Current vs. Desired State of the MSP

BY IT GLUE | December 05, 2017

How much value do you provide for your managed service clients? If you’re selling commodity services, you will probably end up in a race to the bottom – a counterproductive exercise where you willingly squeeze your own margins, and perpetually struggle to maintain profitability as a result. There is another way, and it starts with identifying opportunities to provide added value.Providing added value helps you switch the conversation away from comparing yourself against competitors on price, to comparing against competitors on service. When service is the area where you have clear, demonstrable superiority, you’ll get the attention of key decision-makers, the ones who know nothing about tech but understand that downtime is unacceptable and bad tech costs more in the long-run. Let’s consider the current state of the business:

Current State

A lot of business-grade apps are moving to the cloud, and these apps typically require a means of authentication. Nobody needed a login for Office, but you do for Office 365. Using single sign-on for the backend has a lot of appeal, because of the way users respond to having dozens of different passwords for the apps they use every day. (Hint: they respond poorly, increasing security risk).

At the same time, there is a heavy shift towards end user autonomy. A lot of users are going around IT and enrolling into their own subscriptions. These can often be on the user’s own device, too. This creates a challenge for IT, because then IT has poor visibility into security throughout the company. Anything you can’t secure is a massive vulnerability.

The current state isn’t great for the end user, who will now have an inconvenient authentication situation, trying to use dozens web-based apps, many on multiple devices. Without a true, smooth single sign-on process where this can be frustrating. As we all know, security is secondary to convenience, which is why we see poor password hygiene, or people not turning on MFA even when it is available.

Desired State

The desired state is providing increased expertise and value as service brokers. An MSP is no longer a middleman, and instead should seek to build deeper partnerships with their customers. Some of the best-performing MSPs that we talk to have taken exactly this approach – the learn the business of their customers inside and out, and proactively find and deliver the right solutions.

By providing multi-layered services with a much higher degree of deployment and use, the MSP plays the role of trusted IT advisor. What we see happening is that MSPs with this approach get a better response to security implementation as well, because they’ve fostered a higher level of trust with the customer. That way, when the MSP asks for the customer to turn on MFA, for example, the customer is more likely to do so because the MSP has established itself as a trusted security advisor. And that really is where SSO fits in – by providing anytime, anywhere access for people, the conversation around IT changes, and IT is then seen an enabler of good things.

So where does all this lead? First, increased cloud deployment means that MSPs are evolving more towards a cloud services brokerage model. But they are also increasing the degree to which they are seen as strategic partners by their clients, more of a CIO-type role. Being viewed as a strategic partner makes your service a lot stickier, and moves you well away from that commodity, race-to-the-bottom business model. Instead, you get to the point where you are actually helping technology to be a profit center by making processes more efficient and your customers more productive.

When you reach the desired state, you’re providing a valuable service that is difficult to replace. To find out more about IDaas, or just reaching the desired state, reach out for a free demo:

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