COVID-19 Industry Response Survey: Week Five Results

by Rick Yates, on April 29, 2020

Thank you to everyone who took part in the fifth week of our COVID-19 response survey. We appreciate your continued participation and are hopeful that these results are having a meaningful impact on how you're working during this time.







Here are the results for the week commencing 20/04/2020:

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

MSP busy graph

  Last week
This week
A lot busier than last week: 6% 12%
Slightly busier than last week: 9% 18%
About as busy as last week: 29% 30%
Slightly quieter than last week: 32% 25%
A lot quieter than last week: 24% 15%

Business is picking up! With the 'busy' categories seeing an increase this week ('a lot' up 6% and 'slightly' up 9%) as well as last week, could we have been through the worst of it?

We have to cling on to small victories during this time, and this is definitely one of them.

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

customer cancellations

  Last week This week
Yes: 35% 28%
No: 65% 72%

Great news! The industry seems to be stabilising, with many clients now having locked in what services they do and don't need. Hopefully this number will drop again next week. 

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)

extra services requests

  Last week This week
Yes: 22% 21%
No: 78% 79%

In line with the previous question, many customers have settled down so extra requests are not as necessary.

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

word cloud

Once again, the majority of responses to this question mentioned remote working support. However, security services have now surged to the front.

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

customer requests this week

  Last week
This week
Setting up remote working: 18% 10%
Data security/backup/recovery: 3% 9%
Access to hardware: 2% 1%
Business as usual/service desk: 76% 76%
Other (please specify): 1% 4%

Business as usual reigns supreme, with only data security seeing significant growth.

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

technical services suggestions

  Last week
This week
Staff monitoring software - activity/key loggers: 31% 28%
More suitable remote connect/VPN facilities: 57% 53%
Moving data backups off physical sites and into cloud: 30% 22%
Recovering data on a live basis remotely: 9% 4%
Enhanced service desk packages: 22% 22%
Proactive guidance and recommendations on IT strategy: 65% 68%
Other (please specify): 9% 7%

Fairly similar results to last week. The broad range of data just shows how different this experience and approach has been from MSP to MSP.

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

furloughed staff

  Last week This week
Yes: 41% 35%
No: 59% 65%

After a steady increase over the past few weeks, this number has finally dropped!

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

furloughed staff expected

  Last week This week
Yes: 23% 10%
No: 63% 73%
Possibly, not sure yet: 14% 17%

A sharp fall in those who expect to put staff on furlough this week. No one wants to have to make that decision, but it seems like the majority of MSPs who have had to make that move acted early and their staff are now more stable.

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

coronavirus advice

  Last week
This week
Staff productivity during remote working: 37% 22%
Data security and compliance for remote environments: 14% 22%
Insight on how other IT Service Providers are faring during the crisis: 63% 46%
Ways to diversify your business to create new revenue streams: 54% 62%
Other (please specify): 2% 1%

The answers this week are fairly spread out. Again, security has made a surge, but apart from that there's no real change to note. Insight and diversification have been battling it out for the top spot over the last few weeks. Last week insight won and now diversification is back in front.

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

future of business

  Last week This week
No, I think we will grow as a result: 29% 34%
No, I think we will neither grow nor shrink: 16% 24%
Yes, this may have a negative effect on my business: 51% 41%
Yes, I am worried that the Coronavirus crisis will put us out of business: 4% 1%

Another great result! The concerned answers have fallen again and it looks like the industry is erring on the side of cautious optimism.

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

top concerns

  Last week
This week
That my customers will not be able to pay me: 63% 59%
That an overwhelming number of my staff will become sick and need to self isolate: 2% 1%
That I cannot keep up with demand: 2% 4%
That there is a shortage of incoming new business: 33% 34%
Other (please specify): 0% 2%

Nothing new this week - cash liquidity and new business come out on top again.

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?

challenges paying bills

  Last week This week
Yes, I have customers who have asked for extensions or not paid on time: 35% 24%
No, everyone is still paying as usual: 65% 76%

It's fantastic to see this number drop. Hopefully this is the start of a downward trend for customers not paying!

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

long term strategy

  Last week This week
Yes: 67% 72%
No, we have enough going on: 15% 15%
No, but we probably should be: 18% 13%

5% of the MSPs who said they should be working on other projects have now presumably started something new. It'll be interesting to see if this number continues to increase.

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

new projects

  Last week
This week
Optimising operational working processes: 29% 33%
Improving our ability to create new business leads: 16% 16%
Looking at options to diversify our products and services: 25% 33%
Evaluating new technology tools: 19% 13%
Other (please specify): 11% 5%

After a range of different answers last week, it seems MSPs have locked on to optimising operational processes and options for diversification as their projects of choice during this quiet period.

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

ideal projects

  Last week
This week
Optimising operational working processes: 21% 23%
Improving our ability to create new business leads: 24% 32%
Looking at options to diversify our products and services: 28% 26%
Evaluating new technology tools: 21% 13%
Other (please specify): 6% 6%

Compared to the last question, the majority of MSPs here see new lead generation as their best bet. The difference probably comes down to what seems like the most effective thing to do vs. what is the most effective thing they can do.

At any time lead generation is a good idea, but it's easier said than done. This is the most probable explanation for the difference in answers for these last questions.


Thank you once again to everyone who participated in week five of our MSP survey. Over the coming weeks, we hope that you will all continue to submit answers so that we can get a clear picture of how the industry is responding to this crisis in real-time. 

To be the first to hear when we release our next survey and the subsequent results, 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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