What defines a successful MSP?
Dial a Nerd started adopting typical MSP (Managed Solutions Provider) systems, software, processes and practices in 2013 that aligned well with existing business strategies.
The main aim was to provide additional value to our customers while reducing costs through increased efficiency, but the hope was that it would provide a new source of re-occurring income and solutions to allow us to acquire more business. It has delivered as not only have we found increased efficacy in our business due to the software we deploy we were able to start billing customers for purely monitoring and management solutions instead of labour and time.
Managing all the IT services for our clients; every staff member, every device, every update, all the time including uptime from their internet provider and access to their cloud platforms. Then, providing reports detailing the efficacy of the solutions in place and giving executives, business owners or board members much-needed confidence on a return on their investment into IT. Once you have the right systems in place, a successful MSP should be billing set fee’s to keep businesses IT stable, functional and efficient in its delivery of the business solutions required of it.
What is the definition of Managed Services?
Monitoring, management and a monthly billing model that is flexible for the client. The structure of the support solutions behind an MSP mirror that of the “pay per use” model that so many technology businesses are adopting for good reason. If a customer adds a user, they pay a fee for that person to be added & a new server, the same. As new business opportunities occur for our customers, we are able to deploy new monitored and managed solutions to allow them to chase and deliver on those opportunities. Really all we are talking about here is control and the more we have, the better the operation of the solution.
What are the core ingredients and considerations that are necessary to start up and build a successful MSP?
CRM & Ticketing
Who are your customers, what systems do they run and do you track every single problem they have and the solution you provide. Once you know all of this and query this data, its amazing the efficiencies you can drive in their business.
Monitoring & Management
The software should monitor software and once you deploy solutions that are plugged into all devices in a network, you can catch failures as they occur and identify a technician to resolve them before they snowball into a disaster of lost data or downtime for a client.
Network Operations Centre: a team dedicated to managing the tools needed to monitor and manage client’s environments.
Policy & Process
Create it & evangelize it & stick to it in your business. If the business process is not built around the systems and software you employ, then you cannot deliver the efficacy and solutions that you promise.
The best you can find and afford…
Increase efficiency as software can handle more data and alerts and resolutions than people can. The staff you have can be better utilized in solving real problems by prioritizing them. In addition to this, preventative maintenance is a significantly important part of IT support that has been ignored for too long due to the requirement of a human being and the corresponding labour cost to the client. A lot of this is now automated and managed.
Building a business that can properly scale. Traditionally larger clients require more staff, this is no longer the case when intelligent systems and software are deployed as less staff can now control more devices to the prioritization of their time and the automation of many functions.
A more simplistic and understandable billing model that a business can understand and build into budgets. Not necessarily cheaper, but better on cash flow by avoiding disasters more effectively and allowing a business to operate on a “pay per use” operational expenditure model rather than a capital expenditure model.
What has it done for OUR business?
- Customer retention
Customers are getting more value
- Increased efficiency
Technician to client ratio
- Network Operation Center
Monitoring and reporting focus
- Sales engagements
Demoing live environments to potential customers
Where are the opportunities for MSPs?
The more we structure of business into that of a managed services provider the more we are able to automate billing, monitoring and even support.
It benefits our industry if the best performing IT support companies are supplying similar services at market-related prices. A healthy industry is one with established norms, methods and self-governing processes and policies.
Let’s not ignore the risks however as the benefits of an MSP business can just as easily be the dangers; cheaper software will become available and systems will be adopted that not effective management or ticketing tools, ineffectual monitoring with lower pricing adopted by both provider and client alike and we’ll cause more harm than help & tarnish the idea of a more technologically advanced form of support for our customers…