Are you a modern MSP?

Illustration: Ram Prasath

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What does it take to be the modern MSP your clients are looking for?

Your clients don’t want you to (just) monitor devices anymore. They want you to lead their workforce with predictive analytics and intelligence.

Your clients don’t want you to adapt to the problems of tomorrow. They want you to be the future, always looking ahead, ready to chase their vision through uncertainties.

They want a “modern” MSP.

The modern MSP

Up until a few years ago, managed service providers were little more than glorified IT repair folks. Engaging in break-fix practices was the answer to the question of what will drive business growth and revenue. You set up a break-fix shop,  people call you when something is broken, you fix it, and get paid.  The goal was to have a roster of clients or an assembly line of clients to keep the business afloat. You might have revenue, but it was far from being consistent or predictable. 

It’s not like life was any easier on the other side either. Internal IT teams and companies without one were constantly on the lookout for on-demand break-fixers who check out the moment the issue is fixed. Hopping from vendor to vendor led to surface-level, transactional relationships.

The IT landscape evolved quickly. More digitization, more collaboration, more servers to monitor, more loopholes for security issues to creep through, and more need for a consolidated “managed service”, rather than hit-and-run services. 

Managed service wasn’t born right away. Value-added resellers (VARs) were the next viable option, as they brought efficiency into IT services with the turnkey solutions they made out of third-party hardware and software offerings. Although the channel had figured out revenue generation at this point, it still remained out of reach for small and mid-market businesses. Price point and rarity were the culprits.

Thanks to the arrival of commercially viable, out-of-the-box remote monitoring tools, break-fixers and VARs were able to shape into managed service providers, who don’t just fix things, who don’t just sell an upgraded product, but offer a consolidated tech stack for all IT needs, help clients understand how to use it, and provide support so the clients derive the maximum value out of their MSP offerings. 

The idea of what it means to be a modern MSP slowly transfigured over time. At one point, providing continued maintenance over on-demand support was considered modern. Then it was providing streamlined services with the necessary tech stack.

But, what does it mean today? Are you a modern MSP?

From surviving to thriving

If you’re constantly swept away with the day-to-day affairs of managed services, you’re probably not a modern MSP yet. Modern managed service providers look beyond all these, towards how they can drive maximum efficiency into operations, with automation and standardization of processes. Automation is the first step towards “modern”, as it brings predictability into the chaos-prone managed services channel.

From “hey, IT guy” to “my trusted adviser”

Once you move away from survival mode, you will have a blank canvas of endless possibilities. You can literally do anything to make your service better, and your client will notice it because they might not be used to an MSP who adds value and not just sells IT tools or offers support. But that’s where the MSP world is pivoting towards - trusted advisers, who, while delivering technology services, go beyond. They understand and deliver more than the technology needs of their clients and add strategic values to fulfill their business strategies.

From operating to transforming

From standardizing undefined processes to automating recurring processes for more efficiency, managed service providers have come a long way. You’re always looking at a tech stack that’s more efficient, workflows that are more cost-effective, and ways to maximize the value provided to clients, through IT practices that positively impact their business goals.  

And that's when you know you are a modern MSP.

You know what a client wants from you

The needs of IT leaders are evolving, and MSPs are evolving with them. Whether you are always ahead of the game or are open to pivoting your practice towards the future should the situation call for it, your clients ultimately want only one thing: An MSP who takes their mind off of all things IT and never frowns at, but instead embraces, changes.

The question is Are you one?

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