Having a customer call up and say they can’t access their emails, or back up any files is an MSP’s worst nightmare. Customers trust their managed service providers (MSPs) to keep the technology they depend on running smoothly 24×7.
MSPs have to be certain that everything they do is always perfectly aligned, says, Gregg Lalle, SVP International sales and strategy, ConnectWise. No easy task when your business is scaling, or you are introducing new technologies and services.
As MSPs expand, add tools, and adopt new software, staying one step ahead of potential customer issues becomes increasingly harder to document, manage and resolve. Administering this increasingly complex environment across multiple operational silos in the most efficient way possible is just the start. MSPs need to be certain they can manage risk, deliver value fast and deploy changes in a consistent and seamless way.
This is where solutions like unified IT management come into play.
A more robust, integrated, and organised approach
In addition to enabling high velocity service management across the organisation, introducing a streamlined and automated approach to IT management has the potential to generate a multitude of benefits for MSPs.
Alongside saving time, money, and manpower, adopting a unified IT management approach enables MSPs to consistently monitor endpoints, stay ahead of the game where incidents and outages are concerned, and boost their ability to maintain uptime for customers and keep them secure.
Delivering a centralised vision of the entire ITSM (IT service management) environment, unified IT management brings together every element of an MSP’s software stack monitoring, management backup, and access onto a single platform that makes it easier for technicians to serve customers.
Switching to unified management software requires an investment of time, money, and manpower to initiate. But in the long run means technicians will have the tools they need to personalise customer support, be more productive, and handle a myriad of complex tasks from one centralised dashboard.
Relieved from the stress of needing to dedicate significant effort and resources to keep everything running like clockwork, MSPs gain back time that can be used to build on their relationships with existing customers and organically grow the business further.
Top tips for investing in the right solution
Before investing in a unified management solution, MSPs need to assess the current needs of the business and evaluate how well the incumbent IT management system measures up to these demands. Areas to explore include identifying the frustrations that customers and other stakeholders are facing; this could include a lack of flexibility or integration with key software packages, or it could be a few close security calls that have raised concerns.
The more input that can be collected from stakeholders at this key scoping stage will make it much easier for team members to agree on what the right unified management solution will look like.
In terms of the features to look for when selecting from the wide array of solutions on the market today, automation should feature pretty highly at the top of the list. Automated software should be integrated into existing tools and technologies so that policies and patches can be automatically deployed, systems can be backed up when necessary and support teams can drop into client machines to help at a moment’s notice.
Ultimately, MSPs need to be certain they can seamlessly automate the network operations centre (NOC), the security operations centre (SOC), troubleshooting helpdesk and be extended to specialised outsourced support for things like cybersecurity monitoring.
Tight integration with the MSP’s remote monitoring and management (RMM) system is also crucial for ensuring that blind spots can be eliminated so that customer downtime can be minimised. Finally, inherent security capabilities will enable MSPs to frustrate cyber incidents faster and keep customer systems more secure will be key.
Optimise adoption across the organisation
Thinking beyond the mechanics of the implementation process itself will help ensure a smooth switch over to a unified management software solution. Alongside setting expectations for team members ahead of the changeover, MSPs should educate their teams using videos and written resources that explain how to use the product and how to implement the best practices that address a range of scenarios. Many vendors have certification on how to get a greater return on investment (ROI).
Standardisation delivers increased profitability
The most profitable, and efficient, MSPs standardise on a stack or vendor, as well as the solutions they deploy and / or support. This means that they can internally dedicate their focus to mastering the ITSM platform that they use to get the best ROI.
Externally, if they standardise on the technology and / or the offer it’s the same. They can invest in their staff to be highly trained and skilled to service their customers better instead of being a jack of all trades (and technology).
Ultimately, an MSP’s toolset will prove to be critical for keeping up with today’s customers demands. Delivering against evolving customer expectations increasingly depends on adopting an automated and integrated IT management approach that makes it possible to orchestrate new potential software and solutions, security, AI, deep integrations, and highly evolved service offerings cohesively all without compromise.
The author is Gregg Lalle, SVP international sales and strategy, ConnectWise.
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