Posts Tagged security

Why Do Businesses Select Your Company?

Have you ever sat down and asked what it is about your company that makes it worth doing businessHandshake_01 with?  Have you considered setting up one of those online surveys so that you can find out? It is not a bad idea to perform this task to see if you are still on-target in providing the type and quality of service needed by your clients to sustain your business.

There needs to be some type of standard; however, by which you can compare your business against just to make sure that you are where you need to be in terms of client offerings and services.

Here are some general guidelines that can provide a set of standards:

Consolidated Services Contact

Being able to do business with a consolidated services provider keeps complexity to a minimum when it comes to products, documentation and interoperability that is necessary for a successful business. Adding value to your client relationships by continuing to include additional services over time to your available deliverables maintains your perception of a true business partner, increasing loyalty and influencing referrals.

Single Supplier

Simplification is the goal of any business and a single supplier system makes great strides in taking out much of the complexities of multiple vendors and the relationships that accompany them. As the trusted technology business advisor, it is your role to manage all technical relationships and locate and marshall all of the resources required to address your clients' needs.

Comprehensive SLAs

Imagine a Service Level Agreement that encompasses practically the entire client environment.  This one alone is worth the price of your MSP offerings.

Contracted Pricing

Knowing that a level billing and pricing structure is in place helps your clients better manage their budgets regarding their IT infrastructure.

Extensive Reporting

With active reporting models, keeping on top of problem areas is not a challenge.  Being managed proactively becomes a reality in some of your client organizations that might never have achieved that goal in the past.

Lowered TCO

Total Cost of Ownership is constantly in the cross-hairs of of bean counters.  With an MSP agreement in place, costs are lowered over time and this is welcomed by accounting departments.

24x7x365 Network and Service Monitoring

The peace of mind that accompanies a fully monitored environment is invaluable for any business.  Because the demands on today's organizations are increasingly global, monitored services should be ‘globalized’ as well.

How are you doing in the areas above?  What are your clients saying about your services?  Do you feel like you are out front and leading your clients or do you think that they are pulling you along?  Are you the change agent or are they?  An annual check-up in this area would be a good way to make sure that you are doing and providing the things necessary to keep your clients satisfied and asking for more.

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Erick Simpson 
MSP University
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Managed Services

Posted in: General Business, Secrets to improving an I.T. Services Practice

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The Cloud Needs a Manager or Two

Cloud By using cloud computing and virtualization technologies, corporate enterprises have gained advantages that they have never before realized:  consolidated computing environments, reduced hardware and software management, and cost containment. As a result of continually decreasing costs and increased benefit, these solutions are now becoming widely utilized in Mid and Small business markets as well.

But for MSPs, new challenges have arisen by throwing multiple deliverables together into a constantly growing value-added smorgasbord for their clients.  That is why you need to have a good management system in place to streamline your service delivery processes and increase your efficiencies.  Here is what to look for in management systems:

Total Integration

For maximum efficiency you need a solution for managing networks, systems, services and applications as well.  But that is just the beginning.  To best serve your clients, your solution requires other management capabilities as well, such as CRM functionality, robust reporting, invoicing, asset management, integration with your accounting system, inventory control and more.

Cross Computing Environments

The ability to use these solutions in cross-platform environments is a key component made increasingly more necessary as market share is gained by operating systems other than Microsoft Windows - hence the need for not only Windows support, but Linux/Unix, Mac compatibility and more.

NOC and Service Desk Tools

The ability to auto-generate trouble-tickets based on alert conditions and remediate simple incidents through scripted responses makes maintenance and service much more proactive, efficient and effective. Popular RMM tools such as Kaseya and Level Platforms offer these capabilities, along with a host of other features to offload many of the labor-intensive chores of a NOC such as patching and updating devices, operating systems and applications. Maintaining a robust knowledgebase is a key to speeding identification and remediation of previously resolved issues, and this component is included in most PSA solutons on the market today, such as ConnectWise, Autotask and Tigerpaw.

The next question in this discussion:  do you allow your clients some level of management and customization in your toolset?  The answer to that will depend on the client and the reasons for providing some of that control. Again, most popular RMM and PSA solutions offer some level of access and rights management for additional users, so you may decide to share these benefits, or even market them to your clients when it makes sense. Does doing so invite the possibility for conflicts and configuration problems to occur?  Certainly, but the bigger issue is one of meeting client needs and flexibility.

With stringent guidelines in place and carefully monitored access, certain parts of your MSP tools can be client managed.  This will allow a client to feel less like a customer and more like a partner – especially if you service the Mid and Enterprise markets, where the potential for your supporting an internal IT resource or team is more likely, and sharing your toolset can build a stronger relationship. On the other hand, this can also uncover inadequacies in the internal IT resource or team, so tread lightly here, and work to help these resources improve their efficiencies and effectiveness, garnering their trust and support. This way you are perceived as the Trusted Advisor from both the decision maker and their IT resource(s). And isn’t that what you want?

With the above systems fully implemented, you will be able to provide effective management for your clients' environments as well as for your own internal operations.  

Resource management in a cloud computing environment is challenging to say the least. RMM and PSA solutions are being revved to support these solutions.  That is why it is important for you to select and configure your solutions now, as the more your client base grows and your solutions diversify, the more you will need these systems.  And once they have been implemented, you will be better able to meet the needs of your clients, and keep your own cost structure under control as well.

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Erick Simpson 
MSP University
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Managed Services

Posted in: General Business, Secrets to improving an I.T. Services Practice, Service Delivery

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