The managed services market is continuing to grow and, along with it, the expectation that solution providers take the next step and handle services remotely themselves rather than deploying a project and handing the keys over to the enterprise. The proof is in the numbers, with the market for managed services speculated to grow from $145.33 billion in 2016 to $242.45 billion in 2021.
With the model becoming more popular, demands will continue to grow on solution providers to take an active role in the management of various elements of their clients’ IT presences. The solution providers that can stay on top of these demands stand to be positioned for success as the model matures.
Every business—and every business relationship—is different. But by developing these habits for partnering as a managed services provider (MSP) (some of which are addressed in part in this Redmond Channel Partner article), you can make sure that you’re partnering with the right kind of clients and keeping them happy. This will result in longer and more profitable relationships, and that all-powerful word-of-mouth endorsement that’s key to helping you build your business.
Understand What’s Happening Client-Side
Whether you’re partnering with a small or medium-sized business (SMB) for the first time or you’re already selling services and solutions to the client and are moving into managing some of the services in addition to the ones you’ve sold or deployed, it’s critical that you understand what your role is—and that everyone on the client side does as well. If, because of miscommunications, you end up signing a contract to provide services in a way that doesn’t actually address the needs of the company, you’re going to be setting up a client for disappointment and setting your own staff up for frustration. This isn’t the kind of relationship you want to foster. Instead, make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what you’re managing, how managed services are being integrated into the day-to-day operations of the business, and how the roles of remote IT staff complement that of what’s going on in-house.
Make Security Part of the Value Proposition
Having an external provider manage any service within an organization requires a certain degree of trust on the part of the client. With the rapidly expanding number of cybersecurity threats out there, it’s critical that MSPs keep security top of mind. The truly successful MSP will go beyond just running security updates and implementing perimeter security and move into building out the right kind of usage policies, understanding and acting on digital threat intelligence, and managing other parts of the security equation that aren’t necessarily technological in nature, but are critical to keeping today’s networks safe.
Stay on Top of the Trends (Tech and Otherwise)
It’s not just the MSP market that is growing and changing—all enterprise technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Within each given area that an MSP operates, technological innovations are making it so that what an MSP provided just a year or two ago might not adequately meet the needs of a workplace. For instance, having a unified communications (UC) suite that didn’t include video conferencing was fine for an office in the fairly recent past. These days, video conferencing is UC table stakes. So make sure that what you’re offering—and what you’re providing—speaks to the needs of today’s business landscape, not the way people were doing business a few years ago.
And the trends you should be watching extend beyond the confines of technology. Be aware of the types of businesses that are popping up and the specific IT needs evolving for given areas of business. If you find that you’re especially adept at meeting the needs of one type of SMB, brand yourself to appeal to that industry and sell accordingly. That way, you can build a client base, hone expertise, and become a known quantity for meeting the specific IT needs of a particular kind of business.
What other habits have you seen lead to success for MSPs?