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.
Enters the Scene
- Antonio Meucci invented the ﬁrst
voice communication system.
Switchboard Operators and
Technicians Take Command of
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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SOURCES  Angelo State University  Computer History Museum  Globe Newswire