Could This Be Preventing Managed Service Providers from Growing?

Could This Be Preventing MSPs from Growing?Making the transition from basic IT support to the more lucrative role of Managed Service Provider (MSP) isn’t always as easy as it seems. Achieving growth from there can take even longer. So why, with IT process automation becoming such a mainstream accepted tool, is becoming a successful MSP so challenging? We thought it might be helpful to uncover some of the most common obstacles to MSP growth and, more importantly, what can be done to overcome them.

Obstacle #1 – Being Too General – Many managed service providers out there that are struggling to achieve growth and ongoing success are missing the mark because they’re not positioning themselves as the gurus they truly are. Obtaining the appropriate certifications and credentials and honing your individual service offerings is key. Additionally, selling these services either by competency or by vertical can boost business tremendously and increase the amount of revenue you could be earning.

Obstacle #2 – Not Differentiating from Break/Fix IT Support – The main driver keeping this barrier in place is fear. Many IT pros want to transition to selling managed services, but they hesitate for fear that they’ll lose some of their customers. In reality, not every client is suited for a managed service provider vs. break/fix type of support. But while you may, indeed, lose a small segment of business, you will gain it back and then some over time. Understanding and accepting this fact can help overcome the uneasiness and make the shift a little bit easier to make.

Obstacle #3 – Underpricing Themselves – Switching from fixed price and/or cost plus pricing to a more realistic and profitable pricing model can be challenging, particularly if you don’t fully understand the true value of your services or, more importantly, how willing your customers are to pay what you’re worth. If you’re undervaluing and underpricing yourself, you will not be able to realize growth. In fact, you may even price yourself out of the industry all together.

Now that you know what may be standing in your way, here are a few helpful tips for overcoming these common barriers to growth:

  • Evaluate your existing business plan and MSP strategy, the strength of your software, and the skills and abilities of your team members.
  • Leverage technology and tools, such as IT process automation, to buckle up your service delivery and make it much more efficient.
  • Keep a close eye on the market and your finger on the pulse of your customers to recognize and capitalize on trends and opportunities.
  • Develop and foster specialties by obtaining certifications, etc. in areas where your customers are.
  • Assess and modify your pricing model to ensure that it properly supports your level of service.
  • Establish a specific goal (i.e. 20% growth in 12 months) and develop a strategy for achieving that goal over the designated time frame.

Making the shift from one-off, break/fix IT support to a qualified, highly sought after Managed Service Provider isn’t as difficult as you may think. By understanding what factors might be hindering your ability to change and grow and applying the above advice for overcoming those obstacles, you’ll be well on your way to securing your position in the profitable MSP world.

Want to learn how the right IT process automation tool can help propel your Managed Service Provider career forward into a successful future? Grab your free 30 day trial today to get started!

eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s

Highlights from Guy Nadivi’s Discussion with MSP Today about IT Process Automation, MSPs and More

Ayehu's Guy Nadivi Talks Automation & MSP ExpoIt’s no secret that IT professionals are being burdened with the increasing pressure that comes with maintaining optimum network security and maximum efficiency levels. Couple this with the fact that there is a serious skill shortage, particularly in the security realm, and those pressures increase tenfold. The good news is, this can all be overcome thanks in large part to IT process automation, which can be leveraged alongside human workers to respond faster and more effectively and maintain a greater degree of control over the entire process.

Ayehu’s Director of Business Development in North America, Guy Nadivi, recently sat down for a chat with MSP Today’s Stefania Viscusi for one of their Expert Features. Here are a few of the main highlights of the discussion.

A Shift in Thinking…

One of the biggest questions on the minds of so many IT professionals is not only what technological changes are occurring, but also how those changes will help businesses grow, improve and become even more successful. Guy shared his insight that over the past year the most significant change isn’t necessarily about technology, but rather it’s been a shift in the way IT executives and managers think, work and strategize. Specifically, there’s been a much more open-minded approach to tools like IT process automation, particularly in MSPs, NOCs and SOCs. As a result, businesses are maxing out their efficiency levels, which has allowed them to continue to grow despite of the skilled labor gap.

