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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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How to Reduce Operational Expenses and Increase Revenue

Posted January 18, 2017by Ben Barker

How to Reduce Operational Expenses and Increase Revenue.jpg

Where has the IT industry been and where is it going? When Eric Townsend, Director of MSP and SMB Marketing for Intel Corporation, joined us for last week’s webinar titled “The Top 5 Ways to Reduce Operational Expenses and Increase Revenue in 2017,” this is the question we began with. “Where have we been and where are we going?" For many of us in the IT industry, we’re probably familiar with the answer to the first part of this question. However the second part, "where are we going?," has a more surprising answer. According to Townsend, we are heading toward the world of managing all devices.

While that notion sounds a bit daunting, it also equals a ton of opportunity for MSPs – so long as they keep up with the transformation. To highlight the importance of being able to adjust to transformation in the industry, Townsend referenced some companies that weren't quite able to keep up.

companies-that-have-not-adjusted-to-transformation

The opportunity for MSPs here lies in the increase of devices because, simply put, managing more devices means more revenue. Townsend then went on to outline the five ways that MSPs can increase revenue in 2017 while also reducing operational expenses.

1. Change Your Technology Conversation

What kinds of conversations are you having with your clients? Below, you’ll see the results from a poll taken during the webinar that asked this very question. As you can see, the results varied.

poll-results-intel

These conversations set the tone for your client relationships, and sometimes even your MSP service level agreements. Looking forward to 2017, Townsend urged attendees to focus their conversations with clients on automating instead of managing. When it comes to making that switch, there are three conversation topics to consider.

1) What new automation tools will you be implementing in 2017?
2) What area in your company has the most manual costs associated with it?
3) What hardware security automation will you be implementing in 2017?

When it comes to the topic of automation, some of your clients may not be thinking about it or planning anything specific. However, this is a golden opportunity for you to have talking points at the ready for their unique vertical and the trends that exist.

2. Standardize Your Hardware and Software Solutions

Standardizing hardware and software solutions can be tough – most of the time it’s easier said than done. There are various types of companies that sell hardware, and there are a lot of software solutions as well. So, how do you standardize? There are solutions out there, such as Intel's vPro technology, that can help with this, and the benefits are clear.

One Continuum partner had this to say about standardizing their hardware and software solutions.

"It lets us have a single pane where we can see all the endpoints we manage. We manage more than 800 endpoints, so the time savings help us improve our margin."


3. Change Your Marketing Conversation

When you're marketing and talking about your company's solutions, you should be talking about compliance instead of security. Why? Because talking about compliance is a more proactive conversation. When talking about compliance, you need to make your clients realize the risk that comes when they are not compliant. Townsend again highlights three conversation topics to consider when talking to clients or potential clients.

1) How are you going to deal with financial risks?
2) How are you going to deal with reputational risks?
3) How are you going to deal with operational risks?

All of these risks are things that people need to think about proactively. If they respond reactively to any of those conversation topics, it very well could be too late. The damage associated with financial, reputational or operational risk can often times be too much to overcome for SMBs.

The final two methods of increasing revenue and reducing operational expenses were to "Focus on Managing New Work Environments Vs Individual End Points" and "Scale Expertise at the Edge." To hear Townsend speak to these final points in more detail, check out the full on-demand version of the webinar here.


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Ben is a member of Continuum's marketing team. He specializes in blog content as well as video production. Ben is a graduate of Emerson College and a huge Boston sports fan.

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