As managed services providers (MSPs) enter 2023, many are looking for new tools and technologies to help them up-level their businesses in the new year. One technology with a growing promise to elevate an MSP’s business across several areas is automation.

Automation broadly describes the use of technology to replace human intervention. It does this by leveraging previously set up criteria, relationships, and actions used to execute automated actions when the pre-determined need arises. For MSPs, this can have some applications across the business, from deploying and managing devices to implementing cybersecurity patches and updating software across customer environments. It can also help with administrative tasks for an MSP, such as automating ticketing documentation to smooth technician workflows or reporting.

Automating these types of tasks can free up a significant amount of time for MSP employees, particularly by eliminating routine tasks that can be time-consuming and repetitive. According to one survey, engineers can spend as much as 39 percent of their time on manual tasks, with 85 percent saying those tasks prevented them from getting to more strategic projects for clients. With the help of automation, an MSP can free up its team to focus on more strategic and impactful projects versus simple routine tasks and, as a result, increase the value it provides to clients without needing to hire additional members of its team.

Leveraging automation in these ways is especially important as MSPs globally need more technology and IT talent. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of information technology professionals reported that IT skills shortages have negatively impacted their organizations. For an MSP, having a talent shortage can mean technicians are stretched to support more clients than possible, risking employee burnout, or important tasks can be missed simply due to lack of time. Automation can help solve this challenge by allowing an MSP to increase the efficiency of the talent they have on the team by offloading routine, time-consuming tasks to technology.

One concern commonly raised for automation is that it will “replace” employees or the valuable work they do for customers. However, according to one survey, even as automation continues to grow, only 14 percent of individuals surveyed reported their job being taken over by a robot — a small fraction of overall roles across many industries. The reality is that automation can replace low-level, repetitive tasks. Still, it cannot replace the strategic value-add and problem-solving that MSP employees bring to the table to clients.

As MSPs look to the future, automation can be a beneficial tool to accelerate their business and enable them to focus on being true trusted advisors to customers. By freeing technicians up from routine, reparative tasks, an MSP can double down on the value it provides for customers today and far into the future.