Although some IT managed service providers have enjoyed dramatic growth in recent years, others have barely managed to survive. What’s the difference between successful and unsuccessful managed service providers? The answer is scalability.
The difference between longevity and going under comes down to success among four distinct elements: people, processes, services and products. If you get all these things right, you can become a successful, scalable MSP.
Your employees are on the front line for interactions with potential and current customers, vendors and partners. This means that your staff is a critical determinant to your success and growth. When finding and retaining exceptional employees, look for a few stand-out qualities:
- Knowledgeable and experienced people who believe in your business model
- Professionals who are capable of fixing a wide range of issues
- Experienced staff ready to develop appropriate strategies for improving efficiency, uptime and overall productivity
- Salespeople who are able not only to sell your products and services, but also to understand your customers’ technical environments
To retain your employees, don’t forget to reward the right behavior and offer a generous work-life balance.
The top MSPs have one thing in common: sound processes. These can be achieved by improving and consolidating specific business operations. Executing tasks flawlessly can help you in a few different ways.
- Promote Your Business: Developing and delivering quality services and products to your customers is the best thing you can do to advertise your business.
- Optimize Internal Performance: Sound processes allow your staff to work more efficiently.
- Maximize Profit Margins: By making sure that everything works perfectly, you can cut down your operational costs, which in turn has a positive impact on your bottom line.
When managed service providers talk about services, they refer to a service catalog. A service catalog that presents your services as accurately as possible plays a fundamental role in customer engagement and setting expectations, both of which are important elements in revenue retention.
Your service catalog can be used by:
- Your marketing team to promote your services as they’re described
- Your sales team to prove your operational maturity
- Your support team to explain customers how specific solutions are managed
Getting the right processes and services in place is almost impossible without also offering the right products. To choose the best IT solutions for your business, you should look at a number of variables.
- Infrastructure Efficiency: When evaluating IT products from the standpoint of operational efficiency, take into account proactive monitoring, which allows you to identify and avoid potential performance issues; buy-versus-build products (building from scratch can be completely inefficient); and automation and standardization, which can help you better adhere to specific processes and improve your overall productivity and efficiency.
- Monitoring Tool Requirements: Monitoring tools should include support for heterogeneous environments, which deliver networks incorporating different operating systems, applications and databases; emerging technologies, which deliver dynamic environments; open integration, which leverages centralized monitoring; and scalability, the characteristic that makes certain tools appropriate for growing business structures.
Setting the Stage
Scaling your business is an essential component of profitable growth. By following these four tips, you can improve your services, expand your offerings, boost your profit margins and become a reputable managed service provider before the competition can catch up.
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Paula Griffin