The Evolution Of Managed Services


The Evolution of Managed Services:
What's Next For Providers?

Inventors always get the credit for revolutionary advances in technology, but early solutions didn’t manage themselves! From the first generation of tech support to the hundreds of thousands of agents that make up today’s Managed Service Provider (MSP) industry, the technology growth engine is and has always been powered by IT professionals working tirelessly behind the scenes. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, appreciate how far technology has come, and explore what’s in store for IT pros in the future.




Telephony Technology
Enters the Scene

  • Antonio Meucci invented the first
    voice communication system.



Switchboard Operators and
Technicians Take Command of 
Telephone Systems

  • Emma Nutt became the first female trained to
    operate switchboard technology.
  • The first telephone “system” had the capacity
    to serve 99 telephones 1.



Technicians Install the First Continuous Telephone Line

  • Technicians worked through blizzards, lightning storms, and dangerous terrain,
    to install over 3,500 miles of line in just one year.
  • 233 U.S. women formed the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit,
    aka “Hello Girls” to maintain systems overseas during WWI (ASU).



The 1a2 Key Telephone System
Becomes the First “Business” Telephone

  • This technology eventually evolved into Private Branch
    Exchange (PBX) systems.
  • Customer service became a recognized “department”.



The First Commercial Computer
Attracts Public Attention

  • Presper Eckert and John Mauchly installed the first
    commercial computer for use at the Census Bureau.
  • The colossal hardware weighed 29,000 pounds2.



The Neotechnic Era Marks the
Beginning of “Call Centers”

  • AT&T introduced the toll-free 1-800 number to
    connect customers with businesses without
    needing an operator.
  • Basic mainframe software brought
    computers to customer service.
  • Advances in technology created a
    new generation of tech support.



Bill Gates Faces Off
With Steve Jobs

  • Bill Gates and Paul Allen joined forces to
    write the first iteration of Microsoft.
  • Simultaneously, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
    prototyped the first generation of Apple.



Digital Innovation
Revolutionizes Our Way of Life

  • The Internet became mainstream technology.
  • Remote IT infrastructures gave rise to the
    Application Service Provider (ASP) industry.
  • The ASP industry evolved into the Managed
    Service Provider (MSP) industry to support the
    rapidly expanding tech engine.

the Millenium

  • James “Dr. Java” Gosling introduced
    Java programming language.
  • Email and online chat went viral.
  • Automation fully intertwined with business process management,
    reviving interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.



Help Desk Solutions Take Service Management Into the 21st Century

  • The first modern helpdesk systems integrated incident management with direct customer assistance.
  • The wide adoption of mobile phones, email, and instant messaging altered customer service expectations.
  • Helpdesk technology evolved to provide more user-oriented services and service management capabilities.



MSP Technology Shifts
Focus From “Service
Driven” to “User Driven”

  • Service catalog management and
    self-service capabilities became more
  • Cloud-hosted software gave way to
    a bevy of new service industries.



Cloud Software Turns Computer
Infrastructure Into A “Utility”

    • In-house computer infrastructures were
      replaced by outsourced service providers.
    • The managed service provider industry
      expanded into:

- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

- Platform as a Service (PaaS)

- Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • The number of active smartphone users went
    from 50 million to more than 275 million.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered
    the first modern chatbots.
  • Apple introduced Siri to the world.



The Intelligent Service
Management Era Arrives

  • AI & machine learning is expected to turn helpdesk automation into an $11 Billion market by 20233.
  • Natural language processing chatbots will standardize conversational interfacing.
  • Automation as a Service (AaaS) industry will see rapid growth.
  • The helpdesk agent’s role will get easier and harder at the same time.

AI-powered helpdesk solutions will advance over the next decade, allowing machines to take over a greater share of human-to-human conversations. Contrary to Sci-Fi theory, this does not mean that machines will replace humans. Advances in AI will reduce call volumes, but what AI can’t solve, agents will, and that means longer calls, higher time-to-resolution rates, and albeit difficult, a more rewarding career.

Stay on the cutting edge of helpdesk technology with SherpaDesk's PSA software, the definitive helpdesk solution for all your support, project management, and billing needs.

SOURCES [1] Angelo State University [2] Computer History Museum [3] Globe Newswire

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Jessy Smulski
By Jessy Smulski

Jessy turns tech talk into thought-provoking stories for readers and leaders across the country.