Businesses are increasingly engaging managed service providers (MSPs) to oversee their IT operations due to the tech talent shortage and to cut costs. As a result, the IT managed services market is growing rapidly. It was valued at $239.71 billion in 2021 and is expected to hit $411 billion by 2027. This rapid growth has also made the MSP market highly competitive. As an MSP, you must optimize your operations and processes to survive and grow in this competitive environment. Here are a few ways to increase productivity and deliver high-quality services without hiring additional resources.
Be proactive instead of reactive
It is better to proactively monitor for issues to prevent them (the managed service model) rather than react to them after they occur (the break-fix model). This will help you reduce downtime, increase customer satisfaction, and build credibility. All are crucial for your MSP business — your customers and prospects must be convinced that you can help them maintain uptime, reduce issues and quickly solve any problems. From a business point of view, this approach also improves operations as it generates predictable, recurring revenue that gives you the confidence to plan ahead. In comparison, the break-fix model results in an unpredictable revenue stream that makes it difficult to budget, plan and even hire the right number of staff.
Automate to unlock operational efficiency
It’s the go-to strategy to get the most out of your resources. Automation will help you reduce grunt work while improving your customers’ networks’ productivity, efficiency and safety. You can use automation to proactively run clean-ups, manage patches and software, maintain server and workstation health, and more. Automation can also be used to make on-demand fixes, for self-healing processes like auto-cleaning full drives, for reporting and analytics and for sales-driven tasks like managing leads. Sophisticated auto-remediation can also be set up to mimic the manual process of identifying warning signs and then follow the processes a system administrator would follow. This facilitates instant resolution of issues and reduces disruption for your customers.
Pick a niche or industry
This will allow you to know and understand the standards and requirements of a specific set of businesses like the back of your hand. It will give you an edge over MSPs that don’t specialize in your area. You can focus on developing an operational model that suits this niche and offer services specifically designed for them. It will simplify acquiring new customers as you can target industry-specific events and forums. Becoming known as an expert in a specific sector will also help you generate referral business.
Track data and key performance indicators (KPIs)
Metrics are arguably the best way to spot operational inefficiencies and identify areas that can be more efficient (through automation), set realistic improvement goals and make insightful decisions to achieve business objectives. Streamlining your operations can be daunting. However, monitoring key performance metrics will provide you the insights you need to do so successfully. For instance, tracking the cost per lead and conversion rate can help you optimize your digital marketing efforts. Similarly, tracking the tickets you receive and the time you take to resolve service requests can also help you improve overall client experience and satisfaction. Develop business acumen, so you can use data to make well-informed decisions for your MSP business and demonstrate your services’ value to your clients.
Focus on the business – not the admin
Administrative tasks are time-consuming yet important to the success of any business. For organizations such as MSPs that deliver human-powered services, accurate time-keeping, project management, and billing are critical to maintaining cash flow. Trying to do this manually will take up valuable time that could be spent growing the business and can even cause delays in getting paid. Many Professional Service Admin (PSA) solutions on the market help MSPs automate these activities and make it easier to track operational data and monitor KPIs. Most PSA solutions also offer ticketing, which helps ensure technicians work efficiently and prioritize user issues.
Centralize the management of software
Using an all-in-one monitoring tool gives you a consolidated view of all the endpoints you are managing and the software used to help you and your clients effectively use each of them. Advanced monitoring tools also bolster the security of your network while increasing productivity by streamlining operational workflows through automation.
Try not to offer everything to everyone at once. Focus on delivering excellent services and gaining trust and reputation. Don’t take on too many customers so your staff is stretched and services to existing customers suffer. Manage expansion in a measured way.
Plan for incidents
Put response plans in place for data breaches, ransomware attacks, downtime and recovery to ensure you can respond quickly and efficiently while staying focused on key deliverables. This will reduce wasted time and save money during trying times.
Building a successful MSP business
The MSP market is highly competitive. However, you can streamline your operations and processes by being proactive, leveraging automation, specializing in a niche, defining specialist security services and prioritizing your objectives. Stay ahead of your competition by centralizing the management of your network with a comprehensive monitoring and management tool and harnessing data intelligence to build credibility, improve efficiencies and increase the profitability of your MSP business.
MMSOFT Design, Ltd. is the maker of Pulseway, a mobile-first IT management software that helps busy IT administrators look after their IT infrastructure on the go. Easy-to-use, cloud-hosted solution with a user-friendly mobile app that abstracted the desktop away, Pulseway is used by over 13,000 businesses worldwide including BestBuy, DELL, Louis Vuitton, Canon and Siemens.