Common Problems Faced By MSPs (Managed Service Providers)
The provision of managed services is undoubtedly one of the prime, lucrative ecommerce ventures in 2015. There is an increasingly growing market base of organizations already contemplating and strategizing on integrating managed services to improve their overall IT operations. 43% of IT executives, including those who are yet to leverage managed services, are increasing their IT budgets to take advantage of optimized resources and subsequently boost the efficacy of their architectures. Overall, the average predicted budget increase in 2015 is 13.1%.
This trend is not only benefitting vendors and organizations adopting managed resources but also technology workers. With the number of jobs are expected to increase by 18% over the next 8 years, managed services are already stirring a lot of excitement in the industry, especially because the rate is considerably higher compared to 10.8% in other regular industries.
With such promising statistics, more entrepreneurs are expected to proceed investing in the industry. If you are one, it’s time you braced yourself for a market that requires strategic approaches and clinical executions of your stratagems. A simple miscalculated procedure could grant your competitors significant advantage over you, consequently risking the well-being of your entire business. You should therefore comprehend and prepare yourself for all the possible errors and challenges you are bound to encounter as you rollout your products. Here are some of the most common problems faced by MSPs:
Poor Marketing Programs
Since managed services are primarily tech based, the venture majorly attracts techno gurus with the requisite computer skills but insufficient knowledge on other critical business strategies, including marketing.
Marketing is arguably the single most critical strategy of creating product awareness for subsequent lead prospecting and conversion. Without it, an enterprise would quickly loose out to the competition. Unfortunately, many MSPs struggle with strategizing and running their marketing campaigns particularly during the roll out process.
The first step to countering this problem, of course, is getting rid of the “tech guy” mentality. Tech guys can also be great marketers- all it requires is quick comprehension of some basic marketing principles. Additionally, they can effortlessly leverage tech marketing tools like the internet (social media, search engines, etc) to engage prospective clients and convert them. Another helpful strategy is networking through your clients, peers and partners to create more business opportunities. To cap it all, you could consider outsourcing some of the larger marketing projects to third party professional marketing firms.
Constant Data Security Threats
According to a survey by Sonian on managed service providers, 68.2% of the companies are increasingly concerned about preserving valuable business data, and 54.5% are more focused on protecting IP from constant security threats, which include:
- Data Loss
- Data Breach
- Shared Service Threats
- Browser Threats
- Inside Threats
- Denial of Service
- Unstable APIs
- Account Hijacking
Each of these threats presents significant challenges not only to MSPs but also to reliant businesses. It’s therefore very important to install protective and countermeasures to detect and avert any risks before they develop into full blown attacks. You should also consider backing up all your data and setting up disaster management and recovery protocols to reduce the damages in case of an attack.
95% of managed services providers acknowledge that successful partnerships form sustainable platforms to facilitate effective support, distribution and sale of their products. Unfortunately, a significant number of them find the process of successfully establishing symbiotic partnerships quite challenging. In most cases, the main reason is that willing prospective partners don’t have the requisite resources to support their corresponding MSPs’ strategic plans. Even when they find good potential partners, they are repelled by unfavorable terms of partnership.
The only effective way around this problem is taking your time as you review potential partnerships. Assess all the available prospective partners and their resources to ensure that they come with superior support, sales enablement tools and other critical product distribution and management tools. When you make up your mind on a suitable partner, discuss and draft symbiotic terms of agreement which are favorable to both of you.
Insufficient or Underused Staff
Staffing is not only a major problem to managed service providers, but also to other businesses. Although, normal operations are crippled due to either insufficient or underused staff, it goes unnoticed due to lack of standardized performance indicators. Most of the affected MSPs are yet to implement employee KPIs, and hence cannot correctly evaluate their state or performance. In other cases however, executive members are aware of their staff difficulties but a bit reluctant to implement the requisite correctional measures.
Although you can evaluate your staff simply by observing them over a long period of time, the most efficacious method of doing this is implementing key performance indicators on your entire work force. The automated system will track and analyze their individual and collective efforts vis-à-vis the targeted business standards and goals. Ultimately, you’ll be able to correctly determine the staff weaknesses in your MSP business and subsequent potential correctional measures. If your staff is insufficient for instance, you could outsource some of the less critical tasks to external workers to improve service delivery.
Despite being the most common problems, these challenges are not guaranteed on your business. You could evade them by carefully strategizing on every aspect of your organization. Additionally, since this list is not comprehensive on all the possible problems that could occur, you should be on the lookout for other challenges that could potentially reduce efficiency levels in your service delivery process. The most reliable method of evading them is consulting an experienced MSP counterpart for pointers on how to effectually run your business.
Author: Davis Porter
Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, iosphere