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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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The Benefits of Working with a BDR Provider That Owns Its Backup Technology

Posted November 15, 2016by Christina Hurley

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Managed services providers (MSPs) are trusted advisors to their clients. By acting as virtual CIO (vCIO), safeguarding the health of IT environments and maximizing the ROI of their clients’ IT budgets, MSPs are responsible for increasing the business efficiency and profitability of the organizations they serve. This relationship often starts with the implied trust of a customer that their MSP will deliver as promised in the sales cycle, and as time rolls by, that trust becomes more tangible based on the actual experience with their MSP.

As this trust grows, so does your responsibility as your clients' MSP. One area that you have significant influence over is the handling and protection of your clients' greatest business asset: their data. This trust is at its apex in the delivery of completely reliable and modern backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions.

With so much at stake, it’s vital that you minimize any concerns your clients might have with your business continuity offering by investing in the right BDR platform. So how do you know which solution is right for you? One easily identifiable and often overlooked way to do so is to work with an IT management platform provider that owns its BDR technology and handles service delivery of the product from top to bottom. This particular service is one that allows you to be as close to the source as possible, so let’s examine a few of the benefits you could receive.

Influence on Product Changes

When you work with a business partner that has complete ownership over its BDR technology, you can request additional features and functionality that will make you more productive and strengthen your overall offering. If the BDR solution you’re using is several touches away from you, then you likely won’t have much influence in changes that improve the BDR software’s performance. This could even cause you to miss out on the chance to test new product developments before they are implemented. While some might think it’s risky to be the first to try something new in a product offering, it can actually serve as a competitive advantage. Working directly with the owner of the BDR technology is a great opportunity to bring something to your clients before anyone else, thus possibly providing a first-mover advantage.

Elevated Level of Trust

Having a higher level of involvement in the product roadmap and other important aspects of a BDR offering can create a real trust between you and your provider. As an MSP, you strive to earn the trust of your clients – and part of that comes from having trust in the technology partners and vendors that sit behind you as you go to market. When you feel like you have a seat at the table in impacting product development, it allows you deliver BDR solutions to your clients with the utmost confidence. Having some input in the product roadmap and maintaining business interests that align with those of your BDR partner certainly signal a relationship that’s built to last, but how can it directly impact your business’ bottom line?

Independent Platform Pricing Protects Your Margins

There’s no middle man markup when a BDR provider owns all of its backup technology, which helps you avoid price ceilings that can result when subject to third-party technology. In purchasing a BDR platform subscription from an independent provider, you can protect your margins by increasing gross profitability. We all know that profit is inversely related to cost. The higher the expenditure, the lower your bottom line. Instead of having to pay extra for support once removed, work with a BDR partner that owns its solution, thereby allowing you to cut costs. To further increase profitability, you should look for BDR software and service delivery that helps you maintain financial stability by maximizing revenue.

Increased Client Satisfaction

Typically, the closer support is to the end-client, the more efficient the response and issue resolution. When a BDR platform provider owns and develops its entire BDR solution, any support calls that are taken are handled right then and there. Additionally, support staff will manage issues and answer questions in a timelier manner. These technicians will likely be more knowledgeable of the BDR product (and therefore understand its intricacies) if the solution is owned in-house. Increased familiarity with the backup technology ensures a higher degree of service delivery because you (and your end clients, by extension) don’t have to wait for a third-party vendor to deduce why the BDR software may be acting in a certain way. The less turnaround time to fulfill a client request, the better the client experience overall.

These latter two points will help you create loyal fans, increase client retention and capture more upsell and cross-sell revenue, without incurring the costs of losing business. As a result, independent BDR platforms can enable you to be more profitable in offering your business continuity services.

Conclusion

Whether you’re just getting into the BDR market for the first time or thinking about switching providers, you have to do your research and dig into what you’re actually getting in a BDR solution vs. just simply the shopping price. If your current provider doesn’t own all of their backup technology, you may want to start asking questions regarding their BDR offering to ensure that you’re getting the most value for your spend. Only after examining solutions under this lens can you accurately compare BDR platforms and make an informed purchasing decision.

The preceding article was adapted from Ben's SMB Nation guest blog post.

Business-Continuity-the-MSPs-guide-to-backup-and-disaster-recovery

Christina Hurley is a marketing team member at Continuum, focused on Marketing Operations. She is currently finishing up her B.S. in Economics, with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania. When she’s not in the classroom or creating compelling content for MSPs, you can find her in the pool training with the Penn Varsity Swim and Dive Team.

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