Using Managed Services to Navigate Tough, Troubled Times
Historical analysis of past economic downturns have shown that outsourcing services, including IT support and services, actually increase as companies are less likely to hire new staff or spend money to train existing staff in new products or initiatives.
Given, the current state of the global economy, it’s safe to say that there is a big opportunity for managed service providers (MSP) around the would to show potential customers that they can meet aggressive performance and availability service level agreements (SLAs) more efficiently than an in-house staff.
Fortunately, the MSP business model is continuing to drive unprecedented efficiencies throughout the IT services industry, enabling small- to medium-sized companies to provide proactive, preventative IT management and monitoring services to thousands—even tens of thousands—of client systems & devices. Opportunity for higher margins has never been higher and the quality of service has never been more robust.
However, today’s “always on” business environment and the need for more aggressive availability and performance SLAs are driving customer demand for 24×7 monitoring and remediation services, turning the advantages of having a small staff into a weakness.
With only a handful of system administrators, staff are required to be on call during off-peak hours, putting strain on personal and family lives. Often, your employees have to sleep with their BlackBerry to guarantee 24×7 service levels. In addition, small ultra-productive staffs present major economies of scale problems.
With fixed price SLA’s requiring a lot of up-front work to be supportable; it can be a challenge to roll out new clients on a consistent, efficient basis. Even worse, the staffing resources that are able to be allocated to deploying new services are an investment and may not actively contribute to the bottom line in the current month.
Services for Service Providers
Recognizing that MSPs need help meeting these growing customer demands, many IT management software vendors are jumping into the services for service providers business. More than just a software as a service (SaaS), these vendors are providing reliable, robust and automated 24×7 IT management and monitoring services, allowing MSPs to provide complete coverage of their customers’ IT environments without adding staff or doling out overtime. At the same time, MSPs are able to reallocate their staffing resources, allowing them to focus on more strategic, revenue-generating projects.
In order to be truly effective and efficient, these services need to enable proactive IT services—including monitoring, patch management, remote PC administration, backup anti-virus updates—and basic remediation services. They need to ensure that potentially damaging events are identified, MSPs are notified of any major issues and the issues are resolved quickly, positively contributing to the MSP’s mission of meeting aggressive SLAs.
In addition, IT management solution providers should also offer a dedicated expert to help roll out additional services, provide training and ensure consistency through the IT management framework. This assistance would help MSPs scale their business more efficiently, allowing them to meet new customer demand caused by the economic downturn.
If priced with a consistent flat fee, these management and monitoring services can help MSPs provide the 24×7 coverage their customers want in a cost- and time- efficient business model. On average, they can save MSPs up to thousands of dollars per month while increasing margins through new service offerings.
For information about how Kaseya—a leading provider of IT automation software and services for MSPs—helps IT service organizations provide reliable, robust and automated 24×7 IT management and monitoring services, please attend an education Webinar on November 6.
Note: Dan Shapero is Senior Vice President, Marketing at Kaseya. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor.net’s Platinum sponsorship.