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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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Summer Trends and Stats Every MSP Should Know

Posted July 8, 2015by Lily Teplow

Summer is the most popular season for new trends to catch on. This season has most people saying “out with the old, and in with the new!” Even in the business world, it’s essential to stay up to date on current trends in order to keep your business in style. This is especially important to those working in the technology industry, where everything is constantly changing and upgrading.

There’s nothing more important than staying “in-the-know” this season, which is why the next item on our MSP Summer BuckIT List is to familiarize yourself with the industry you’re working in! Here are some key trends and statistics every MSP should know to help you prepare for the fast-changing future. Keep reading to see what’s in this summer, and what's going out of style.

 

Summer Trends of IT

We are living in an increasingly IT-centric world. Consumers are impacting the IT market, and their businesses are being equally impacted by the IT industry. I would normally call it a two-way street, but it’s more of a highway at the rapid rate it’s going. With more and more businesses relying on information technology, you need to monitor and take advantage of key trends and opportunities that are on the rise to better position your managed IT services.

As an MSP, you rely on serving and supporting your small-to-medium-sized clients, so let's first take a look at what's trending in the SMB market.

 

SMB Trends and Stats

Today’s SMBs are more dependent on technology than they were a year ago because it's integrated with their daily business processes and thus, determines their success. Investment in technology operations and initiatives has led to a new trend of increased IT staffing within SMBs.

IT Staffing Levels

Techaisle’s SMB and Midmarket Managed Services Adoption Trends research shows that staffing levels in businesses with 50 or more employees are increasing dramatically. Not only has the percent of businesses with full-time internal IT staff increased in the last five years, but also the average number of IT staff has tripled.

This trend is exactly reverse when it comes to microbusinesses with 1-19 employees. These smaller businesses are less likely to be able to support an internal IT staff because they are challenged with keeping up with the rapid expansion and growth of the IT industry and its technology. Data from Techaisle’s research indicated that 4% of microbusinesses have full-time internal IT staff. This presents an opportunity for you to act as an extension of their IT team!

For small businesses with about 20-99 employees, data shows that 28% have outsourced IT, vs. just 23% that rely on full-time internal IT staff. What does this mean? Increasingly, SMBs are looking externally for IT support and management. Your services are in greater demand!

Keep IT Simple

Businesses are taking on more technology and beginning to build more advanced systems, which is what drives the hiring of additional internal IT staff. However, these businesses aren’t just dealing with more technology, they’re dealing with more complex technology. They need the simplification you can provide them as their MSP and vCIO. The same Techaisle research indicates that 72% of IT staff within SMBs are looking for IT vendors and suppliers to help simplify their current technology in order to promote further understanding and reduce those dreaded tech-related pain points. Therefore, the key to tapping into this latest trend is to provide simplicity over everything else. One way to do this is to offer all of the IT services your client will need, rather than force them to turn to different vendors for BDR and MDM, for instance.

Cloud-gazing

Another popular trend in this market has more SMBs looking to the cloud. Recent SMB Group research shows that about 92% of SMBs are now using at least one cloud business solution, and 87% of SMBs are using at least one cloud infrastructure solution. Decision makers for these businesses are focusing on cloud-first approaches, which means that traditional outsourcing methods are going out of style, and cloud-based services are the new fad.

 

Managed IT Services Trends

The primary reason SMBs and other companies turn to MSPs is to improve the efficiency and reliability of their IT functions. Staying up to date on trends and patterns within the managed services market can provide you with opportunities to fine-tune your services to better support your clients.

How Are Businesses Using Managed IT Services?

According to CompTIA's 4th Annual Trends in Managed Services...

  • 70% of businesses are utilizing managed IT services for repair and/or troubleshooting this year. This figure has increased from 67% in 2013.
  • 51% of businesses are using managed IT services for general IT consulting this year, which is a small decrease compared to about 55% in 2013.
  • 48% of businesses are utilizing managed IT services for the deployment, installation, and/or integration of new technology this year, which has significantly decreased 10% since 2013.
  • 47% of businesses are using managed IT services for cybersecurity, which has increased 4% since 2013

Keep these stats in mind when positioning your services! If you know that almost half of your SMB prospects are wary of cyber threats, let them know how your services will protect their sensitive data when pitching your partnership. 

The bottom line is, you don’t want your clients throwing you away because your services are out of style. You also don't want to fall behind because you didn't properly seize a market need. Knowing the current trends and statistics of your industry is essential to keeping your business at the forefront of the trendsetters.

 

See also:

Meet Lily Teplow! After majoring in Communications and French, Lily graduated from South Carolina's Furman University and now takes on her new role as Content Marketing Associate and Blog Manager at Continuum. In her spare time, Lily enjoys singing, traveling, and cheering on her favorite Boston sports teams!

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