COVID-19 Industry Response Survey: Week Eight Results

by Rick Yates, on May 19, 2020

Results image (4)
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our COVID-19 industry response survey. We're so lucky that the community backed this endeavour and are hopeful that you have been able to gain insight and take actionable steps based on what we've found.








Here are the results for the week commencing 11/05/2020:

1. How busy has your business been this week compared to last week?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 08.53.42

  Last week
This week
A lot busier than last week: 7% 11%
Slightly busier than last week: 35% 39%
About as busy as last week: 35% 34%
Slightly quieter than last week: 23% 11%
A lot quieter than last week: 0% 5%

It's great to finish off with a win!

Over the last eight weeks, the answers to this question have been a great indicator of the state industry as a whole. In terms of majority, the winner each week has been: busier, quieter, quieter, quieter, quieter, busier, busier, busier. 

Things started off with a bang as everyone pushed to work from home, but quickly fell off as people looked to cut costs. Things stayed low for a while and there was a lot of serious concern, but around week six things turned around. 

Don't be concerned if you're an MSP that's still going through a quiet period, because it's clear you're not alone. No one's out of the woods yet and during this time we just have to support each other, because there's not much else we can do!

2. Have any of your customers cancelled or paused their service with you?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 09.37.48

  Last week This week
Yes: 32% 42%
No: 68% 58%

A 10% rise in customers cancelling/pausing their services isn't what we'd hope the see.

Overall, this metric has been up and down. These figures are identical to those we found in week two, and since then we've had rises and falls of anywhere from 1-12%.

There's something much to say about this because each cancellation or pause is unique in its own right. Some of the biggest factors will be the financial aspect or the fact that many teams are running on skeleton staff, but it's hard to find a trend when everything is still so up in the air.

3. Have your customers requested services additional to their regular packages THIS WEEK compared to LAST WEEK? (i.e. if they requested additional Remote Working setup last week but nothing additional this week, the answer will be no)

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 10.16.33

  Last week This week
Yes: 19% 26%
No: 81% 74%

A common thing that we've seen from the results of all these questions is that there's no real pattern. The trend is: there's no trend.

In week one, we saw a 52% Yes/ 48% No split, and since then No has contained the vast majority. However, it hasn't been a steady decline for additional services, and as you can see from the results this week, more than a quarter of clients are still engaged.

As business are given new information each week, it's likely that these answers shift with the news cycle. As a small silver lining, this means that MSPs will be in demand, as no one knows what's coming next!

4. If your customers are in need of any additional services, what are they?

Remote working support has been the clear winner each week other than the last two. As everyone gets used to their new home setups, security and backups have become the service of choice.

If you're looking for an innovative backup solution, why not try out a quick, free 1-2-1 demo of Redstor? An MSP friendly cloud security and backup service, it's the perfect fit for your needs.

5. What have your customers mostly needed from you this week?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 10.50.21

  Last week
This week
Setting up remote working: 0% 8%
Data security/backup/recovery: 6% 3%
Access to hardware: 3% 8%
Business as usual/service desk: 85% 76%
Other (please specify): 6% 5%

In week one, 83% of MSPs were tasked with setting up remote working, with other services trailing behind. Since then, business as usual has crept up, taking the majority of the vote every week. As more have people wanted their normal service desk back, remote working requests have fallen and are now one par with the others.

We predict that this will stay the same until everyone makes the move back to offices.

6. What technical services do you think your customers are going to need as the isolation period continues that they may not be aware of yet? Please select top 3

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 11.40.27

  Last week
This week
Staff monitoring software - activity/key loggers: 15% 29%
More suitable remote connect/VPN facilities: 33% 35%
Moving data backups off physical sites and into cloud: 26% 24%
Recovering data on a live basis remotely: 11% 9%
Enhanced service desk packages: 33% 9%
Proactive guidance and recommendations on IT strategy: 89% 71%
Other (please specify): 11% 9%

Proactive guidance has won this question every week, gaining more of a majority as time has passed. To begin with, more suitable remote connections and staff monitoring tools were hot contenders, but much like the other questions, they've fallen behind as the weeks have gone on.

7. Has it been necessary for you to place any staff on furlough?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 11.39.33

  Last week This week
Yes: 40% 34%
No: 60% 66%

No one likes this question. Yes answers grew steadily week on week until week five, where they dropped 6%. Since then, the numbers have fluctuated, rising one week and falling the next.

The good thing is that Yes has never been the majority. While staff are often a company's biggest cost, a lot of MSPs seem keen to keep their employees working, which is nice to see. 

8. If no, do you expect to place staff on furlough next week?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 11.50.31

  Last week This week
Yes: 4% 18%
No: 61% 79%
Possibly, not sure yet: 35% 3%

Every week, MSPs have been uncertain on their staff's position. No has always been the majority, but Possibly has always received a decent amount of votes, as you can see from the 35% last week.

