Integrating Cloud Solutions and Managed Services: 4 Questions to Ask
So, you’ve spent the last five years building out a successful managed services practice. You’ve spent innumerable hours evaluating vendors, selected an RMM vendor (or two, maybe three?) that will allow you effectively remotely manage your customers. You’ve had to make staff changes, and probably had to edit your customer list a little bit in the process too. If you are like most, you either added or started with a PSA solution to manage the day to day activities of your team and clean up your processes, billing, etc. All this has prepared you to layer on some cloud based deliverables which will add revenue across your customer base and create opportunity to land new customers.
It makes sense, and it seems easy, but here are a few things to think about with each cloud vendor you evaluate:
1. Are they Channel only? If not, then there are some real differences here that you need to consider. For instance, does this cloud vendor have access to my customer list when I sign up my customers for their service? If so, do I trust a company that competes with me to have that access? Most RMM and PSA solutions are not chasing your customer base directly, but that is not necessarily true of other cloud vendors. Make sure you are protected if you go down this road.
2. Do they allow you to private label the solution? Imagine you have spent too much time over the last five years moving your business from reseller to MSP. One of the core values of that move is that you are selling your own brand now, not the vendors. Therefore, adding cloud solutions that are vendor branded is a step backward.
3. Have you thoroughly tested your new tech support team? Remember, this is not an in house solution that you can “fix” yourself. Ask for access to the cloud vendor tech support, and try it out. If the vendor is not answering the phone quickly and providing quality support for your solution, determine whether that will be acceptable when you have a problem at a customer site.
4. Is the company focused on your success? As a cloud vendor, I can tell you first hand that Intronis is absolutely focused on our partner’s success, and our commitment to a philosophy we refer to as MPG (Manhours per GB) is at the heart of that commitment. Every aspect of what we do is measured against our ability to save our MSP customer’s time and lower the MPG spent to backup and successfully restore your customer’s data. Our development teams are focused on it, our tech support team is measured weekly against it, and we built our Customer Success team (onboarding) to help lower it. If your cloud vendor cannot site at least five ways they are focused on your success without pausing to think, then you are turning over one of your customer deliverables to a company that is not focused on your success. That may be a bad move.
Remember, when you choose to deploy a cloud solution, you get to leverage efficiencies, lower costs, and narrow focus on documented deliverables that should improve your customer experience. The downside is that you lose a certain amount of control of your deliverables and your data as a result. That trade off can be fantastic for your business, but make sure you are not giving up too much in the deal. Additionally, always make sure to pick vendors who succeed when you succeed, and have built their deliverables and solutions with your success in mind.