A Rapidly Changing Tech Environment
MSP business operations today aren’t what they used to be. Thankfully, it appears as though the contemporary transition is for the better, not for the worse. Unless, of course, your MSP neglects to upgrade with the times and this is a very real danger. Many MSPs tend to find themselves in a certain operational niche. They grow comfortable there and cease forward advancement or operational development. Then some new tech change totally pulls the rug out from under them and the business implodes. It’s not just that customer/MSP relationship dynamics have changed such that today they are totally different than they were; it’s that this transitional relationship is a core aspect of the technology industry. With that in mind, several ways the customer/MSP partnership dynamic has transitioned include:
- Core understanding of client needs
- The strategic element – going forward
- Immediate effect
Understanding Core Client Needs
There are no shortcuts for this one and your MSP business isn’t going to be able to “fake it till you make it.” No, what you’re going to need is a deep and intrinsic understanding of potential client needs— one that stands up to scrutiny. Thankfully, you don’t have to know everything about your clients, just about their IT requirements. Still, that requires a bit of devotion and by the time you’re where you need to be concerning this information, you’re halfway to partnering with the client anyway.
So, demonstrate your knowledge of the market, company needs, and even other clients you may have worked with who were in similar operational areas. You may be able to anticipate a shortcoming of potential clients from the very beginning and that can definitely make them more amenable to your services.
The Strategic Element – Going Forward
Technology is in continuous development, especially when you consider such tech as involves information. As you work with a client, looking at the relationship more like a partnership can help you more accurately inform them as to the forward steps they should take. You want to plan for burgeoning tech upgrades. You can expect a doubling of IT solutions at some level every 18 months or so. This trickles down and there are definitely bugs to contend with during a new tech’s unveiling. However, if you’re giving your clients the right kind of information, you can help them adopt the latest, greatest technology. This gives them a competitive edge, can help curb infrastructural costs, and ends up being lucrative for your MSP. Still, there is implementation and when you’re implementing something new that requires constant monitoring, it doesn’t matter how good it looks on paper— Factor X is always waiting to defray the plans of your MSP business.
Have you ever taken a painkiller and felt no immediate effect, prompting you to take another and another until deep nausea arrives? People want instantaneous results. From substance use to technology induction, people are predictable. They’re going to want to see the “benefit” of what they’re doing, and immediately. So, show your clients the value of your MSP immediately. You need to demonstrate that hassle won’t be that which defines your new services. If you’re substituting on-site server solutions to entirely cloud-based networks, you had better ensure your cloud solution functions without any difficulty. Again, it’s going to require an in-depth approach which looks a lot more like a partnership than it does vendor/client.
Of course, it’s no good to explode onto the scene of your client’s business with cumulative advantages that gradually subside until you’re just a monthly expense for them. You must show value immediately, retain that value, and if possible, increase the value you bring to your clients going forward.
The New Client/MSP Relationship
An MSP business can’t be static. It can’t rely on older modes of business acquisition. It can’t stick to the same old model. Cloud computing, the Internet of Things, Big Data, DaaS, BYOD— all these things are fundamentally transforming client/MSP relationships, and predicating a more-hands-on, in-depth arrangement much closer to a partnership than has been the case. So don’t kick against the goads— adapt with the changes and work more intensively to align with clients.