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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Missing the Shadow IT Opportunity: IT SNAFU Day 4

Posted December 15, 2014by Mary McCoy

day4

No matter what your stance on "Shadow IT" is, the practice of spending money on IT products and services without the knowledge and approval of IT departments has rapidly come to characterize the SMB market.

Think about the sheer quantity of business applications your clients need to run their business - cloud based consumer file sharing apps, collaboration tools, business productivity SaaS applications, even social media! Think their IT departments have the bandwidth to manage all of the requests?

Business decision makers (BDMs) have ever increasing technology needs, and those needs are instant. One IT representative can't possibly handle the volume of orders, but someone needs to make sure everything is in compliance with security standards.

That's where you come in!


Techaisle's Forecast for the Future of Shadow IT

Based on data from the Techaisle report “The 360 on SMB & Midmarket IT Decision Making Authority,” BDM spending on Shadow IT in small and midmarket businesses is expected to reach $99 BILLION in the US alone in 2015!

According to the study, 56% of small business infrastructure goes toward Shadow IT. Familiar with Salesforce and Microsoft? The report finds that Shadow IT accounts for 15% of total small, and 14% total midmarket, business application spending.

Here's another stat to mull over. In the SMB market, BDMs are in charge of 53% of business application spending! That means the majority of these expenditures is outside the control of IT departments.


How Did This Evolve?

IT staff are well acquainted with on-the-edge solutions and technology developments that don't meet with best practices and corporate compliance guidelines. In actuality, many in IT recognize the benefits of these various business applications and IT infrastructure since they greatly enhance employees' abilities to meet or exceed deadlines, work more efficiently, and increase productivity for the company.

What concerns IT departments, often just one person, is managing all of these new endpoints when they're ultimately responsible for the cyber well-being of their companies.

Related: Do you know everything there is to know about BYOD?


The New Corporate Reality & The MSP Opportunity

At this point, the trend is hard to stop. Hopefully, managed service providers (MSPs) will quickly recognize the important Shadow IT opportunity and help protect their client's corporate security and bottom line. Many in IT are threatened by the security risk of this rising trend and insist all IT spending should be done with IT approval. But it's important to note that when information security is in the hands of an MSP, it is in the hands of IT. 

Respected and experienced MSPs act as a trusted extension of the IT department with the client's best interest in mind. As such, MSPs can then help to protect corporate security and extend their coverage of a client site in addition to the infrastructure they currently manage.

Related: The EMM Market Will Double by 2018: How MSPs Can Take Advantage

Expanding the coverage of client sites doesn't just grow revenue. It also expands the network of client relationships. Now, by managing these new endpoints, MSPs can build relationships with all of the BDMs that contribute to Shadow IT spending. Think of the new potential for brand champions! Managed services that incoroporate all of the products and services that fall under the Shadow IT umbrella make for a stickier offering. SMBs need a trusted business advisor that will help keep them up, running, and most importantly, profitable. The more they rely on an MSP's services, the more likely that relationship will continue to grow stronger. 

IT techs will also be grateful for this arrangement because they don't have the time to approve every new software request when more pressing concerns demand their attention. At the same time, they know their job is on the line should corporate security become compromised. That's why they team up with MSPs expertly trained in compliance and corporate regulations. This trusted partnership makes IT reps even more loyal to managed services's role in their company's growth.

 

So now do you see why failing to adapt your business model to this seemingly unstoppable Shadow IT SMB market trend is today's IT SNAFU? Everybody wins this way! BDMs are able to get the apps and services they need when they need it without cutting through needless departmental red tape. IT reps are free to better allocate their time and resources to more critical projects, knowing Shadow IT programs are overseen. You increase your revenue by monitoring more endpoints, all while creating and developing stronger, long-term business relationships with both BDMs and IT reps. Most importantly, by taking advantage of the Shadow IT opportunity, you solidify your status as your client's true Partner. 

 

Are you following the 10 Commandments of BYOD?

Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Demand Generation Programs Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary primarily manages the MSP Blog and has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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