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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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Reasons to Use Managed IT Services in 2017

Posted February 3, 2017by Mary McCoy

Reasons to Use Managed IT Services in 2017.png

As cited in CompTIA's 5th Annual Trends in Managed Services report, "the global managed-services market is predicted to grow to $193B by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.5%." What is fueling this impressive level of adoption? Why are so many business owners fans of your business model? We dug into this report and more to examine the top reasons small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) list for working with MSPs and IT solutions providers. As you build your 2017 sales strategy, pay attention to these main market drivers.

Why SMB Owners Demand Managed Services

When thinking about how best to position your managed IT services, it's worth considering what points make for the most compelling sell. Remember that while you may think they should adopt your business model for one reason, they may have an entirely different set of priorities that you should appeal to first. So what should you lead with when marketing and selling to prospective clients? CompTIA research finds that the drivers for leveraging managed services can range from the desire to reduce costs to the belief that an outside party can provide top-notch security, uptime and general peace of mind. Using data presented in this CompTIA guide as reference, we'll break down these top drivers for you! So, why will businesses be seeking your managed services in 2017?

  1. Improved security
  2. Proactive approach to IT problems
  3. Better uptime
  4. Gain access to newer technologies
  5. Cost savings over in-house IT
  6. Peace of mind
  7. Free internal staff for strategic work
  8. Tap into cloud solutions
  9. Lack of internal IT
  10. Handle remote office IT

Let's take a deeper look into the top five drivers:

1. Enhanced Security

Laptops, desktops, smartphones, applications, tablets, servers, operating systems, browsers, wearable technology and the like all store and transmit data and thus require the strictest security measures. Prospective clients will turn to you out of fear of becoming the next headline in a high-profile data breach or data loss incident. Remind them of the most notorious examples highlighted in the media, and share the results and fallout.

Are you offering compliance as a service? If you're trying to convince a doctor's office to consider you, begin by stressing the importance of working with a HIPAA compliant IT solutions provider, one who understands HIPAA regulations and how to supplement them with additional managed security protocol, policies and procedures. Reference the Anthem data breach, which implicated one-third of Americans and compromised the medical data of nearly 100 million individuals. As CompTIA's study finds, security and data protection resonates with your target audience. Along these lines, compliance is becoming even more of an outsourced IT adoption driver for SMB owners, especially with regard to PCI security standards, since many businesses offer e-commerce on their websites.

2. Proactive Approach to IT Problems

This is a benefit of managed IT services that we discuss a lot because it is so important. Your clients don't want to have to worry about their daily IT operations. They don't want to have to second-guess the reliability and speediness of their network connection. Similarly, they don't want to have to worry about what the state their IT environment will be when they commute in to work each morning. They choose to work with an MSP because you can provide 24x7x365 coverage. Services like RMM and the security suite you offer detect potential disturbances and vulnerabilities, allowing you to resolve these problems before they develop into more critical threats. When you offer fully managed IT support, you can often troubleshoot and remediate glitches or bugs before the client is any the wiser. Again, they're paying you to worry about these things for them. Does a CEO have the time to verify that the backups his company has taken actually worked? We already know that data management is a top IT challenge for SMBs this year. So, in working with the right MSP, key executives can take advantage of proactive BDR solutions that offer business continuity by combining RMM intelligence with regular, encrypted backups, cloud computing capabilities and IT virtualization. 

3. Maximizing Uptime

Today, every business needs to be completely prepared for emergencies such as power failures, security breaches, data loss or other disasters that could damage their accounts and credibility. There’s a definite need for constant uptime and business continuity, and by including BDR as part of your IT services you’ll act as a turnkey solution to ensure the safety of your clients’ precious data in any disaster situation. As a trusted MSP, it’s your role to help clients and prospects identify and prevent the kind of damaging impact a downtime event could have on their business. To avoid long-term downtime, SMBs can leverage an MSP that will keep their IT systems running smoothly and efficiently, so they can focus on their core business operations. By outsourcing basic IT functions, SMBs will be able to maximize uptime and allocate their internal staff resources to focus on strategic projects and business activities that will help grow their business.

4. Access to Newer Technologies

Often, the SMBs you aim to partner with have over-burdened IT staff with employees who may lack the skills and training for certain tasks or can't handle the whole of the company's network on their own. In response, these companies recognize the value of working with an outside technical support team. Not only does IT outsourcing help with having an extra team of IT experts able to troubleshoot and remediate issues that arise, clients benefit from having access to the latest technology and business-grade solutions that maintain uptime and profitability, such as remote monitoring and management (RMM), backup and disaster recovery (BDR) and cloud computing. Investing in these tools increases the reliability of organizations' IT infrastructure. Investing in the managed services business model tackles existing labor constraints and prevents internal IT departments from always having to play catch-up. By working with an MSP, business can also receive a virtual CIO (vCIO) in addition to the business-grade technology for their IT infrastructure. A vCIO is able to understand and manage the evolving technology landscape – allowing your clients to better plan for the long term and scale their business. 

5. ROI/Cost Savings 

One of the biggest business values of managed services is greater cost savings. IT budgets consist of many items: hardware costs, software and network infrastructure costs and maintenance costs, to name a few. Also, the cost of labor is significant for any business, but especially for SMBs who rely on managed services providers. Maybe the company you want to work with needs to reduce the size of its IT department because the cost of paying their current staff is far too high. It could also be the case that the company has no dedicated IT team and employees are forced to compensate by performing technical tasks that are outside of their core area of expertise, slowing productivity and preventing the business from being able to grow. With the managed services business model, customers are able to more easily predict their IT costs on a month-to-month basis. Clearly break the ROI of managed services down for them, and explain how freeing up more staff time to devote to higher value projects they're properly equipped to manage increases productivity overall. Then, be sure to review these cost savings in your quarterly business reviews (QBRs). These meetings will help you prove that your services are indeed valuable and will help clients understand the part you play in helping them maximize employee productivity and satisfaction and reach their business goals.

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Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Demand Generation Programs Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary primarily manages the MSP Blog and has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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