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Empowering Your MSP Business to Grow and Prosper—One Post at a Time

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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Growth Opportunities with Microsoft and Office 365

Posted September 13, 2017by Ian Waters

Growth Opportunities with Microsoft and Office 365

The managed IT services space has gone through major changes over the last few years. The software we now support and the products we sell have been updated and improved drastically. What’s more, the shift to the cloud with Office 365 has meant that we all had to learn new skills and do some adapting of our own—with both our solutions and our way of thinking.

Luckily, many of us in the IT world are problem solvers and solution providers. New technologies provide new ways to solve old problems, and we embrace it! There are many growth opportunities available for MSPs today, so let’s take a deeper look into a few that can help you bring in extra revenue this year.

What Products Are Businesses Using?

Office 365

Office 365 is the new standard solution for hosting email, file storage and as a way of purchasing desktop software. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are already utilizing this platform, and as a cloud solution provider you can add new monthly recurring revenue to your business by working with this solution.

Office 365 is no longer just email and file storage. There are so many great apps that businesses need to know about. From shift scheduling tools to customer bookings pages, the various features and functionalities of Office 365 can do wonders for your business, as well as your clients’.

SharePoint

SharePoint is included in Office 365 Business Premium and Business Essential subscriptions, but it’s usually only used as a file storage solution. Complex platforms such as SharePoint are fantastic but require an expert to get the most out of them. Far too many businesses are underutilizing these great solutions. However, you can learn how to use them to solve specific industry problems and package them into your own solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Much like SharePoint, this platform is underutilized or considered too enterprise by many. Some may not even know what problems it can solve for business of all sizes. Microsoft Dynamics is another great product you can leverage to build industry-specific solutions for common problems.

Azure

One of the largest developments in the last few years is Azure, and it’s so obvious that it’s almost insulting to mention it. If you’re not making use of Azure services now, then don’t fall behind any longer! Azure is a large beast, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the services that are offered. Just remember that you can start small, and then work to build out specific solutions to problems you see out in the market place.

What Services to SMBs Need and Where Can MSPs Fill in the Blanks?

Migrations from Other Platforms

Moving from one platform to another can be tricky due to the differences in how email and other features are managed. For businesses who realize that Office 365 offers them so much more, they’ll eventually need help with that migration process. Therefore, you should specialize in migrating from other platforms and position yourself as the expert.

Spam Management and Email Continuity

Managing spam can be a headache for most businesses, which is why it will be seen as such a value to manage this for them! The built-in solutions for Exchange Online may not meet all your clients’ needs, but by leveraging a third-party spam management system, you can better protect users by filtering out unwanted email before it even reaches their core systems. The plus side is that many spam management solutions also incorporate email continuity, which allows users to access emails even if Exchange Online is down.

Training

Providing training services in your local area is a great way to enforce your reputation as an authority for Microsoft products. Additionally, getting several people from local businesses to sign up or attend is a great way to generate new leads and grow your prospect database.

A Reliable BDR Solution

The cloud is great and all, but why do people think that they don’t need backup? Sure, the services they use might not rely on hardware, but it’s still vulnerable to user error or malicious cyber attacks. In this day and age, disasters are imminent, which is why MSPs need to arm clients with a true business continuity solution. A backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution goes beyond simple backup by swiftly allowing businesses to resume operations and regain access to any lost or infected files.

A solution such as Continuity247 offers a unique combination of state-of-the-art technology backed by the power of Continuum’s Network Operations Center (NOC)—extending your workforce, and allowing you to provide rock-solid and reliable backups. Data backed up using Continuity247 is stored on a local appliance and can be replicated offsite to the cloud, so your clients can enjoy true peace of mind knowing that business continuity will be maintained in the event of user error, malware or a disaster scenario.

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Ian is a Senior Partner at MSP Southern IT Networks and works as the Technical Director. Ian has been working in IT for over 14 years since finishing his Degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. He is also an Office 365 expert and author of the book Microsoft Office 365 – Exchange Online Implementation and Migration - Second Edition. Follow him on his personal blog here!

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