How to stay ahead of your clients’ complex IT needs

An organisation’s IT eco-system continues to become increasingly complex, thanks to the hundreds of software packages, components, users, applications and processes in play. This makes the responsibilities of MSPs incredibly challenging but if you want to stay ahead of your clients’ complex IT needs, there are some steps you can take. 

 

Diversify to differentiate your business

Most MSPs offer the standard services of infrastructure management, technical support and endpoint security, but as clients’ needs continue to expand and evolve, adding less commoditised services to your offering will give you the edge over the competition. 

 

Cybersecurity is becoming ever more important. According to Checkpoint’s ‘Cyber Attack Trends: 2021 Mid-Year Report’, cyberattacks on businesses across the world have increased by 29% in the last six months alone. Therefore, being able to offer a service which supercharges clients’ vulnerability management efforts would be a smart route to take. 

 

It’s no longer possible for most businesses to patch every vulnerability that their scanners identify so a good additional service would be one of vulnerability prioritisation, where you sort a client’s vulnerabilities in order of criticality. RankedRight is an automated triage system which ranks vulnerabilities based on the rules the user has put in place, so they can spend their time tackling the most critical issues and keep the company safe. Simply click here to partner with RankedRight and add this as a new service to generate an additional revenue stream.

 

For other ways to differentiate your MSP business, read our guide here.

 

Automate where possible

Cutting out the time spent on administration or low level tasks through automation could give your business greater resource and headspace for diversification, training and client relations. In the example above, the automation of vulnerability prioritisation can save a team hundreds of hours a month.

 

If your business uses timesheets, and employees record at task level, then take some time to assess the areas that could be automated. 

 

Scale or outsource

Using the same exercise outlined above by assessing timesheets, you could identify tasks that are taking up a great deal of time, not because they should, but because your team doesn’t have sufficient skills and knowledge to do them efficiently. And this could mean that the clients aren’t getting the best service in these areas either.

 

In this case, it would be recommended to consider one of two things to improve your service quality and delivery: outsourcing or scaling up through a merger or acquisition.

 

With a global IT skills shortage in play and training costing time and money, partnering with another MSP could be the quickest solution to ensure you can always adapt to meet your clients’ complex IT needs. It will also ensure that you continue to only provide your clients with what you can do well.

 

Clarity and education

One of the biggest challenges facing MSPs is communicating to clients the value they bring. As a result, it has sadly become a race to the bottom on price.

 

If you do not wish to compete in this race and want to offer a high quality service to clients then building a programme to educate them on the following would be recommended: 

 

  • What “you get what you pay for” means in IT managed services

 

  • That you take time to understand their business goals and help them better use technology to meet those goals 

 

  • How complex their IT needs are and why they need a bespoke package delivered by a highly experienced, specialist team 

 

  • That you will provide responsiveness, expertise, and long-term solutions

 

This information should be made available on your website as well as all sales content.

 

Then make sure that throughout the client relationship, you are providing evidence of the value you are bringing with service level agreements, reporting, face-to-face meetings and more.

 

Resist negotiations on price

Because the industry is full of competition with a large number of players racing to the bottom no matter what quality they provide, it’s likely new and existing clients will try to negotiate with you on price. Resist. If you lower your prices, how will you be able to afford to invest in what is required to maintain your high standards and meet your clients’ complex IT needs?

 

Pay close attention to your clients

We listed above a number of ways you can keep close to clients to demonstrate the value you are bringing but having a strong relationships can also help in other ways. You can build your awareness of how their priorities and challenges are changing and adapt your business offering to match.

 

For this, a dedicated client contact would be helpful as well as regular client satisfaction surveys.

 

This communication might also help you identify any clients that are not profitable for you or whose expectations are not achievable. Cut them loose. Your resource can get a better return elsewhere.

 

Make their needs less complex

Our final recommendation for staying ahead of your clients’ complex IT needs, is to help them make them simpler. Perhaps a service could be an IT eco-system assessment whereby you take an inventory of every single IT component and app and scan for weak areas or suboptimal processes to then build a programme to streamline their systems for greater stability and security.

 

As an MSP, you will constantly be asked to do more with less. It’s a tough and competitive business environment but there are steps that can take to help you stay ahead of your clients’ complex IT needs such as automation, education and client relations. And when agility is key, don’t be afraid to partner with other MSPs who provide services you cannot.