Using Risk Assessments in QBRs and SLA Reviews

BY IT GLUE | July 15, 2019

Now that you’ve got a sense of how to track risk, and how to structure your risk assessments in your documentation system, the next step is to start getting genuine value from them. In this blog post, we’ll talk about two ways to do that, in QBRs and in SLA reviews.

Whether the SLA review is part of a quarterly business review or not, risk assessments can be used to showcase a few different things for your clients. First, the risk assessment can be used to highlight opportunities for improvement. Now, clients aren’t inherently receptive to risk mitigation, especially when doing so increases work on their end (hands up if you’ve had extended “debates” with a client about the merits of 2FA).

In situations like this, you can show how making hardware or software changes would improve your tech’s ability to hit SLA targets while simultaneously reducing risk for the client. “Noisy” environments tend to create more risk, because it is harder to service clients with a wide variety of overlapping tech. If a little extra work on the client end reduces downtime and resolution time, the risk assessment can be part of the supporting evidence to make your case.

A quarterly business review (QBR) is a more formal conversation, one that should beyond just the SLA review. The QBR is a great place to highlight the shared accountability model – your clients are also responsible for security and performance, because they have to sign off on the decisions that you make. Continuous improvement projects can be moved forward more easily if you have formal risk assessments that you can present as a precursor to the discussion about the solutions you wish to implement.

This conversation based on risk assessments and an evaluation of which changes need to be made to reduce needless risk, should occur regularly, and be a key driver for change. One of the biggest values of risk assessments is that they lie right at the heart of your clients’ business objectives. They want uptime, they want fast resolution of problems, and they are looking for you to deliver these things. If your recommendations can be tied back to these overall objectives in a formal way, you’ll have a much easier time motivating your clients’ senior management to adopt your recommendations. It turns what would otherwise be a sales conversation into a service conversation, which for most MSPs is an easier conversation to have.

The risk assessment, when used in SLA reviews and QBRs, can be an effective means of supporting the decisions you want your client to make. They are evidence that illustrates that you are on top of your clients’ environments and working proactively so that you never have to face a crisis together. That’s powerful value.

Next week, we’ll continue this series by taking a look at how risk assessments in sales conversations. There’s nothing better than making the sales conversation easier, so be sure to check back in a week for that.

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