When the discussion of verticals comes up in the IT channel, the conversation usually switches to the healthcare industry, legal, financial—in other words, the established verticals, and the opportunities there. However, in many regions the markets for these verticals amount to a zero-sum game; there are a limited number of clients within said vertical in a region, and to add new clients, another must lose them.
This sort of stiff competition can make it challenging for new MSPs to enter a vertically aligned market, but that’s not to say there aren’t other opportunities to specialize in a vertical. Numerous verticals exist for MSPs to tap into, and new ones are being born all the time as advancements in technology and communications enter new sectors.
The construction industry is one such sector where managed IT services are emerging as a clear necessity for maintaining normal business operations, and as such has become a new vertical MSPs are able to specialize in.
Construction Vertical: The Market Opportunity
At first glance, the construction industry many not seem like one that requires managed IT services, but of course, today’s general contractors do much more than pour concrete and frame walls. Modern construction companies have fully embraced technology integrations and communications to connect their workforce, streamline their operations and optimize their supply chain management.
Because of this, construction companies are now faced with an increasingly sophisticated IT management need to keep their systems online, their data backed up, and their IT environments secure—solutions an MSP will be able to solve for.
Construction companies tend to be on the larger side, with numerous employees, multiple locations (that often change), and multiple devices per employee. It goes without saying that remote monitoring and management is a must to provide visibility into network issues and to provide continuous uptime.
Additionally, a NOC-integrated RMM solution would be a plus, as NOC technicians will be able to handle multiple issues at once, alleviating major staffing burdens for an MSP in this vertical. On the client side, Help Desk options are a major customer-service value-add, empowering the client to resolve minor issues with a phone call or chat.
Naturally, the construction industry has its share of contracts, client information, confidential project data, and more—all of which needs to be secure at all times. Integrated threat monitoring and endpoint protection will be able to protect against external hackers and internal bad actors, allowing them to build their business (as well as their buildings) as trusted, reliable contractors.
Of course, construction is not immune to data-loss events, disasters or accidents that can bring their IT environments down—and downtime can bring multiple, extremely expensive projects to a grinding halt. A construction site that experiences IT downtime can put hundreds of employees on hold, delay deadlines, and cause expenses to skyrocket. Backup and disaster recovery is the line of defense when sites go down, and being able to restore a contractor’s IT environment in hours (or even minutes) is crucial for construction-specific business continuity.
Lastly, mobile device management is a must for a business that is largely on-the go, with remote operations spread across miles and miles. MSPs in this vertical would want to offer this service to keep mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and IoT devices monitored, managed and secure.
While the construction vertical isn’t as regulated as the healthcare or financial vertical, perhaps, it does have to keep detailed records and maintain compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, as it is considered a high-hazard industry. Compliance will vary from field to field across the construction industry, and IT service providers will want to be mindful of the data storage policies for OSHA record-keeping and other regulations that must be adhered to.
The managed IT services opportunity for the construction industry is still relatively new, and as this vertical emerges as a lucrative growth strategy for MSPs, there’s no telling how many new and successful strategies for employing SaaS-based solutions will be devised for better IT management and greater growth. And, while there are still wide-open opportunities in this vertical, the sky’s the limit for the new business you can add and support.
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