For many, the process of finding the right remote monitoring and management (RMM) provider feels a lot like dating. It can get really expensive if you let it, and the relationship often times can go from bad to worse when, and if, you decide to call it quits. But for others who either got lucky or through due diligence found the right partner from the start, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship with some serious business benefits.
That all said, if you’re in the market for a new RMM provider, save yourself the headache and make a checklist of what you want and need. Ask a lot of questions and find out how the technology fits the needs of your business now, and in the future. Also, be sure to see what else the RMM provider offers – business resources, support services, complementary tool sets, etc. This industry is moving fast and with mobile computing on the rise and the focus being less about the device and more about the end-user computing needs, choosing the right RMM provider is not a decision to make blindly.
Here are four other tips that should help value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) properly vet an RMM provider and get to the right decision:
1. Automation: Automation is quickly becoming the ‘secret sauce’ for today’s most successful MSPs. With a powerful automation platform in place, an MSP can standardize IT operations and economically scale to meet escalating customer demand -- while growing profits at the same time. That’s why it’s critical that you look closely at the automation capabilities in the RMM solution you’re evaluating and get a good understanding of the areas of the business it covers. From onboarding to maintenance routines, self-healing, software roll-outs and more, you want your RMM platform to offer automations that align with your business and deliver the most ROI as you serve your customers.
It also pays to examine how comprehensive the automation scripts and self-healing features are. Make sure they’re well-designed, pre-tested and based on documented best practices. In addition to identifying how many pre-built automations you’ll get, take a test run and find out how easy it is to create your own automations. After all, RMM platforms should be designed to be dynamic so that you can continuously add in the intelligence that your top experts already possess – the tribal knowledge that needs to be leveraged by the rest of your team to save time and enable everyone on staff to deliver the best service possible.
2. Flexible Licensing Model: Not all RMM platforms are created equal where licensing is concerned. Make sure you choose one that offers the flexibility your business needs because, the truth is, not all your customers will be ready for a full-managed services solution out the gate. In fact, 80 percent of today’s SMB marketplace is dominated by break-fix customers who are generally interested in individual products and services. Conversely, the remaining 20 percent is interested in fixed-contract services.
To sell to all customer types, you need both a complete and an a-la-carte product offering. Chances are, however, if you start out with an a la carte sale with a customer -- for a service such as managed backup or managed AV protection – you’re in a prime position to extend the relationship to other offerings over time. It’s all about proving yourself and earning your customers’ trust, and ultimately finding new ways to grow your accounts.
3. Business Transformation Services: A complete RMM solution will give you the right technology AND the right business transformation services to support your growth goals. By integrating the RMM technology with best-practice business guidance, including pricing strategy, your RMM vendor should be there to help ensure you can go to market with a profitable set of managed services in the shortest time possible. Especially if you’re just getting started in managed services, you should be aligning with a vendor that offers a dedicated MSP partner development specialist, along with sales and marketing training, pre-packaged marketing materials, a knowledge management portal, a strong MSP community and a solid reputation for partner support and development. If you sense that anything is lacking in these areas, you might be missing out on one of the most important aspects of being an MSP – building a strong business.
4. Post-Implementation Support: So you’ve deployed your RMM platform and you’re just getting started. Now what? Going into the relationship, make sure your vendor will be there for you after the sale as you continue to build your business. Look for a RMM vendor with a history of a strong release cadence, including meaningful features added at a steady pace. Financial stability is also critical. It’s important to work with a company that is in business for the long haul – one that has a reputation for longevity and success in the industry.
At N-able, we’re passionate about RMM and about guiding our partners through the business, sales and technology factors that make for a successful MSP. And we’re backed by the strength and financial stability of SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software. But don’t take my word for it, check out these stories from your peers and many of the industry’s most successful MSPs.
Mike Cullen is vice president of world wide sales and business strategy for N-able by SolarWinds. He brings over 20 years of corporate sales experience to his MSP customers, and has assembled an equally experienced sales force. Prior to joining N-able, Mike was vice president of sales (Ottawa Branch) and interim president of the Québec region for IKON Office Solutions. He grew the Ottawa business to $24 million in just five years, resulting in the Ottawa office's recognition as the branch office of the year in 2000. Mike joined IKON in 1995 as a result of an acquisition of Fulline Office Products, an office equipment company Mike co-founded in 1988.