Increasing Challenges on the Security Front…

Of course, the discussion between Guy and Stefania naturally turned to the growing concern all organizations are currently facing in terms of cyber-security. As Guy pointed out, the greatest challenge lies in misplaced focus of efforts. It’s not just about protecting sensitive data and networks against potential breaches, but also detecting and remediating incidents as quickly and effectively as possible. Equally important is eliminating manual response tactics, which are ineffective against today’s threats, like ransomware. Incorporating automation into the incident response strategy is key to enabling faster containment, eradication and recovery.

MSPs and Automation Go Hand in Hand…

Many in the IT field mistakenly believe that IT process automation software developers, like Ayehu, are somehow in competition with Managed Service Providers. But as Guy clarified, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, while many organizations opt to use automation in order to keep IT tasks in-house, the MSPs themselves are also adopting automation technology to improve and enhance their own operations. He also pointed to a Gartner prediction that MSPs will reduce their workforce by 20 percent thanks to IT process automation – and all while maintaining the same (or better) levels of performance. The cost savings realized by this will make successful MSPs more profitable, agile and competitive.

Other noteworthy things touched upon in the article include how the cloud / MSP model is a very real and effective solution, especially for mid-sized organizations with limited IT staff; what emerging technologies are expected to further disrupt the business world and how channel partners are keeping up with the latest trends and developments.

Guy also shared a sneak peek at what he’ll be doing during his upcoming session at the ITEXPO in Fort Lauderdale, FL from Feb. 8 – 10, who should consider attending and why. Among other things, his session entitled “Why Automation is Critical for MSPs to Succeed” will be designed specifically for MSP executives and operations staff members who are struggling to remain competitive in the rapidly changing MSP landscape. Some of the exciting topics covered will include:

  • Enabling Scalability without Increasing Head Count
  • Putting an End to Firefighting
  • Eliminating the Need for Complicated Scripting and more
You can read the full MSP Today interview here. For more information about the ITEXPO or the collocated MSP Expo, please click on the corresponding hyperlinks. And, to download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare IT process automation tool, click here.

eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s

3 Steps for Using IT Process Automation to Optimize the MSP Role

3 Steps for Using IT Process Automation to Optimize the MSP RoleAs 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Ready to take that first step and start harnessing the power of automation for your company? It’s a simple as downloading a free 30 day trial of eyeShare. What are you waiting for? Your future profitability awaits. Click here to get started!

eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s

5 Reasons MSPs Need IT Process Automation

why MSPs need IT process automation

Managed service providers (MSPs) are certainly no strangers to change. In a world where tools and technology are constantly evolving, MSPs are on the front line of many of these changes, and it looks like there may be no end in sight. This is particularly true in terms of automation, or more specifically, how automation will impact how these talented professionals do their jobs and realize continued success. That said, here are five reasons why It process automation will be a must for MSPs over the coming years.

Realize Your Own Savings – There’s no doubt about it, the MSP industry is becoming extremely saturated. The only way to stay ahead of the game is by keeping your own operational costs as low as possible. IT process automation is by far the most effective tool to accomplish this goal. So, not only will you stay on top of the changes as they occur within your industry, making you that much more valuable to your clients, but you will also do so in a way that keeps your business lean.

Exhibit the Value Behind the Service – Being successful as a managed service provider is all about being able to sell your services, and the best way to do this is by demonstrating the value you provide to your customers. Key decision makers must be able to see exactly why relying on your services is truly worth it. Automation can help demonstrate this value in a number of ways. First, because automation is so cost-effective, you can essentially pass along that savings to your customers, offering them better service at a lower price. IT process automation can also make transitioning to the cloud much easier and less complicated, something many organizations are expected to be doing over the next few years.

Remain Competitive – Unfortunately, as with most industries, the IT field is slowly but surely becoming commoditized. This means that larger organizations will begin to try to outpace smaller, more value-driven ones based on price alone. In order to stay afloat in this type of environment, you must find a way to offer value while also remaining competitive price-wise. Automation for managed service providers allows you to do both of these things, improving operational efficiency, cutting costs and providing ammunition to out-compete others in the industry.

