Are you a Managed Services Provider and running into these problems? Part 2 in a series, will cover ideas on how to achieve an efficient managed IT services operation, how to choose the right vendor and finally how to most effectively utilise your technical staff in your services.
3. Achieve an Efficient IT Operation Efficiency is key to all MSP’s – it allows you to better understand your customers IT needs, be more attentive to their issues and more rapidly solve problems. Efficiency can either hold back a business from growth, or can help facilitate it. Therefore, it’s very important to regularly assess your business operations to look for areas of inefficiency and waste.
Operational efficiency must be improved as a business expands its operations and scales-up its managed services. If not, MSP offerings may encounter issues due to insufficient allocation of time and personnel, which could negatively impact the perception of your business and its managed services for customers. This problem could be summarised through the phrase ‘learn to walk before you run’. In addition to this, you should bear in mind the following points:
• Don’t be afraid to experiment and innovate with new ideas to increase operational efficiency. These new ideas could unlock new opportunities that your competitors don’t have. However, these ideas must be able to be implemented quickly, and must have redundancy in-place in case the idea fails.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs
• Always be on the lookout for valuable help, guidance and knowledge from others in the industry who have had to overcome operational inefficiencies. Often the very best way to learn something is to do it. By receiving advice from other people or companies who have already increased their own efficiencies, and know what works and what doesn’t, you could accelerate the efficiency journey for your own business.
• Networking events and conferences are a great way to foster relationships with other businesses in your industry. Taking advantage of these connections is a highly valuable way to learn key industry knowledge as an MSP.
• Always be on your toes – the MSP industry is a constantly developing and shifting space. Don’t become stagnant and ‘safe’ in your business practises. You need to be on the lookout for the next trend or paradigm shift before it becomes industry practise. Be ahead of the curve, not behind it.
4. The importance of the right vendor For an MSP, having the correct technology solutions vendor is very important. The correct vendor simplifies your IT management services and helps grow your business, by being able to offer consistent managed IT services to your customers. Look for the following factors when you choose a vendor:
• Innovation and adaptability – your vendor partner needs to be fully up-to-date with existing technology, and prepared for emerging ones.
• Similar operational alignment, this will make the relationship more conducive to success.
• Expertise in the weakest area of your business, plugging this gap can increase efficiency and grow revenues.
• Flexible pricing practises, to attract and satisfy the widest range of client payment desires.
5. Staffing practises Correctly assigning staff to the correct jobs, based upon their individual strengths and expertise, is very important if you are to achieve high levels of service efficiency with your staff. However, it can be difficult not only to predict how many staff you need for each IT managed service you offer for each client, but if you also need to organise additional training for staff to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. With this in mind, the following points should be taken into account for staffing best practises:
• Plan ahead for the expansion of your business operations. Gaining many new customers is great for business revenue, but if you haven’t provisioned the right amount of support staff then this can lead to operational problems. If your business can’t properly support each client, then their IT systems will likely begin to develop issues and the customers’ overall satisfaction will decline.
• Don’t expand your client numbers before you can accommodate this growth with experienced, usable staff.
• Understand your current employee needs, and what you can do to satisfy these needs. This could be offering additional training. A happy employee who feels valued often works harder, and to a higher standard.
We hope this blog has helped you to better understand the issues that an MSP could face, and how various factors of the service operation can be improved.