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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)

Featured Post

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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When Talent Meets Tools: How to Enable Your Technical Team for Success

Posted December 7, 2017by Ian Waters

When Talent Meets Tools: How to Enable Your Technical Team for Success

In order to deliver world-class IT services to your clients, your technical team needs to be set up for success. Having a great team dedicated to delivering high-quality support is essential, but not having the right tools in place to manage service requests and quickly resolve issues is going to hold your team back.

Over the years, I’ve worked with and spoken to many managed service providers (MSPs), and I’ve found that the ones who are thriving are all using well established tools to do things smarter, quicker and achieve a higher standard than those who don’t. Would you like to be among these successful MSPs? Keep reading to discover which tools you can leverage to make your tech team more efficient and your business more profitable.

Types of Tools

So, what types of tools are out there to help you enable your team for success?

Number one—in my opinion—are your training tools, and having a structured training program in place along with easy access to the resources is essential. Even great talent needs nurturing, while those who are less so need access to training resources to grow their experience and knowledge. Having professional tools in place will enable your team to operate efficiently and solve issues quickly. All MSPs need great training tools, fully featured RMM, PSA, documentation and password tools—and this is what you should look for:

Training Resources

Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM)

  • Automated hardware and software monitoring
  • Central administration and reporting
  • Easily manage thousands of endpoints
  • Perform automated, after-hours maintenance and issue resolution
  • Automatically deploy software, such as endpoint protection
  • Escalate tickets and offload routine project work to a Network Operations Center (NOC)

Professional Services Automation (PSA)

  • Easy management of client service requests
  • Project and resource management
  • Usage and time tracking
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) 

Documentation

  • Searchable document store
  • Availability of “how to” guides
  • Workstation and Server build sheets
  • Process guides

Password Management

  • Secure storage for client passwords
  • Easy and fast access
  • Automatically log into services
  • Quickly and easily generate random and secure passwords 

Where possible, steer towards tools with tight integration with each other. If your RMM solution integrates with PSA, which integrates with your password management and documentation, then your techs are going to save much more time in their working week.

Benefits of Tech-Enablement Tools

Having the right tools for the job allows for greater efficiency, meaning that your techs can do tasks quicker and with the least amount of effort possible. The right tools also increase productivity, which results in more tasks being completed with fewer errors.

As you grow your MSP business, being able to scale is extremely important and I’ve seen this through the growth of our own MSP. Having a standard set of tools has allowed us to develop guides and processes that everyone can follow when they are not sure how to take action when something needs doing.

Project management has also benefited because we have a tool which allows us to set out the process for our most common projects. Office 365 migrations, large workstation and server rollouts are made easier by following the process and using our RMM, documentation and PSA tools, and having everything tightly integrated helps tremendously.
 

Potential Challenges to Keep in Mind

The more tools you start using, the more difficult it becomes to keep up with updates and training. Some techs may even want to reject adopting new tools because they can’t see the benefits and only focus on the fact they have a new tool to learn. To successfully adopt a new tool into your business, you need to get everyone’s buy in—buy in is the key.

Training is also extremely important; my advice is never to just announce you are going to use a new tool to do a job. Develop the buy in and follow up with a training program. If you are about to change your RMM tool to enable your business to scale and give your techs more resources to solve clients’ problems, then let them know.

Costs can be a big challenge to leveraging professional tools. However, remember that all successful MSPs are using these tools because they get more done, quicker, to a higher standard and often without having to employ more staff preferring to get more done with less! Find the areas in your business that need to be streamlined and start there first.

Summary

Every successful MSP has a core set of tools that tightly integrate with each other. Making the lives of your engineers and technicians easier and allowing them to get more work done for your clients can only be a good thing. In the end, you’ll see a more empowered workforce and more profits generated for your business.

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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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