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Evolving MSP vCIO Services: Shaping the Future of Employee Digital Experience

Joel Abramson, CEO7 min read

For decades, managed service providers (MSPs) have worked behind the scenes to support businesses and ensure uninterrupted access to essential tools and resources for troubleshooting technical issues.

As knowledge work evolved from local area networks (LANs) and on-premises, MSPs transformed their businesses to optimize employee digital experiences. Today, clients look to MSPs both for technical support and strategic guidance.

There’s a huge opportunity available today. We believe the future of MSP work requires a shift from solely providing technology products and services to becoming advisors on the impact of technology on productivity (and people). For customers who want to understand how technology is consumed, MSPs can help.

Organizations with knowledge workers allocate a significant portion of their budget—75%—towards salaries, HR, and productivity initiatives. This directly impacts employee effectiveness and satisfaction.

In contrast, technology products and services provided by MSPs typically constitute only 5% of the budget. This disparity underscores the need to prioritize investments that enhance employee digital experience and improve overall performance and employee well-being.

By focusing on enhancing overall business productivity, MSPs can deliver greater value. The employee digital experience is integral to every aspect of work life, and MSPs will ideally be positioned as indispensable partners in driving productivity and organizational success.

What is the employee digital experience?

Employee digital experience refers to the overall digital interactions and experiences employees have within their organization. It highlights the integration of digital tools and platforms into the broader employee experience framework, ensuring that technology enhances rather than hinders employee productivity, satisfaction, and well-being.

Employee digital experience encompasses various dimensions of how employees interact with digital tools and the environment within their organization. It integrates employee experience (EX), which covers overall employee interactions and engagements across the workplace, with digital employee experience (DEX), which focuses specifically on the quality of digital interfaces and the tools workers use.

Additionally, it encompasses digital experience (DX), which extends beyond internal systems to include all digital interactions employees have, whether through websites, mobile apps, or external platforms.

Together, these frameworks ensure a holistic approach to enhancing productivity, satisfaction, and well-being by optimizing digital workflows and interactions throughout the employee journey.

A good employee digital experience is seamless, secure, and intuitive. However, for many workers, constant distractions and an overwhelming array of collaboration apps and tools often mar the experience.

Instead of empowering employees, these digital tools provided by MSPs lead to frustration and decreased productivity as workers spend more time in virtual meetings , navigating broken workflows, or searching for files rather than performing their core tasks.

But here’s the good news: MSPs are equipped to help them fix this.

The role of MSP vCIOs

Creating better workdays starts by empowering workers with data to properly optimize daily workflows and improve productivity. This allows them to identify the root of problems, make informed changes, and measure whether they are achieving the desired results.

MSP virtual Chief Information Officers (vCIOs) are well-suited to help their clients acquire advanced work analytic tools like Produce8. These tools offer clients insights into the factors that may be impairing worker productivity.

By leveraging this data, they can point to areas for improvement and collaborate with vCIOs to strategize. Overall, they can get recommendations to create a more efficient and satisfying work environment.

MSPs' clients are increasingly eager to learn about productivity as they recognize the role it plays in achieving business success. Clients are open to exploring new solutions and leveraging data-driven insights to understand work patterns, eliminate bottlenecks, and enhance overall performance without compromising work culture. They are ready to embrace digital work analytics, and MSPs that embrace it too can position themselves as advisors, differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace, and create a new revenue stream.

MSPs and the evolution of digital work

To properly advise your customers regarding how technology impacts productivity, you must adopt the same mindset and approach used when initially developing your business application services or establishing your MSSP cybersecurity practice. Like RMM/PSA, work analytics is a platform investment, not just another tool in your tech stack.

We have watched MSPs successfully evolve for years, and we foresee the next phase of transformation being in the productivity and employee digital experience space. To put all this in context, allow me to share some historical milestones and the trajectory of digital work for MSPs.

Distributed Workplaces (1995–2000+): MSPs started by rolling out web-based tools like email and LAN networking, which helped boost collaboration and connectivity within organizations. As workplaces spread out, MSPs stepped up by adding WAN and VPN solutions, along with email servers, to keep communication smooth and reliable for remote teams.

Cloud and Mobile Transformation (2005+): MSPs provided their clients with tools to improve communication and schedule management. They introduced early collaboration platforms like SharePoint and VOIP-based telephony applications, making it easier to work flexibly and efficiently across different locations. And by integrating cloud business solutions and strong mobile device management, MSPs ensured data security and compliance while supporting the increasing mobility of the workforce.

Web-Based Communication (2015+): MSPs added several cloud solutions to their services, which changed how businesses operated. Essential to this shift was collaborative messaging tools and virtual meeting setups, which ensured smooth communication and teamwork among remote teams. Through cloud-based platforms, MSPs offered scalable solutions that went beyond traditional physical limits, allowing for real-time collaboration and information sharing across any distance.

Remote Worker Infrastructure (2020+): As remote work took off, MSPs introduced virtual calling apps to support remote collaboration and communication. They also started focusing on solutions to better understand employee dynamics, marking a big shift in their role. However, their clients were just starting to understand the complexities of productivity and well-being in the workplace, highlighting the need for nuanced tools that go beyond mere employee monitoring . This is where we noticed the increasing demand among MSPs and their clients for digital work analytics. Thus, Produce8 was born.

Managed AI and the Future of the Employee Experience (2023+): As AI becomes more common in the digital work world, both leaders and employees must come to understand its impact on organizational success. With AI-driven applications and digital work analytics, MSPs can help their clients use data-driven insights to navigate new technologies and workflows. MSPs are uniquely positioned to guide businesses through these changes, offering the tools and strategies needed to boost productivity, streamline operations, and support sustainable growth in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

As the role of MSPs further evolves, their historical expertise and ability to devise forward-thinking strategies aligns them perfectly to improve the employee digital experience, making them invaluable partners in shaping the future of work.

Join the Produce8 MSP Partner Program

Now is the perfect time for MSPs to equip their clients with productivity and work analytics tools like Produce8. As the digital work landscape continues to evolve, organizations need deeper insights into their workflows to enhance efficiency and drive success.

By joining the Partner Program , MSPs gain access to a comprehensive suite of tools and resources designed to implement these advanced solutions effectively. This empowers MSPs to offer unparalleled value to their clients, positioning themselves as leaders in the industry while opening up new revenue streams. Joining the Partner Program ensures MSPs have everything they need to support their clients in achieving operational excellence.

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