MSPs must not let their customers fall adrift, mega-player Herjavec Group told CPI in an interview.
Melissa Zicopula, VP of managed services at Herjavec Group, said that partners must involve customers in every aspect of their business, including visibility into their own business planning and strategic roadmap.
"We need to make sure that we don't just keep our customers happy with our service, but also keep them appraised of what we're doing, from our year-to-year perspective and our roadmap, as well as making sure that we're growing with them.
"You never want to keep customers adrift, meaning you don't just go through the process with them, you actually want to make sure you're integrated into their meetings, into what they're doing over the next two or three quarters and make sure that you're telling them how your service incorporates within their business."
This is quite a difficult thing to get right, she pointed out, in particular making sure that key stakeholders are content with the requirements and day-to-day changes that are thrown up within this process. MSPs want to try and walk in lockstep with their clients in order to achieve this, she added.
Another challenge MSPs are facing is scalability, Zicopula said. She suggests looking at innovative ways to minimize any operational disruption within a client's infrastructure that might arise when trying to scale.
"You always want to make sure you're scaling, but do it in a smart way," she advised.
Automation is another area that MSPs are managing, and can be especially useful for smaller clients with limited resources, the VP said.
"We're always looking for ways to retool different technologies and propose different ways to automate as much as possible. You don't always want to throw people to the problem, you want to figure out ways to align and then to treat any overhead with better efficiencies, better workforce, better playbook and by letting the technologies work for you."
For clients who may still be hesitant about automation, it's worth sitting down with them and carrying out an evaluation of what they could potentially cut so they can recognize how easily they can reallocate mundane tasks and automate the ones that don't necessarily require a human to do the work, Zicopula said.
"You want to leverage your clients' resources, so take everything that hasn't already been automated and then have them do a qualitative analysis into that and then leverage those resources in a better capacity.
"In our experience, whenever I sit with a customer and explain different ways for them to automate and leverage the more senior resources, they love it, because it's taking away the mundane tasks they're doing on a day-to-day basis."
MSPs also need to ensure that they can "hit the ground running" as customers mature, the VP noted. As the services delivery model continues to evolve, MSPs must be prepared and be able to pivot with ease to meet their clients' changing needs.
"This requires more automation, as well as making sure that we're taking into account that customers may have tools already in place that we're going to be either taking over or monitoring from a security standpoint. Also, picking a specific methodologies - it's always good to have plans before you go in."
Some say performance, others say money but it may be systems and processes that carry the day
Former Trustmarque boss will help grow AI and IoT practices in new role
The French channel giant is expected to close its 2019 with growth in operating profits, as cost-cutting efforts deliver €30m in savings
Champion success, highlight innovation and outpacing the market in CPI's New York MSP Awards 2020