John Medaska, executive vice president of Clearwater, Fla.-based Vology, shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today:
1. Get and retain the right people – When we built the managed services business 15 years ago, it was built off of a great team of people that comes from a services mindset.
They are first and foremost consummate professionals, delivering services and solutions for customers.
It's personal, it's not business.
These people are key to any organization that is going to start that kind of practice.
Make sure that you have the right people, and that the people have the right mindset going into this: that you're supporting someone's business – someone's actual customers and their profitability.
The services, products, and solutions that they deliver, you're supporting internally.
I think that's key.
On top of it is how you keep the people.
We've seen in the industry that other organizations have huge turnover and we try to focus on our tenure of professionals, giving them the training and the support they need so that they have career progressions through our organization.
We've had some from our team on certain accounts for seven to 10, to 15 years, which really gives us the ability to be great a MSP to our customer base.
Their team really knows their business.
2. Define your processes ahead of time – This is a very challenging area for all organizations because you have to actually document and define everything you do.
But I feel like within our organization, we were able to really define our offering, define what we do, how we onboard, how we support our customers: and make sure that we do all the upfront work ahead of time.
Before going to market with the services, make sure that the services can be delivered at the highest level professionally, with speed, agility, and of course, the technical capability that's associated with it.
Create these service definitions.
Make sure that onboarding is seamless and organized: that the reporting of the value that's bringing to the customer – not only at the initial point of the engagement, but through the entire engagement – is defined and executed.
I've seen other organizations that have not done this upfront run into problems down the road.
Really sit down as you are going to be in this business, and make sure that you understand the processes and procedures.
Define them, so that they deliver not only to the customer satisfaction, but also customer loyalty that you need as you move forward.
3. Customize your tools – Focus not only on the tools that you use, but also how you customize the tools and how you put together the solutions, tools and products that are going to represent your offering.
Be able to continually bring new value to your customers.
Off-the-shelf tools that come out do not have the capability to support customers on the managed service basis.
We've had the ability with our customers that we support in 62 countries and with 15 years of experience and input, to customize these tools with industries, types of customers, and alerts that would have huge value to our current customer set.
Off the shelf, they may not have that capability.
Making sure they are customized and they are constantly being edited for what the customer needs is key to us.
These are key to anyone starting the business.
Do not shortchange the amount of time invested in them.
Before you go to market with a solution, make sure that it's gone through its full service delivery process.
Only when it is fully completed and ready for your customers, do you actually roll out this service, this capability – and you'll have customers for five, 10, 15 years.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.