Gain Efficiency, Scalability and Profitability – What happens when your bottom-line price simply can’t match or beat that of your competitors? As prices are expected to continue to be driven down by increasing commoditization, you simply must find a way to compete in other ways besides the price tag on your services. This is accomplished by becoming the most efficient and scalable option for your clients and automation is the best way to achieve this goal. Also, because automation increases the efficiency of each employee, it in turn drives your own profitability. It’s a win-win.

Leverage the Opportunity of the Cloud – Despite how inherently untrue it may be, organizations of every size, shape and industry are being assured on a regular basis that transitioning to the cloud is both efficient and easy. Of course, experienced MSPs know that this is far from the truth. In reality, integrating and managing multiple systems in a virtual environment is extremely complex. So, if this is what the customers are going to want, how can you effectively meet their needs without breaking the bank and exhausting all of your own resources? IT process automation which will take much of the complexity out of the process and allow you to leverage the value of the cloud to become your clients’ most trusted advisor.

Like it or not, there are plenty of changes coming up the pike in terms of how MSPs will be able to do their jobs most efficiently and continue to remain successful in an increasingly competitive field. IT process automation will, without a doubt, become the most valuable tool in achieving these goals.

Don’t get left behind! Start leveraging the power of automation for your organization and be prepared to face the future head on. Click to get started today!

eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s

How Leveraging a Virtual Operator Could Transform IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

Managed Service ProvidersIt’s happened time and time again: large corporations wavering between total in-house IT and complete outsourcing, only to discover that neither option provides a truly cost effective and efficient solution. Such was the case with European oil company Rompetrol, who seesawed between both approaches, all the while wasting value time, money and resources only to lose control over their IT altogether. This all changed, however, when CIO Marcel Chiriac took over in 2012.

Upon discovering that the outsourcing firm the company had hired had grossly mishandled things, Chiriac took on the daunting task of getting things back under control as quickly as possible. Weighing his options, and considering the fact that shifting everything back to in-house again that fast would be just short of impossible, Chiriac opted instead for a hybrid IT environment. This provided the “best of both worlds” in terms of control and efficiency.

The first step in the process involved putting together a team of IT professionals with whom he could work to renegotiate contracts with the many software vendors Rompetrol dealt with. Chiriac’s in-house team then had the job of evaluating the state of the company’s IT infrastructure since it had been managed by the previous provider. The results were disheartening. Additionally, the outsourcing provider refused to cooperate with the transition, making the process extremely frustrating and arduous.

Knowing he was working with a timeframe of just 3 months, Chiriac knew that using traditional technologies simply wouldn’t be sufficient to gain control over and document the asset transfer process. He decided that IT process automation might be his best option for meeting the tight deadline and getting the company’s IT performance back up to par. The new IT provider got to work extracting the information needed to allow Rompetrol to begin securing their scattered and vulnerable infrastructure.

Perhaps the most important step taken during this 3 month period was the introduction of “virtual operators”. These are essentially just IT service robots which helped to quickly identify the exact network composition. In addition to facilitating the consolidation and optimization of the company’s infrastructure, these virtual engineers also enabled in-house IT professionals to manage incidents more proactively. This allowed problems to be resolved quickly and efficiently, improving performance and service levels.

Within just one month’s time, automated solutions had been put in place for more than 2,000 items, including switches and servers for over 750 of Rompetrol’s gas stations. There has only been one single outage since the shift to the new hybrid model, and it’s succeeded in reducing operating costs by 27%. At this point, the internal IT team is able to focus on further optimization needs.

Beyond what this means for other companies looking to cut costs and improve IT operations, the use of virtual operators is poised to revolutionize things for managed service providers.  IT Automation will open up new avenues of opportunity to provide enhanced levels of support, maximize internal resources, lower costs and maintain competitive advantage. As businesses begin to recognize this hybrid approach, they will begin to once again look to managed service providers to help them achieve the best of both worlds in terms of control, IT security and efficiency.

Are you an managed service provider that would like to become part of a success story like that of Rompetrol?  IT Automation is the tool you need to jump ahead of the game. 

eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s