server sits alone in a closet at the office. They understand that they don't have to be able to walk in the next room and touch the server in order for it to work.
Now, take all that and put in the context of modern ransomware, impending regulation, increased insurance rates, and the never-ending battle over cybersecurity. The result is that 2021 will be a great year for MSPs who are pivoting away from onsite hardware for email and storage. Those trends have been around for more than a dozen years, but they will take a big leap this year.
Please check out the report. I would be happy to discuss your feedback. Drop comments below.