The massive drop in uncertainty and rise in Yes answers can only be attributed to the extended furlough scheme. Everyone's trying to keep costs down, so it's understandable.

With all that said, No has always had the majority here.

9. What kind of advice would you find most useful to help you and your customers businesses during the Coronavirus crisis? (multiple choice)

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 12.02.10

  Last week
This week
Staff productivity during remote working: 23% 19%
Data security and compliance for remote environments: 13% 10%
Insight on how other IT Service Providers are faring during the crisis: 47% 51%
Ways to diversify your business to create new revenue streams: 63% 59%
Other (please specify): 0% 3%

Every week, business diversification and insight have battled for the top spot. As we hope that these survey results have scratched that insight itch, ways to diversify your business has taken the lead these last few weeks.

However, it's sensible to look at all of these things in order to maximise your offering at the moment.

10. Do you currently feel concerned for the future of your business as a result of Coronavirus?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 12.26.33

  Last week This week
No, I think we will grow as a result: 29% 21%
No, I think we will neither grow nor shrink: 29% 45%
Yes, this may have a negative effect on my business: 42% 32%
Yes, I am worried that the Coronavirus crisis will put us out of business: 0% 2%

In week one, twice as many MSPs thought that Coronavirus would have a negative effect on their business compared to those who saw themselves growing. In week two, this took a shift, and more MSPs could see potential through the fog. After this numbers fell again, stayed the same, rose considerably - it's been a rocky path for IT providers' confidence.

Seeing this dip in the final week isn't great, but the neutral option has always been the majority, which is a net win.

11. Currently, what is your top concern regarding Coronavirus in relation to your business?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 12.46.49

  Last week
This week
That my customers will not be able to pay me: 49% 45%
That an overwhelming number of my staff will become sick and need to self isolate: 3% 3%
That I cannot keep up with demand: 3% 5%
That there is a shortage of incoming new business: 45% 42%
Other (please specify): 0% 5%

Cash liquidity and new business have always been the biggest worries for MSPs, and nothing has changed this week. Not getting paid was the outright winner in earlier weeks, but as time has passed and the reality of COVID-19 has become clear, a shortage of new business has become a big worry.

To find new business, MSPs have the option to sign up to IT Provider Hub. This directory of IT Providers has been made free to join during the crisis and is a great place for new customers to find your business.

12. Are you experiencing challenges with your customers not paying their bills this week?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 13.04.20

  Last week This week
Yes, I have customers who have asked for extensions or not paid on time: 35% 42%
No, everyone is still paying as usual: 65% 58%

Not what we wanted to see!

To begin with, only 27% of MSPs had customers not paying. This then shot up by 12%, then went down, down again, shot up - you can see where this is going.

Answers to this question have been a rollercoaster. There are many variables that could be impacting these results, such as location and sector, but overall it is a shame.

We do have to be understanding during these tough times, but where do you draw the line?

13. Are you using this quiet period to work on any longer term strategic programmes/plans for your IT services business?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 14.37.21

  Last week This week
Yes: 75% 66%
No, we have enough going on: 13% 24%
No, but we probably should be: 17% 10%

Since this question was introduced, the majority of MSPs have always said that they're using this time to work on other projects.

There's no losing answer here - either you're already busy enough or being proactive and finding new things to work on.

14. If yes, what kind of project are you undertaking?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 14.53.18

  Last week
This week
Optimising operational working processes: 52% 53%
Improving our ability to create new business leads: 26% 9%
Looking at options to diversify our products and services: 13% 16%
Evaluating new technology tools: 4% 9%
Other (please specify): 4% 13%

Optimising operational processes seems like the most attainable goal for most MSPs, so it's no surprise that has been the project of choice every week.

15. If no, what kind of project do you think would be most beneficial to undertake at the moment?

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 14.56.41

  Last week
This week
Optimising operational working processes: 35% 19%
Improving our ability to create new business leads: 35% 31%
Looking at options to diversify our products and services: 12% 23%
Evaluating new technology tools: 18% 23%
Other (please specify): 0% 4%

It's a fairly even split between each choice, which is not totally different to previous weeks. While improving the ability to create leads has always been popular, the MSPs that took part in this survey have a range of specialities and interests, allowing for an even spread here.

Thank you once again to everyone who participated in this survey. You've all helped make a difference to the community and we couldn't appreciate you more.

To keep up with our other endeavours, follow @zedsphere across social media or sign up for email alerts below.

Recommended resources:

THE TECH TRIBE: The MSP Owners Guide to Surviving & Thriving in Uncertain Times

RICHARD TUBB: The COVID-19 MSP Resource Page

FREE EBOOK: The No-Nonsense Guide to Sales and Marketing for IT Providers

MSP FRIENDLY VPN: Perimeter 81


Topics:MSP Growth AcademyIndustry Survey Results

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