Managed Service Providers (MSP) have always been around albeit under many different guises. The concept of outsourcing is not a new one, and is becoming more and more popular as the The UK skills shortage begins to hit hard, but a true MSP can do more than just manage the nuts and bolts. They can, and should, become a proactive business partner providing all the added value of a partner rather than a simple break-fix service provider.

But is an MSP the answer to the UK skills shortage?

The growing UK skills shortage, particularly in the technology sector, is well documented and Brexit promises to make matters worse for the UK economy as skills and talent from abroad will be further restricted.

With the FE and HE sectors in turmoil, whether through the unsuccessful introduction of the apprenticeship levy or the University sector just a policy change away from collapse, it is unclear where the next generation of skilled workers is going to come from.

With a growing demand for IT, software and cyber security skills required for businesses, regardless of sector, to keep them safe online and simply remain in business, the number of skilled and experienced talent on the market is scarce at best.

It is no longer the case that businesses need someone to manage their email server and make sure the firewall is working properly whilst they try to get the printer to work by turning it on and off – again. Successful businesses need to have a full IT strategy, even smaller organisations, so they can anticipate technological developments and incorporate them into their business.

The fact is, technology influences how we do business, and if businesses don’t keep up with it, they will be left behind.

The right talent verses an MSP

With the IT and technology skills shortage set to be a problem for the UK economy for the next 5-10 years minimum, as those few who enter the talent pool continue to develop their skills and experiences, the answer for businesses is to avoid the cost and resource of looking for the right talent by engaging with an MSP.

Whilst the Government is taking steps to “help” the skills shortage with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the impact is yet to be realised. With an estimated £1.2 Billion of the levy unspent as of April this year, and a prediction that the majority of this will go unspent completely, this initiative is far from a success as yet.

Apprenticeship take-up continues to decline year on year, with only IT and technology apprenticeships really bucking the trend, and UK university applications drop by 5% for UK students and 7% for EU students. So what does this mean for businesses and the UK economy?

Who are businesses going to get to run their IT departments? Who is going to protect their data from the cyber criminals? And who is going to advise them on their business continuity strategy should their systems fail (a growing peril as businesses become so reliant on technology to turn a profit)?

The benefits of using an MSP to overcome the The UK skills shortage

Partnering with an MSP comes with a plethora of benefits with the most obvious being the saving of time and cost of hiring the right calibre of IT professionals to keep their business safe. The cost of recruitment is becoming unbearable as supply is restricted, driving wages through the roof making it simply unfeasible for some businesses to staff a sufficiently experienced and talented in-house IT department.

Another benefit not to be overlooked when it comes to considering an MSP solution is risk mitigation and liability. As businesses constantly fight to keep their data safe from the cyber criminals who are ferociously looking for new and innovative ways to monetise it, the risk and liability faced by businesses continues to grow.

Utilising an MSP not only means businesses can offset a significant amount of risk, they have expert advice and guidance on hand to make sure they are protected and making informed decisions to ensure the data risks remain minimal.

This is a particularly appealing option for highly risk averse sectors who deal with large amounts of sensitive data such as legal, finance and health.

The other benefit of engaging with an MSP over an internal IT department is the guarantee of quality. With a robust SLA in place with agreed KPIs that are reported on consistently, an MSP can guarantee the quality of IT provision a business needs, especially as it grows.

Scalability is another bonus of using an MSP – as a business grows and the demands of it develop (collaborative working, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), more server capability, data analysis and so on), an MSP can strategise, advise, implement and maintain IT solutions without the significant outlay and knowledge it would require a business to have if they did it themselves.

In conclusion

The skills shortage is set to continue for a few years yet with a full solution many years away. The solution for successful and future-facing UK organisations is to engage with an experience, quality-assured IT MSP with the aim of developing a long-term partnership that will support the growth objectives of the business.

Neuways IT consultants, and 50 strong UK-based technical support desk, provide an experienced and in-depth MSP for business across the UK, meeting 100% of our SLAs. If you would like some more information about Neuways and how we could work with you to support your systems as you grow, contact us today on 01283 753333 or at