MSP Ecosystem – Over time, the IT services availed of by an organization are getting increasingly proactive. Gone are the days when every organization would hire an in-house IT team or IT professionals to look after their systems. The increased prevalence and demand for managed services have changed the approach towards IT services for good.
Instead of paying fixed salaries to in-house IT professionals, companies across the board prefer hiring managed service providers. These professionals help organizations manage their IT infrastructure, protect it, and assist the companies in carrying out their day-to-day IT operations in a remote and proactive manner.
As the managed services are provided on a contractual basis, organizations do not need to worry about paying the professionals when their services are not required. Here, the professionals are not affiliated with the organizations in any way and focus on improving the IT operations such by monitoring routers, servers, firewalls, implemented software, cloud security, and carrying out other relevant processes.
Managed service provider ecosystem (MSP) was initially limited to IT infrastructure and devices that focused on monitoring and managing servers and networks. Over time, the ecosystem has expanded, including services related to ongoing management, maintenance, and support to organizations.
Why Are IT Managed Services Valuable?
Especially in the case of small and medium enterprises, companies cannot afford to hire full-time IT professionals or set up an in-house team for managing the IT infrastructure of the company. In such cases, managed service providers act as a boon for the organizations wanting to avail of quality services while saving money.
Also, outsourcing IT managed services allows an organization to refrain from performing repetitive tasks and focus on the core internal matters. As the chunk of IT operations is managed by dedicated professionals, the internal employees can utilize their time on other issues that concern the organization.
As the managed service providers are not associated with the companies they work for, they often have an unwavering and highly focused approach to their job. This helps them get their work done in a much faster and more effective manner.
Some of the major business areas outsourced by organizations to MSPs include:
- Human resources
- Procurement and sourcing
- Vendor management
- Contract management and compliance
- Workforce management
- Contingent workforce management
However, in this article, we would focus more on the IT services offered by the MSPs.
Strengthening Your MSP Ecosystem
Owing to the high demand for managed service providers across the board, the competition in the industry has increased significantly. As more and more players are entering the market and providing a range of managed services, the need to stand out from the clutter.
If you are willing to reach out to your clients in the best way possible and make them choose you over your contemporaries, it is important to strengthen your MSP ecosystem. Once your MSP ecosystem is robust, you can ensure consistency and quality in your services to leverage your services and get the desired traction.
Here are some of the major tools a managed service provider should implement to strengthen their MSP ecosystem:
Data security assumed prime importance when it comes to keeping one’s system safe. In the age of digitization where almost every business process requires the use of valuable datasets, an organization cannot afford to lose their data or let it get stolen through frauds and unauthorized access.
Implementing security tools would certainly help you strengthen your MSP ecosystem. Cloud security monitoring has assumed prime importance as organizations in all major industries have started implementing cloud-based platforms.
In such a scenario, an ideal MSP software platform should ensure the utmost security of data through intrusion detection systems, web application firewalls, VPNs, and other multi-layer approaches to data security.
It is always advisable to have your MSP ecosystem use technologies like AI machine learning for detecting and preventing cyber threats. Once you are well-equipped with security tools, you can always leverage your managed services.
Remote Monitoring And Management (RMM) Tools
As the name suggests, Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) is the process of providing remote and proactive IT services to your clients revolving around monitoring system endpoints, computers, and networks. Through RMM, you can monitor the operational activities of your clients with the help of remote devices called “probes” or “monitors”. This allows you to provide effective cloud-based monitoring services to your clients from a secure location.
Some of the major functions of RMM include:
- Gathering valuable insights about client networks. This includes gathering data about the health of the system and providing reports about the same to the clients on a regular basis.
- Maintaining specific client systems and ensuring they are up to date
- Resolving issues before the client notices them
- Tracking issues and resolving them remotely via generating alerts/tickets
- Administering patches and installing software updates with the help of a single unified dashboard
- Automating scheduled maintenance tasks at the locations of your clients
- Administering multiple tasks simultaneously to multiple systems at once
Professional Services Automation (PSA) Tools
Professional Services Automation allows you to keep a track of the services provided by your team and the specific requirements of your clients by keeping a track of customer information, the work done so far, and other relevant details.
PSA tools can also be used for generating invoices for the managed services provided to your clients. They act as central repositories for all the data relevant to your MSP processes, inventory, clients, assets, billing time, etc.
Further, these tools help you and your team to stay on target for streamlined project management, ticket resolution, labor reporting, and other relevant performance indicators. As they help you in streamlining and automating several processes, it is advisable to connect all your managed services solutions to PSA tools for the best results.
Alert Management Tools
Clients always prefer working with MSPs who respond quickly to their requirements and get all the work done on time. In order to stay proactive and meet all service level agreement (SLA) requirements, it is important for you to respond to all the alerts related to your clients and their requirements.
Alert management tools help you in getting notified of all the alerts in real-time, escalating alerts based on their priority, and getting in touch with suitable staff members to respond to the alerts. This helps you in making sure that your entire team is on the same page and there are no unnecessary delays in the services you provide to your clients.
Data Analytics And Valuable Insights
Along with solving issues mentioned by your clients and carrying out activities like system monitoring, it is important for your MSP ecosystem to have tools to conduct data analytics and obtain valuable insights. These tools make use of AI and machine learning to assess specific datasets related to your clients and identify potential threats that require immediate attention. This helps you in staying ahead of the curve and be equipped with the right resources to tackle any problem encountered by the IT infrastructure of your clients.
Always make sure you are ready to deal with issues such as incomplete software installations, unpatched software, data duplication, and other common issues that can be resolved quickly. Also, performing data analytics would help you in suggesting personalized solutions to your clients, giving you an edge over your contemporaries!
Recovery And Backup Tools
Although cloud-based platforms allow organizations to store their data on a centralized platform, it is important for MSPs to have recovery and backup tools in their ecosystems. These tools help your clients in retrieving important data in case of accidental loss theft.
The Final Word
Make sure you implement these tools within your MSP ecosystems to provide holistic managed services to your clients and build a lasting relationship with them. Providing connected experiences to your clients and helping them operate their system by providing remote services are certainly the practices that will become even more prevalent in the days to come.