3 MSP Predictions For 2023
2022 was a lot to handle on the cyber warfare front, and there has been a great deal of market consolidation around the MSP spaces. In addition to market consolidation, many IT-focused providers are in some form or another of transformation, such as fully adopting the cloud or changing their working model to remote/work from home. So here are a 23-year IT Professional’s 3 MSP trends to look out for in 2023.
1 - Autotask Is Still Going to Suck
The MSP Space has a lot of really terrible UX. I consider Autotask to be the standards-bearer for absolutely awful user experience. Yet, Kaseya bought them in 2022 and paid an absurd amount for them.
For those who don’t know me, I have worked in every corner of IT (Have a look at my Resume') and spent a good chunk of my career in the west coast startup scene. I’ve worked for or alongside huge brands and was also part of a few incubators and accelerators on the cutting edge of UX.
In 2023, Autotask still looks like an IT Admin taught themselves PHP over the weekend and smashed together a product. You click on tickets, and they open in these little custom windows, Tab order is all sorts of screwed up, and things I want to spawn in new tabs, for whatever reason, can’t (I’m looking at you, “Current Time Sheet…."). Furthermore, Autotask is still very slow - and if you need to talk to their API because you want to ingest data into a 3rd party app, or do any meaningful automation, good luck, you’re looking at solid 3-second round-trip times in Insomnia or Postman to get back some simple JSON.
Autotask is loaded with metric tons of tech debt, and if Kaseya wants to make the most of its purchase, they will need to burn the whole thing down and rewrite it. Having worked extensively in their API to help glue some stuff together for my current employer, Autotask feels like all critical functionality was written by a rotating cadre of developers looking to add some experience to their resumes before going to work for a real SaaS firm like SalesForce.
Sadly, an entire rewrite of Autotask’s PSA would piss off their customer base, which is made up of a bunch of IT MSPs who wouldn’t know UX if it cracked them across the face. I don’t see this being a winning decision for Kaseya, so unless this is a customer acquisition play, I don’t see the logic behind this purchase except for the fact that money was cheap then (this was before interest rates went up).
2 - Supply Chain Issues Will Force A Lot of MSPs To Push Cloud Solutions
Many MSPs are pushing cloud solutions like Office 365, which is a good thing. However, most MSPs still do stuff the old-fashioned way and make revenue by maintaining on-prem architecture. With enterprise hardware vendors dealing with severe supply chain disruptions, these MSPs will reluctantly transition to the cloud after fighting it hard for the last 5 years. Because many of these engineers will be pushed into developing solutions for customers quickly to make numbers for 2023, there will be a lot of botched migrations. This level of botchery will undermine customer confidence in the hyperscaler clouds because the MSP that took them there did an absolutely shit job.
I see a lot of posts on r/msp and r/sysadmin where engineers complain about having to learn scripting languages and get comfortable with new tools and paradigms because they have customers that want to adopt the cloud. There are more than I can count, and they all are from well-established managed service providers based on their post histories. Because these attitudes are toxic to adoption, many MSPs will be looking to replace those attitudes with more cloud-native thinkers. Unfortunately, those MSPs are going to get some real sticker shock when they see what the industry salary averages are for cloud talent.
3 - Security Finally Matters
Since many organizations got hit as part of the Russian and Chinese cyber engagements - the C suite is finally starting to take security seriously. Many industry regulators are also taking compliance enforcement seriously. Due to the number of breaches that have happened to companies across many market verticals, we expect to see new security standards. If it is politically expedient, I expect there to a movement within the US Congress to start talking about GDPR-like legislation for internet privacy by December.
So, those are my 3 predictions for MSPs in 2023. Unfortunately, I will be wrong about at least 2 of these. Check back here next year and see if this aged like a fine wine… of milk.