No matter what the size, structure or specialties of your MSP business, you should always be evaluating the solutions you use to ensure they’re helping you achieve success. Your RMM solution is a key technology that you build your business around and can directly impact your profitability. Consider your growth goals for the year ahead and ask yourself, “Am I using the right RMM solution for my business?"
Here are some things to consider when looking for the best RMM software in 2017.
Focus on Business Goals, Not Features and Functionality
When evaluating RMM solutions, most MSPs ask “can it do this?” or “does it have this feature?”. Instead, you should be asking “can this help me grow?” or “how does this support my business goals?”.
Most RMM vendors these days have many of the same features and integrations. Simply looking at features and functionality will not help you understand which solution is best for you. You need to think about how you and your team will use the platform. Time is your most expensive asset, so if the platform ends up costing you time, rather than saving you time, you’re significantly reducing your profit margins.
You should also think about how the platform will scale as you grow. As you add more clients and monitor more endpoints, consider how easy it is to start monitoring new devices and if you need additional staff to manage those endpoints.
Choosing the best RMM solution for your business is not a decision you should take lightly, so obviously, you want to make sure it has the right features and functionality. But, simply looking at features as line items will not set you up for success in the future.
Take patch management, for example. Most MSPs want to automate patch management with their RMM solution, which makes a lot of sense. But managing patches usually takes a lot more than just automation. Patch installations can often fail or conflict with other line-of-business applications on a machine. And with Microsoft’s new rollup process for patching, you have significantly less control over what patches will be installed or uninstalled. Therefore, you shouldn’t just look for “patch management”. Instead, evaluate how each vendor’s patching system will help you minimize the time it takes to test and manage patches for your clients. At Continuum, we understand that patching can be a process, which is we try to absorb this burden for our partners. Our Network Operations Center (NOC) acts as an extension of your team – working in the background to test patches to verify they are okay for installation.
Efficiency of the Alerting Engine
Just like your car’s performance relies on the quality of its engine, the performance of your RMM solution (and your business) relies on the quality of its engine. Before you choose an RMM platform, make sure you understand what’s “under the hood”.
The point of RMM is to notify you of critical issues before they arise. If the alerting engine is not smart, powerful and efficient, you’ll have a hard time proactively catching issues and your service quality is ultimately going to suffer.
RMM solutions monitor many different aspects of a machine, but that can oftentimes lead to a lot of noise that your team must manage. Typically, there are multiple factors and conditions at play when an issue arises. The problem is, many RMM solutions will send individual alerts for each server event, which puts the onus on your team to connect the dots and identify the real issues from the noise. Your team should be spending less time filtering through noise and more time fixing issues and managing client relationships. Therefore, you should look for a solution that will aggregate related alerts and only send you a ticket if action is needed. This is the foundation that our proprietary IntelliMon™ alerting system is built upon. Tickets are only created when issues actually require attention, reducing the amount of noise and unnecessary alerts your team has to manage.
It’s also important to consider how much time you’ll spend maintaining and updating the platform. Most RMM solutions require you to continuously build in and update alerting conditions. However, this hurts your team’s productivity and does nothing to generate more revenue for your business. You shouldn’t have to babysit your RMM solution, so make sure it is easy to maintain and will stay up to date for you.
Look for a Partner, Not Just an RMM Vendor
Lastly, it’s important to look beyond the RMM technology and understand what kind of partner the vendor will be to your business. You shouldn’t just look for access to the best RMM technology, you should understand what their entire partner ecosystem looks like.
One key aspect to a partner ecosystem is access to training, resources and business support. At Continuum, we’re committed to the success of our partners. Therefore, we offer additional resources such as:
- Partner enablement materials
- In-person training and events
- Online resources
- Sales and marketing best practices
- Account management team structure
- Responsiveness of support team
Another criterion to evaluate is whether the vendor is friendly towards and focused on MSPs and channel companies. If they sell directly to end users, not only are their goals not fully aligned with yours, but they could be stealing clients from you as well!
You should also look at what sorts of integrations they have available because you want to have the flexibility to work with other solutions that you’ve built your business around. Additionally, you should evaluate what other products and services they offer that can help you grow and optimize your business further.
Ultimately, you’re not just choosing the best RMM solution for your business, you’re choosing the best partner for your business – so make sure they are a partner in all meanings of the word.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right RMM solution is an important decision for your business, so make sure to use business criteria when evaluating your options. Don’t pick a solution because you want to monitor desktops, servers and other devices; pick a solution because you want to scale your business profitably. Focus on your business goals, look closely at the alerting engine and make sure you’re choosing a business partner, not just a vendor.
By Carlos Borges
By Ray Vrabel