Buyers bury RFPs for MSPs, embrace ‘agile workshops’ instead

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Buyers bury RFPs for MSPs, embrace ‘agile workshops’ instead

Analyst firm Gartner has spotted two trends in the way customers engage infrastructure MSPs and predicts these new ways of picking suppliers will dominate the market by the year 2022.

The two trends are “transformational outsourcing” and “agile workshop deals”.

The former is all about "a mix of cloud, edge, network and security, but also traditional managed services based on sophisticated automation strategies, analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities."

The latter sees buyers “screen infrastructure MSPs in advance to create a shortlist of the right partners and to invite those providers to co-create the solution via a workshop-based selection process.” Such sessions include "workshop-based design thinking sessions with a focus on [buyers']  specific business challenges." 

Digital transformation is the driver for these changes. Gartner reckons buyers know they must improve the digital experiences offered to customers, and want their service providers to help. But current engagements don't always lend themselves to transformation projects, hence the new ways of testing supplier capabilities. 

What Gartner says MSP customers want these days

Agile workshop deals already account for between 30 and 40 percent of infrastructure MSP deals in Europe and North America, Gartner says, and has predicted that “by 2022, more than 90 percent of infrastructure managed services deals” will use the new procurement tactic.

“This is particularly important as MSPs report that deal value impact is higher than deal numbers, showing high traction in larger deals,” wrote the firm’s research director Rene Buest. “On a recognised pipeline of US$50 billion-plus service providers, an impact of 40 percent to 50 percent of agile deals was reported, up from 10 percent a year ago.”

“On one hand, this movement creates a challenge for MSPs that are just reacting to the market. On the other hand, this opens a large opportunity for MSPs that are changing their habits and engagement approaches,” he added.

"Engage clients by building consulting capabilities that not only focus on technology but address
the business outcome requirements of customers," he advised. "Ensure any practice is staffed with consultants who have vertical understanding, digital design skills and understand the human dynamics of the sales process."

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