How to overcome the top challenges faced by MSPs today
MSPs are under more pressure than ever to evolve their business in line with advancing technology and are wasting no time in discovering new margin-rich areas to increase their growth.
Every day I’m approached by MSPs who are feeling the pressure to evolve their business - many see it as a case of ‘adapt or die’.
This week I’m sharing some of my experiences of the most common challenges that are being faced by MSPs and how we’ve been working together to try and overcome them.
The state of the economy
This has got to be the most common challenge I’m presented with.
Clients are squeezing MSPs from a budgetary perspective, so how do we deliver services which still produce a decent margin but in turn help reduce our clients’ OPEX?
My response is always the same. You’ve got to focus on services which do the following things:
- Optimise productivity and deliver operational efficiency. By providing a solution which can streamline your clients’ existing processes, this can in turn help to reduce their cost of doing business. Wasted time, equals wasted money.
- Reduce labour costs by minimising human involvement. Labour accounts for around 70% of overall business costs and with labour costs rising, organisations need to find creative ways to avoid incurring additional man hours. Look at how you can automate processes which would otherwise require manual input or involvement.
So, what should I be telling my clients?
- Embracing technology is one of the best ways to reduce OPEX costs. There’s an online system or software program designed to easier manage the facets of business across all business functions these days. It’s just a case of recognising what your business does well and identifying where excessive time is being spent on time-consuming tasks to identify the areas where you could be relying on technology.
- Outsourcing and shifting the responsibility of specific business tasks can in fact reduce costs. It may seem that outsourcing to another vendor will mean spending more money but leaving it to someone else can really benefit your business in the long run. Leaving some of your tasks to the experts means no need to employ additional resource to learn new systems and set up new processes, essentially saving you heaps of time and money in the process.
With SaaS solution bundling on the increase, a question I’m commonly asked is, “how can I create a margin-boosting ‘holistic solution’ for my clients?”.
IDC forecasts 70 percent SaaS revenuein the channel by 2020.
With the move to the cloud, clients are keen to replace on-premise solutions with cloud-based ones.
This means MSPs need to focus on building their cloud expertise and providing more SaaS solutions to their clients.
Identify solutions which integrate seamlessly with each other and when looking at SaaS solutions, find a platform which aggregates cloud solutions into a single portal so that processes can be managed and automated via a centralised point of control.
Forrester predicts that more than 50% of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform to drive digital transformation in 2018.
As a result of this mass-migration to the cloud, MSPs are increasingly being approached by clients looking for solutions to better protect and manage their cloud data.
So, what advice would I give to MSPs looking to boost their margin and differentiate themselves from the competition?
- Consider all levels of data protection from start to finish – provide solutions to manage the entire data lifecycle.
- Review solutions that can integrate with each other or compliment each other to provide an entire solution suite.
- Offer on-boarding services. Help your customer move from their private server or data centre to your cloud service. Arrow asset recovery services can help and acquire old servers and storage equipment that will become redundant after migrating to your cloud service. Assets can be erased and sanitised from data on-site or, if transported securely, to a specialist facility.
- Don’t be afraid of discussing cloud exit services even if you plan on retaining the customer long term. Showing that you are compliant, prepared and can offer full control of data and data-end-of-life on the day a customer wants to downsize or restructure their cloud services, will convey trust and security.
- Have hybrid solutions to offer. Often most customers will cherish an opportunity to keep some infrastructure and data on-site under full control and be willing to outsource other processes and areas of data management to a cloud service. Being able to adapt and move in between solutions to follow changes in regulatory requirements and industry best practices can be very valuable.
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