Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are continuously competing and trying to improve their products and appeal as new technology and cyber attacks threaten their position.
Generally MSPs are the most happy when they are growing, increasing their offerings and run smoothly and efficiently, because a continuous flow of business and happy customers equal happy MSPs. However, creating this happy environment relies on the MSPs agility.
Unfortunately creating a bespoke solution for each new customer has become a strategy that is costing MSPs dearly, as it is time consuming, takes many technicians, costs the MSP financially, and not having the correct resources on hand can cause additional issues.
This is the reason why many MSPs are moving to Cloud infrastructure for greater agility and efficiency. But is the Cloud the answer?
For one thing, Cloud software allows MSPs to operate on minimum staff. MSPs are also able to use existing infrastructure instead of issuing new devices to all its clients. However, for optimum efficiency, a MSP would need a cloud platform that can orchestrate over many hypervisors and make sure any services can be managed centrally. It will be easier to react to your customers needs if you are able to see servers, storage, firewalls, etc in one space.
With well trained personnel and with some advice from the Cloud vendor, Cloud management should be an efficient process that takes a few hours. Create permission-based user roles and user groups for the clients and you will be able to minimise the need for IT assistance from the MSP, which cuts costs. Additionally, having a central template for customer profiles makes provisioning easier for IT administrators.
Cloud solutions can include calculating resources for billing by customers that will cut down on manual work, and improve margins.
Assigning specific resources and billing specific customers also becomes much easier and requires less manpower as it would be a software-based provisioning activity. MSPs are also able to copy one customers plan and implement it for another customer with a few specific tweaks.
In summary, the Cloud increases a MSPs efficient use of resources, time to revenue, resource planning for future needs, and increases revenue, as it streamlines and improves service agility, and enables new services.
Although the Cloud and creating the above designed infrastructure does seem to solve all of an MSPs problems and is a sure way to success, MSPs still need to appeal to customers for their business. To appeal to customers MSPs must be able to tick all the customer’s boxes, some of which include 24 hour support, remote and onsite support, 24hr/ 7 days a week/ 365 days a year remote monitoring, hardware and software reporting metrics, and a Virtual CIO.
Additional ways in which a MSP can change their approach to business for increased profits is by evaluating their approach to deal flow to ensure a continuous stream of business and not stressful highs and lows.
When an MSP’s collections are set up has a big impact on cash flow. Set up collections when gaining a new client and offer a cash discount for clients who are paying electronic debit orders on the established price. Clients are more likely to choose this option and you will not have to work as much in the long run for your collections. This strategy will also reduce friction with your clients as you will not have to make so many calls asking for your money, as the price and payments will have already been established.
An inability to scale your business can also lead to issues. Make sure the right number of professionals are there to make your business work at the right time.
It is important to focus on the business itself to stay competitive in the market and satisfy customers but an MSP must not forget to focus on what is in the business and how to make it work as efficiently as possible.