Having spent the last 10 years working in the IT Services sector, I have seen first-hand the transformation of the Managed Services Provider or the MSP as we are commonly known.
Back in the early 2000’s, IT Support was very much based around maintenance contracts with a break/fix approach. Customer satisfaction was largely based on how quickly an IT company could respond and fix a reactive issue and these reactive issues were simply billed in time and materials. Looking back, this was quite a negative service because the IT Company benefited from the clients misfortune and with no commitment very little incentive to be preventative. Something had to change.
A few years later we saw the emergence of the Managed Service Provider (MSP) and the Service proposition became very different. Managed Services are typically designed around delivering a fully unlimited managed service for an all-inclusive fee. This became desirable to clients because for a simple flat fee everything was taken care of and it was easy to budget for too. This “all you can eat” model changed the dynamics of IT Service Delivery because no longer did the MSP make money from the clients misfortune (like in the break/fix model), but now with an “unlimited service”, downtime became mutually painful for both parties, after all, the risks were now mutual.
This change in dynamic was the catalyst which forced MSP’s to re-think their proposition and this led to a need for the service to be more proactive which has defined the modern day MSP. MSP’s had to get more proactive thus reducing risk for both themselves and the client with added benefit of becoming more efficient, reducing risk and increasing service quality. This led to the introduction of more intelligent IT tools which could monitor infrastructure so small issues could be detected mitigating the risk of a major outage. The trouble is, even though the monitoring software may well prevent a bigger issue emerging later, if you weren’t expecting an alert from the monitoring software, this is still by definition ‘reactive’ time.
So fast forward to today and where are we? The Managed Services model continues to evolve and while new ingredients are added to the MSP services, the same goal is always there – to increase the quality of service and also the efficiency.
MSP’s are having to keep innovating to offer the best service whilst still remaining competitive. As a result, smaller MSP’s can suffer from a lack of resource and require their techs to “wear multiple hats” which can be the enemy of true proactivity. As a busy MSP it’s all too easy for tech’s to get pulled into the reactive support vacuum.
But, to be truly proactive, we believe the answer is dedicated delivery areas outside of a reactive support desk. This very structure allows us to provide a sustainable proactive service to our clients and this key differentiator sets us apart from an average MSP.
We have “Behind the scenes” delivery areas driving efficiency, preventing issues through best practices and processes. Our best practices are distilled from all the collective technical brilliance across our Senior Techs. Using this super database, we have scheduled proactive time on our clients infrastructure, leaving no stone unturned and comparing our findings against these best practices. We meet quarterly with your leaders and discuss your business not just statistics showing that we are delivering the service we said we would.
Although having more delivery areas making up the Service could mean a higher entrance fee, the benefits of being part of this far out weight the costs. Paying less for a reactive service is not going to help your business.
When an MSP becomes truly proactive not only will the client see the benefits through increased reliability and greater productivity while enjoying less reactive tickets and less business risk.
So we can conclude that not calling your IT Company is better value for your business.
Written by Simon Moore, Technical Services Director – With 20 Years’ experience in technical roles, including the investment banking sector, Simon combines and obsession for customer service excellence with a passion for technology. Since joining Select Technology in 2006 he has transformed our services business and now focus his time on the strategic direction and leadership.