A decade ago, managed service provider (MSP) solutions were something that only organizations with the most in talent spend were thinking about. When you have thousands of contingent workers scattered around the globe, it makes sense to get extra support in engaging and managing your temporary workforce. Today, things are changing, fast. The digitization and increased availability of MSPs means that more businesses can access outside talent expertise. An MSP is no longer a rigid tool for engaging contingent talent on a huge scale. It’s become a flexible solution that supports all areas of contingent workforce management for nearly every type of business.
The Growth and Growth (and Growth) of MSP
MSP is a big market and it’s continuing to expand. The recent SIA MSP Global Landscape and Differentiators 2020 report found that MSP programs generated $151 billion in spend under management in 2019, with 54% of new clients adopting MSP services for the first time. Whether you’re a global giant or a thriving specialty organization, the need to access flexible talent fast is crucial, perhaps now more than ever.
The report also found that 39% of individual programs managed spend of less than $1 million, showing that MSPs are being adopted at every spend level. More players are coming to market to meet this growing need and provide the core benefits of MSP — cost reduction, visibility, control, and compliance — without the complexity or cost of a highly customized program.
An Evolution in Technology (and Attitude)
Digitization has been key to the expansion of MSP offerings. Agile technology that allows for a plug-and-play approach without months of complex customization is opening the door to a slicker and faster generation of turnkey MSP products. But having the right tech stack isn’t the whole answer. In fact, the technologies to power a more flexible MSP have been around for quite a while. It’s the blending of changing attitudes and technology that has sparked a real shift in the types of products coming to market.
MSP buyers are also increasingly knowledgeable at all levels of spend and this is pushing providers to think more creatively about the services they offer. Buyers are searching for talent programs that provide high-tech solutions but also high-touch experiences for their people and talent communities. Modern MSP solutions must skillfully combine the latest technology with deep talent expertise and a constant, people-first focus.
What’s Next for MSP
2020 has accelerated a desire to do things differently. Demand for flexible talent has exploded and many leaders have turned to the contingent community and gig economy to provide the right skills at the right time.
This means having the right partner to access this critical category of talent is becoming more and more important. MSPs are a significant part of this picture, but they can’t serve customer needs by standing still. Programs with a 12-month lead time and countless customizations won’t cut it for many nimble businesses. They need speed, they need agility, and they need an MSP that’s ready to go yesterday.
MSP is evolving, perhaps more rapidly now than ever before. I believe we, as an industry, have a responsibility to look beyond the expected and the ordinary to create solutions that make sense for the ways companies engage with external workers today and in the future.