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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Examining the Top Challenges to Optimizing Your IT Operations

Posted June 23, 2017by Lily Teplow

Examining the Top Challenges to Optimizing Your IT Operations

By just about every measure, technology continues to shape the world around us. With the emergence of trends such as the digital workplace and the Internet of Things, today’s IT operations need to constantly keep up with the surrounding landscape. Businesses are now demanding to do and adopt more, obligating IT functions to go faster than the norm. Because of this, managed services providers (MSPs) and IT leaders are facing constant change and new challenges in their efforts to support their clients and continue to drive value.

As an MSP struggling with this, how can you increase the velocity or your IT operations, become more nimble and responsive to business needs and still balance business stability? Let’s break down some top challenges IT organizations face in achieving optimized operations and how you can overcome them.

Owning and operating an MSP business is quite the balancing act. You need to manage your day-to-day operations all while making time for innovation, adopting new technology, wrestling with the IT skills gap and the pressure to directly align IT operations with your clients’ business needs.

However, according to a Datalink-commissioned IDG Research survey, only nine percent of IT organizations have operations that are running optimally. With the remaining 91 percent needing so much room for improvement, the question that follows is, why?

1. Balancing Day-To-Day Operations with Innovation

62 percent of IT leaders agree that balancing day-to-day IT operations with innovation and business initiatives remains a challenge. Of course, the administrative tasks that keep your business running cannot be neglected. However, the more time you or your team spend on these tasks, the less time there is to dedicate to innovative efforts that deliver positive business outcomes.

So, what can you do? There’s no shame in seeking out a little help, especially if it will help make your MSP business more efficient. If you partner with an IT management platform such as Continuum, you’ll have access to a remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform that is fully integrated with a network operations center (NOC)—allowing you to increase efficiency and cut down on overlap. How? You and your team can offload much of your daily, mundane tasks to a team of highly-skilled NOC technicians. With functions like monitoring, ticketing and patch management taken care of, your team will be free to apply their skills more efficiently—and more profitably.

Additionally, if you find your day-to-day to still be too cumbersome, you may want to consider outsourcing. Let’s take a white-label help desk for instance. MSPs who leverage Continuum’s 24x7x365 IT Help Desk are able to focus on work with higher profitability during business hours and rely on our Help Desk to support client needs any hour of the day. In turn, this helps them develop more meaningful relationships with clients while also extending their own skillset.

2. Ensuring Internal IT Skillsets Match Needs

Speaking of skillsets, 53 percent of IT leaders are challenged with ensuring that internal skills match their IT operational management needs. In order to support the changing business need of your clients, the skills of your IT team must evolve as well. However, if your team doesn’t have the required IT skills or you’re on the search for someone who does, it can put a big burden on your business and the way it operates.

To reiterate, this is where an outsourced NOC can alleviate this pain point. Taking the time to build your own knowledge base is a project that many MSPs can’t afford. With a NOC, you’ll gain access to a wide knowledge base that allows issues to be resolved quickly and easily.

3. Managing Data Growth

Imagine all of the data that’s being created and used today. The volume of that data is only going to increase as businesses start to require more to operate effectively. Unfortunately, this begins to push the limits of the systems and people involved in managing it. In fact, 46 percent of IT leaders admit that managing data growth and related operations is a struggle today.

Staying on top of this explosion of data and understanding how your clients’ need will vary is tough, but there are solutions that can help. With a solution like Continuity247®, for example, you’re able to scale your storage up and down, month to month, to meet your clients’ data needs. Flexibility is a valuable resource in the data market, and a critical asset MSPs cannot afford to lose as competition increases. By choosing a flexible storage plan on Continuity247, you’ll be able to not keep your total cost of ownership lower, but also scale your businesses and successfully adapt to shifting market demands.

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Lily is a Content Marketing Manager at Continuum and is passionate about helping businesses solve their biggest challenges. She is responsible for managing Continuum’s MSPblog and writing on a variety of topics, from sales and marketing to cybersecurity, helping establish authority in the MSP market. Lily is also a seasoned content creator and has supported Continuum’s PR and media efforts. In her spare time, Lily enjoys singing, traveling the world, and cheering on her favorite Boston sports teams!

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