The Ever-Evolving MSP
At a recent staff meeting, our CEO, Alex Rogers, talked about where ARRC Technology has been as an IT provider and what the future struggles are likely to be, particularly in a time when tech support can often be provided by a wizard or a free desktop application. People nowadays “Google” the problem or use some kind of troubleshooting wizard rather than seek IT providers out for support on a regular basis.
To combat this, we must go beyond megabytes and gigabytes, simple service and delivery, and enter the age of providing value and increasing our client’s revenue. This latest iteration of the IT Provider, and specifically the MSP, made me think back to the birth of the MSP and how things have changed.
Turn the clock back to 1992, when Alex first started his business, ARRC Technology. If you wanted a new computer then, you’d go to an IT professional, someone who went to school and studied technology. They would then build you a custom and perfectly built PC for all of your needs. Fast-forward to today. Gamers are some of the only ones who still will require a highly customized system, but for most people a simple off-the-shelf model will work just fine. In fact, with the prevalence of mega stores, we can pick up socks, dog food, a ton of chicken and a new computer in the same trip.
As off-the-shelf computer models and big box stores overtook the market starting in the mid-1990s, many local companies started to close their doors because they just couldn’t compete on price. For those that would survive, serviced-based IT companies were born and the idea of managed services started to make sense. Service was key, and without it, you didn’t have an offering. To this day, most IT service providers rely on this one key tenet — service — as their competitive advantage. In fact, a study conducted among CharTec partners revealed that personalized service, customer relationships, and response time are the top three things MSPs think they do better than their competitors. Here’s the problem, though. Service is no longer enough. Things are much simpler and most people can find out the answers to their technology questions or issues rather quickly online.
So now what? We move into a new world where we sell on the value of a solution, targeted specifically to each officer at a company and specifically tailored to their pain points, and we offer a service solution for everything. Managed Services is becoming a very common term, and it seems like everyone is getting into it. Not only do we have local competition, but we also have telco and copier companies who are entering the market too. We need to arm ourselves for the latest war of managed services.
Enter Copier Companies and Telcos
There will always be peaks and valleys in the evolution of managed services. Right now, copier and telco companies are posing as the same enemy big box stores did back in the 90s. Arm yourselves with the tools, training, but more importantly, your offering. Don’t leave any back doors open and be sure to offer everything! If you can’t offer it yourself, find a third party that can help! All you need is a copy or telco company coming in and taking over because they had a product or solution you didn’t offer.
Jason Rivas is in operations and process management at CharTec. He is training in Six Sigma Certification and is a licensed behavioral analyst.