RMM vendor Pulseway found the public health crisis impacted not only businesses but also their staff members
MSPs – particularly smaller companies that in the best of times can be walking on the razor’s edge – are experiencing high levels of stress amid worry about their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey by Pulseway.
The Lowdown: The Dublin, Ireland-based remote monitoring and management (RMM) vendor surveyed 375 MSPs and internal IT departments in November, with the bulk of responses coming back after news of the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines were made public. About 83% of the respondents had a staff size of five or fewer people.
The Details: Among the key findings from the 2020 MSP Pain Point Survey was that the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing restrictions took a toll on not only the businesses themselves but also the individuals working at those companies:
> 64% said their jobs became more stressful during the first nine months of the pandemic and 52% said the stress levels of their teams had increased.
> Among the reasons for the added stress included being expected to work outside of normal hours (74%) – with 82% saying that customers are contacting support outside of those business hours – and 53% saying their workload, or that of their team, had increased. Also, 70% said that life had become more difficult over the previous nine months, though only 33% reported that their work/life balance had deteriorated.
> The top concerns were growing the business (54.8%), security (50%), maintaining support levels (37.5%), and customer retention (29.8%).
The impact of the public health crisis on businesses has rippled through MSPs, whose futures are tied to those of their clients.
> 53% have experienced business uncertainty and 48% have had customers become more cautious about investing in new technologies or services due to a rapidly changing and uncertain business climate.
> Almost 30% of MSPs have seen contracts being reduced and 18% reported that contracts had been canceled. In addition, 47% said IT projects had been canceled and 48% said projects had been postponed.
> Surprisingly, 41% of MSPs said that business has slightly or significantly increased, with only 27% reporting a decrease. This is due in part to an increase in demand for specific services, including security (56%), help desk (40%), backup (36%), and patching (27%).
> Given the growing demand in some areas, there was a significant difference in the MSPs that have introduced new services. For example, only 38% said they have introduced security services and only 15% who have done the same with help desks. This indicates the MSPs are having difficulty getting the technology they need or are hesitant to incur the costs of introducing the new services, the researchers said.
The Impact: As with much of society, the pandemic has taken a toll not only on MSPs’ businesses but also on their staffs. That said, COVID-19 and associated restrictions have driven long-term changes in the business environment and MSPs themselves. About 33% have no one in the office, with only 26% saying all the staff has remained in-office. In addition, 56% of MSPs said they’re not planning for a return to normal working arrangements, with 32% saying their teams will never return to being completely office-based. Another 23% said they’ll be fully in-office by early 2021.
About 48% said they will adopt full-time remote working in the future. Between 24% and 30% said they want to keep some of the new ways of working, with the most popular being remote support.
The Buzz: “The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions clearly had an impact on the MSP industry globally,” the report’s authors wrote. “There has been a tremendous impact on individual staff as they battle against uncertainty to provide what appears to be service as normal. The fact that 85% customer satisfaction has stayed the same or improved, is testament to the professionalism and flexibility of MSP staff. However, the MSP business is only as strong as its staff, and managers should be conscious of this as business slowly returns to normal in 2021.”