How do you know your current remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform has hit a wall and isn't cutting it anymore? In discussions with managed services providers (MSPs), the nuances are often very different, but several core issues prevail. Here are some leading indicators...
... they include:
Indicator #1: RMM Tool Creating Operational Inefficiencies
- New customer onboards take too long. In the early stages of an MSP’s run, investing weeks of key engineer’s time getting new clients set up may be fine. Not so, however, once the business starts to ramp.
- Too many point solutions to deploy, maintain. Over the course of an MSP’s history, it’s not uncommon to see several, sometimes up to a dozen, point RMM tools running in parallel. Again, in the early days, this may be sustainable, but at a certain point, the time and effort to maintain these platforms will take an increasing toll as a business grows. Even worse is the fact that troubleshooting and reporting can be extremely time consuming when you need to aggregate and filter through multiple systems logs to get the answers you need.
- Can’t get unified view of client’s environments. Today, any given service will rely on a number of servers, networking elements, applications, and so on. If your RMM platforms are only providing piecemeal views of what’s happening, it gets very difficult to understand, let alone optimize, the performance of complex environments.
- Minimal automation. If you can’t automate such key activities as escalation processes, reporting, monitoring provisioning, and so on, your staff will continue to be saddled with investing time on efforts that don’t yield real value to the business. This lack of automation can be a non-starter when it comes to monitoring dynamic cloud and virtualized environments.
Indicator #2: RMM Tool(s) Increase Labor Cost – Not Reduce It!Can customers get the information they need without calling the NOC? If not you’re adding costs not subtracting.
- Can only provide basic updates and reports. Can your clients quickly glance at a dashboard and get the answers they need? Or do they need to spend hours poring through pages of data to find what they’re looking for?
- NOC Operators can’t get insights needed to improve service levels, reduce mean time to repair. Whether you’re looking to reduce repair times, speed response, or strengthen virtually any other performance metric, you need intelligence, data points that show where the bottlenecks are, what the patterns are.
- Can’t tailor service to specific needs of a client. It’s easy to say the customer is king, but it’s a very different thing to really adapt your services to the way the customer wants to work. Does your RMM platform give you the flexibility to deliver?
Indicator #3: RMM Tool Inhibiting Service Catalog ExpansionYour RMM platform underpins pretty much every service you deliver. If you want to add a new offering to your service catalog, what is the process for adding the required capabilities to your RMM platform? Is it a seamless upgrade? Or do you need to look to an entirely new platform to get the coverage you need? If the latter, the RMM platform will present a big hit to the time and money it takes to get the new service up and running.
Indicator #4: RMM Tool Inhibiting Business AgilityIn a technology-driven MSP business, the pace of change continues to accelerate. Architectural complexity, hardwired functionality, cumbersome integration, limited technology support—these are all factors that conspire against your ability to adapt, and as time goes on, the liability gets more pronounced.
Indicator #5: RMM Tool Inhibiting Business Growth
- Can’t effectively sell to or serve upstream, large-scale customers. Windows server monitoring only may be fine for a small customer, but it won’t cut if for an enterprise.
- Can’t provide dashboards and reports that differentiate your business. Do your reports stand out? Do they help reaffirm your firm’s sophistication? Do reports provide a tangible, easy way for clients to understand your SLA track record? Will these reports help your sales team close more new business?
- Can’t support new services and emerging technologies and models. As your clients grow increasingly reliant on the cloud, do you have a story to tell, or are you going to be left on the sidelines? What about converged infrastructure packs and private clouds?
Indicator #6: RMM Inhibiting Margin, Profit Growth
- Can’t reduce operational costs. Efforts like adopting ITIL, leveraging automation, or streamlining workflows can all make a big impact on ongoing cost reduction efforts—and they can all be supported by the right RMM platform.
- Can’t serve more customers without adding more staff and infrastructure. Are new services and clients boosting your top line, but not making any impact on profits? Does each new service or client require additional headcount to support? If so, a new RMM platform may enable you to start scaling more efficiently, and profitably.
- Can’t get insights for optimizing resource planning, utilization. To scale effectively, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of the people and infrastructure you have. If your RMM platform doesn’t fully support you in these efforts, you’re flying blind.
- Can’t align RMM investments with business models. Do your software license expenses require huge upfront investment, regardless of whether you see any new traction from the services they enable?
Phil LaForge is VP and GM, service providers at Nimsoft. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of Nimsoft's guest blogs here.