Is it time MSPs become business facilitators? Site24x7 thinks so
In the last few years, there’s been a noticeable up-tick in end-users turning to MSPs (managed service providers) to help, guide and support them with all aspects of their technological base.
In a small way, that’s down to competition in the sector driving down prices, but the main reasons for the greater demand for MSP services are the complexity in technological offerings available recently, and an increasing focus on data security and governance.
In the first instance, many of these firms’ clients are struggling to navigate new tech like network virtualization, SD-WAN, AWS options and other high-end yet fertile possibilities.
In the second instance, local laws — OAIC’s NBD scheme — and those of more remote continents — GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act — mean navigating the data protection minefield needs expert help. In both cases, people are picking up the phone to their MSP.
That recent upsurge in MSP use is in addition to the gradual rise in the size of the MSP space, since technology became an everyday reality for just about every business across the globe. There are few commercial concerns or governmental organizations that aren’t underpinned by digital technology. Almost every business is ‘high-tech’— even the artisan crafting bespoke items by hand bills their clients using cloud-based financial software.
MSPs are changing, therefore. No longer the managed support provider, Asia Pacific’s MSPs are providing solutions, rather than support that wraps around an issue. That change in stance goes over and above being a value-added reseller for numerous vendors, installing new devices at a markup and ensuring they run smoothly.
Instead, the modern MSP needs to understand its clients’ business models and provide a competitive advantage by enabling via technology.
In brief, break-and-fix, or the selling of a utility isn’t a business model that will ensure an MSP’s future. Devising tech solutions to specific business quandaries is what it’s about; seeing what’s available at the cutting edge of tech and learning to apply it for clients’ use-cases.
At the heart of that value proposition is maintaining service continuity, proactive management of the client’s entire provision, ensuring its scalability and resilience, and gold-plating data security at the same time.
Keeping it proactive
The intimate knowledge that a first-rate MSP needs of each of its clients provides two advantages. Firstly, the MSP is aware of the potential business challenges that the client may face and have the answer ready, even before the question is asked.
Secondly, there’s the ability to second-guess where the weak points might be in the entire IT stack.
The potential for trouble might be purely practical— like a client being better served by a more powerful AWS instance that provides better value in the medium term— or could be more of a tweaking over time of bandwidths to production systems to improve customer experiences.
Those abilities don’t happen to MSPs that are constantly chasing their own tails in terms of systems maintenance, monitoring, roll-out and support. What’s necessary is the type of powerful and insightful provisioning and monitoring systems that let the MSP see the bigger picture, but without substantial investment in either high-end tools or new staff.
It’s ironic that the larger, macro view of a client’s technology systems comes from small-scale monitoring agents, placed on each node, network waypoint, customer-facing website, API portal, and so on. But that’s exactly the case with the remote management infrastructure offered by Site27x7 — a part of the global provider, Zoho.
The platform skillfully aggregates and presents to MSP staff exactly what they need to know, and what they will likely need to know to serve the client better.
This is business-centric RMM (remote monitoring & management) designed specifically for use by MSPs that care deeply about each client’s ‘big picture’, and know that it’s the client’s success that will, in turn, lead to their own.
Tools like real-user journey mapping and monitoring, and creating synthetic web transactions at scale let MSPs proactively test systems and suggest improvements and solutions. Issues might stem from a network bottleneck or a portal that’s under-performing.
Whatever the cause, remediation will be swift and (if required) automated, according to pre-set or logically dynamic policies.
To the client, and more importantly, to the client’s customers or partners, the technological intricacies are unimportant. What makes the MSP no longer a provider of an IT service, but a business partner and facilitator, is the ability to provide and maintain technology according to business imperatives.
The science part
With many companies best served by hybrid (and highly elastic) services, ensuring that systems interact smoothly is incredibly important; that might be integrating helpdesk ticketing systems with network oversight technologies (like logfile parsers), or at the client-facing end, ensuring MySQL and Apache “play nicely” with Azure clusters running legacy IIS.
With a remit that stretches from the private data centre to public clouds and across shifting links (perhaps aggregated by dynamic SD-WAN), the Site24x7 monitoring platform gives APAC’s best managed solution providers the information they need.
From a secure and compliant basis where data governance & security underpin everything, the new-generation MSP will be able to supply the type of technology basis for today’s digital businesses to thrive. And at the end of the day, if the client’s business grows, so too will the MSP’s.
To learn more about how your MSP business will benefit from Site24x7 power, expertise and business-centricity, get in touch with a representative today.