As a managed service provider, you’re probably already (painfully) aware of the pressure to maximize output while keeping costs as low as possible. This is no easy feat, especially in such a highly competitive marketplace. Those providers that find a way to do more without having to increase expenditure will be the ones that emerge as victorious and profitable in the long run. One simple yet powerful way to achieve this goal is to leverage IT process automation to streamline your MSP operations.
If you’re not sure where or how to begin, here are 3 best practices for using ITPA to help you do your job better, faster and more cost-effectively.
Identify Areas of Need
You obviously can’t automate everything you do (at least not yet), so the first step involves identifying the areas of your job where technology could be applied most effectively for immediate impact. A good place to start is to list out all of the manual, tedious and other mundane, repetitive tasks that you and/or your team perform on a day to day basis. Start by automating these things and you’ll start realizing the benefits right off the bat.
Now, instead of wasting time and resources, you and your team can focus on more mission-critical projects, such as developing and implementing a growth strategy. Eventually, you’ll also be able to apply IT process automation to more complex workflows, but this is a good place to begin the process.
Choose Your Solution
There are dozens, if not hundreds of IT process automation tools on the market today. This can make choosing the right one for your business quite challenging. Do your homework and try to find an automation product that is most closely aligned with your business needs. You want a product that’s robust, but try not to fall for flashy gimmicks, otherwise you could end up with an automation tool that has a ton of features you don’t even need.
Furthermore, remember that the ultimate goal you are working toward is most likely growing your business, so be sure to choose a solution that is scalable and agile enough to match your changing needs and demands seamlessly.
Develop Runbooks for Best Practices
Once you’ve chosen your IT process automation software, the next step is to develop and establish standard operating instructions, also known as run books. This allows your employees to create quicker, easier ways to complete common tasks automatically. Few MSPs maintain documented procedures for technical issues or handling customer service situations, instead relying on the expertise of their most qualified technicians to handle problems as they arise. But what happens if and when these individuals leave?
Run book automation can be used as a precautionary measure to protect MSPs from scenarios like this. These pre-programmed instructions can then serve as a guideline for running an efficient, productive operation without having to worry about the risks associated with employee turnover.
As an MSP, you are undoubtedly faced with making a number of critical decisions on a daily basis. Inevitably, many of these choices will continue to have an impact on the future of your business for years to come. Making the wise decision to adopt IT process automation will improve the chances that your company will remain stable, competitive and consistently capable of achieving sustained success.