Why Focusing On the Customer Experience Pays Off for MSPs

Provide the right technical infrastructure to automate XaaS procurement and expand service offerings.

May 11, 2023

5 Min Read
Why Focusing On the Customer Experience Pays Off for MSPs

By Adonay Cervantes


Adonay Cervantes

Satisfied customers equal returning customers. Business customers, like regular consumers, want to use technology with ease. They want the simplicity of a one-stop shop of digital services, bundled with the necessary managed services, and they want the flexibility to pay as they go. As managed service providers (MSPs), you can help enable businesses to accelerate growth and increase revenue.

Business customers turn to you as experts who will work side by side as an extension of their company. Customers want solutions — a single IT partner to simplify their business needs.

The managed services market is expected to reach more than $730 billion by 2030. As the IT/MSP market grows, improving the customer experience should be a driving force in the managed services space. However, research shows that only 38% of MSPs (PDF) surveyed consider customer satisfaction a key performance indicator (KPI), with most focusing on return on investment (ROI).

Making customers’ lives easier and understanding their needs can lead to a better customer experience, and result in customer retention and the increase of the average revenue per user (ARPU).

Automate XaaS

With the growing interest in advanced services such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and cybersecurity, MSPs are quickly adapting themselves to offer and manage various digital-based solutions. In the age of anything-as-a-service (XaaS), you should be leaning into automating XaaS procurement to expand service offerings and speed delivery of XaaS bundles. However, more offerings require the right technical infrastructure.

A procurement platform for XaaS delivery automation helps increase the efficiency of operations. You can benefit from a single automation platform to manage vendors and partners, and deliver a wide range of bundled offerings. This allows a “one-click” shopping experience and creates huge cross-selling and bundling opportunities. As an MSP, you can quickly grow your catalog and start transactions immediately, enabling organizations to reach new customers.

Whether it’s software-as-a-service (SaaS), security-as-a-service (SECaaS) or storage-as-a-service (STaaS), companies are striving to diversify their revenue streams with a digital-first mindset.

Organizations that previously only sold hardware, such as Xerox, have evolved to offer services on top of their original equipment. Now, Xerox is building on its leadership in the managed print services (MPS) market to deliver workplace solutions. Roughly 77% of the company’s revenue today is after-sale, recurring revenue.

If Cisco, for example, is offering its firewall for a company’s data center, it’s outsourcing from a third-party tech vendor. You, as the MSP, broker these relationships, providing access to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). This means enabling access to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These are the resources wanted by small-to-medium businesses and large corporations alike, and on a subscription basis.

To make all this work efficiently, MSPs are embracing automation. Globally, 90% of MSPs worldwide say automation is key to optimizing processes. Being able to automate the provisioning and fulfillment of physical and digital goods from third-party vendors and their own services, is crucial to succeeding in the as-a-service economy.

With XaaS, companies can provide subscription-based models with products and services on demand, allowing businesses to have a recurring revenue stream.

How to Grow in the Digital Marketplace

More companies are building a digital ecosystem of marketplaces as they strive to stay nimble in this uncertain market and reach new audiences. What sets high-performing MSPs apart is their ability to …

… quickly partner with new vendors, maintain an ever-changing product catalog and track usage and billing for complex bundles. If you can package your offerings and make them available on marketplaces, whether they are public or private, you will gain a competitive edge.

For example, IBM has a B2B marketplace where customers can order software and workplace bundles, such as cybersecurity solutions and digital marketing. By partnering with a digital ecosystem and marketplace platform provider, you can take advantage of an ecosystem of vendor integrations from leading brands.

You also benefit from working with a platform provider by being able to automate procurement and fulfillment processes, allowing more time to concentrate on producing bundled XaaS solutions. These XaaS bundles are made up of products such as hardware and software, professional services, customer support and operational management, and are charged per month.

Bundled services are ordered and delivered through digital channels in the form of a marketplace that includes automation of ordering and provisioning that helps to reduce costs for the company. For providers with centralized visibility of their customers’ usage, not only can they bill them accordingly, but they can anticipate their future needs and up-sell other solutions.

From SaaS to cybersecurity to cloud infrastructure, the top MSPs will be those that own their relationship with the customer and can offer intelligent bundles to meet their needs. It’s too complicated trying to go it alone in the digital marketplace landscape. The more you can lean upon customer partnerships to increase a product or service choice, the more chance you have of increasing average revenue per user, and therefore, customer lifetime value.

Technology is changing so fast that time isn’t on your side when it comes to building a digital ecosystem. The ability to quickly partner with new vendors, maintain an ever-changing product catalog and track usage and billing for complex bundles is business-critical.

Building an ecosystem from scratch takes time, but using a third-party cloud platform with a pre-existing catalog enables businesses to build their ecosystems and scale at a faster rate. A digital ecosystem and marketplace platform offers the necessary technology to manage subscription and billing, as well as vendor and product information, and can onboard B2B partners across multiple channels.

Business customers want to consume technology from a single provider. At the same time, they want the ability to scale up or down, or even pause their service, if needed. And they want to pay as they go, not hand over a large investment up front.

To maintain a competitive edge, you must put the customer experience at the center of your business strategy. Eliminating hassles and offering creative solutions will have a direct impact on customer satisfaction, as well as recurring revenue.

Adonay Cervantes is global field CTO at CloudBlue, where he also has served as global sales director for strategic accounts. He has a master’s in internet business from ISDI, an international institution whose mission is to contribute to digital transformation. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @ThisisCloudBlue on Twitter.

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