Three Outcomes for Managed Services

BY IT GLUE | January 27, 2015

The Managed Services industry is evolving and many companies are adopting similar best practices around tools, people and processes to deliver great service, attract new prospects, and retain existing clients. In reality, most MSPs are really seeking three key outcomes:

1. High quality, predictable service levels
2. Strategic direction for technology
3. Healthy operating margins

1. High quality, predictable service levels

The most successful MSPs monitor Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to ensure a very predictable outcome for service requests. In order to deliver on an SLA, you must track SLA compliance. A great, first step towards delivering a quality, predictable service is monitoring average resolution time for standard service requests, often known as Priority 3 (P3). If this number is greater than 8 business hours, your clients are mostly likely feeling the pinch.

Once you’ve got that under control, it’s worth looking at same-day resolution. How many requests that came into your service desk today were resolved today? If you’re hitting 60-70% or more you’re doing pretty well. Finally, what is your re-open rate? It’s not all about closing tickets – clients would rather you keep the ticket open longer and solve it permanently the first time, than have to re-open another request. Tracking all of these requires proactive service management, which often entails driving process enhancements, coaching, and people management. Delivering high quality service, of course, requires that you price your managed services properly AND that you allocate budget to delivery. This can be challenging, as you can’t hope to deliver this (even with brute force), if you don’t have the right people, processes and tools. Of course, one such tool you might want to consider is IT Glue! We can often increase the performance of your service desk by as much as 10-20% through standardized documentation and procedures.

2. Strategic direction for technology

Your customer demands the elusive “vCIO” services. Are you ready to deliver deep technology strategy in the boardroom, or are you mostly focused on fixing problems? If the latter, the first place to focus is in fixing the reactive service delivery model. Clients will be unwilling to listen to your strategic advice if they feel that you can’t keep the lights on.  You may want to take a look at the 7C service offering if you’re not sure how to move beyond reactive. Once you’ve solved the reactive service challenges, you’re ready to look at actually delivering technology strategy. There are several keys to delivering technology strategy and proactive service effectively:

  1. Make sure you have a workflow and system around delivery of strategic service, including phone calls, emails & quarterly business reviews (QBRs)
  2. A deep understanding of each phase including assessment, preparation, presentation, approval and delivery
  3. A clear delineation between steady-state services and the strategic technology delivery

3. Healthy operating margins

Better processes leads to increased services levels, which leads to more time for strategy, which leads to higher margins. And guess what? You’ll be making more money and your clients will be happy to pay whatever your fee is. It’s a novel concept that your clients actually WANT you to have healthy operating margins, because that’s how you deliver impeccable service. Not only that, but healthy margins means you will have a more inspiring business, better staff retention, and a lot less firefighting.

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