April 29, 2019
In the world of managed IT services, things tend to move at breakneck speed. It’s easy to lose sight of the important stuff, and even easier to fall into traps.
One of the primary pitfalls? Getting mired in your own day-to-day routine.
PTS’s Ray Sweeney
Ray Sweeney, operations manager at Premier Technology Solutions (PTS) in Melbourne, Australia, says that one of the biggest problems he sees is MSPs being just reactive. Instead of dealing with issues and tickets proactively and properly, some companies just throw more people at the problem, hiring more personnel to deal with the growing demand. Not exactly an effective fix.
“It is so easy to get so caught up in the operational components of things,” says Sweeney. “You must actively try to step away from your own lens. Ask yourself, why is it that you’re actually in business? What is it you’re trying to deliver to your clients? Asking yourself those questions on a regular basis will sharpen and re-sharpen your focus.”
Companies regularly get bombarded with routine problems. Say you get 1,000 tickets per day — it’s still your responsibility to have visibility into even the most common of issues and get them over the finish line. Will it be hard? You betcha. But you must find a way.
When dealing with this type of volume, it’s easy for companies to lose track or miss the point of what it is they’re trying to do, especially when they’re sitting at a macro level. When that happens, decision-makers tend to do funny, questionable things that just don’t make sense or match up.
Ultimately, your value proposition should be that you want to put more time back in people’s days and have them make better business decisions. But that can be easier said than done.
“If we’re focusing too much on the operational aspects of our company — talking to our techs about how many tickets they’re going to close in a day, average resolution times, KPIs, etc. — and we’re not constantly going back and really championing the cause of wanting to put more time back in people’s day and help them make better decisions, the result can be disastrous,” says Sweeney. “You end up with people focused on all the wrong activities, and you get techs closing tickets before they’re actually finished because they’re trying to meet those certain objectives. It puts the focus in the wrong place.”
Think about it. If all you talk about is the KPIs for six months, you’ve now conditioned people into thinking that this is what success looks like. This is where so many IT companies go wrong and get knocked out of alignment with the bigger picture stuff.
This is why it is imperative…
…that you champion the right behavior, that efforts be made to help employees understand the purpose of your business and what you’re trying to achieve. It’s a delicate balance that business leaders must constantly navigate, between the operational day-to-day stuff details of managing the business, versus the more strategic, visionary, how-to-lead-the-business aspect.
“If you only see everything through your own lens, at some point, you lose your perspective,” concludes Sweeney. “At PTS, I’m trying to push the idea that everyone in the management team commit to meeting with at least two customers every quarter. Not to talk about us or our process, but to just chat about their business — how they’re doing, what challenges they’re having, etc. — for no other reason than to understand their business and their challenges. This can help put everything into perspective and makes us aware of any problems so we can better empathize and help. As a result, we are a better partner.”
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