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The Encyclopedia of MSP Measurement

metrics

The famous business book “Managing by Measuring,” by Mark T. Czarnecki, praises the virtues of tracking operations and making decisions based on what you can learn from measurements. Smart MSPs do the same thing, and use many metrics to drive strategies and shorter-term tactics.

These metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) define how well the organization is doing, and are critical to assessing your company’s value.

There are so many available metrics, that you can waste a lot of valuable time trying track them all. Instead choose the metrics that fit your company, and track those closely. We bring you 15 of our favorites.
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How Banks Can Stop Fearing the IT Audit

lion-tamer

There are few things people fear more than a tax audit. If you are an IT pro in a community bank or credit union, the pain of an individual tax audit is multiplied many fold when it comes time for a business-wide IT audit. These audits can happen anytime, not just once a year, and financial IT pros must always be prepared.

Making sure that you constantly stay in compliance with company policies, and the many and sundry local and federal rules and regulations, can be a nightmare. That’s only part of the issue — proving that you are in compliance by acing an audit is just as hard on IT and IT Ops departments. These groups must show that their organization is in compliance, including that patches are up-to-date, security is proven to be tight, and deep and careful activity logs are kept to record who has done what on the network.

In a recent survey of audit professionals, respondents were asked about audit practices. The results:
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Making Sense of MSP Merger & Acquisition Mania

puzzle

M&A activity is remaking the MSP competitive landscape, with new announcements made almost daily.  MSPs ignore this ongoing M&A ‘mania’ at their own risk. Every MSP must evaluate all options and determine their preferred plan, whether it’s to buy, sell, merge, or stay the current course.

Let’s look at some of the pluses and minuses of for each option, factors to consider when evaluating the right approach, and leading drivers on valuations.

Evaluating Options

Not surprisingly, you need to determine your strategic end-game before evaluating which M&A option suits your MSP.  If you don’t know where you want to go, it will be very hard to find the right path.  Just to make thing more fun, there is often more than one way to get to your destination.
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Monitoring and Managing Devices for Your Distributed Workforce

airport-working

The rise of cloud computing, the move to Software as a Service (SaaS), and the continuous increase in the abilities of tablets and smartphones, has created a paradigm shift in the way IT does its business. It used to be IT could lock down the infrastructure, put up a firewall, and you could control employee access, monitor compliance, and maintain security.

Today, you not only need to manage laptops and devices used by a highly distributed workforce, you also need the capability to do your job away from the office by managing remotely. Let’s look at the challenges to properly monitoring and managing your mobile workforce (sometimes called off network monitoring), and how to overcome those challenges successfully and efficiently.

The Challenges of Off Network Monitoring

In today’s global and cloud environment, leaving the office and network doesn’t mean leaving behind corporate data─your job doesn’t end when your workforce leaves the office. Nor does your leaving the office mean your work is done. You are still responsible for the security and monitoring of all your systems.
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The Kaseya “Times Twenty” Initiative: What it Means and Why It’s Vital to the Future of Your Business

Kaseya’s mission is to provide the technology and best practices that MSPs need to succeed.  We always focus on ways to help MSPs drive down the cost of administrative (i.e., non-revenue generating) tools and activities to free-up precious human and investment capital to be re-invested in new revenue generating services that drive growth.

I’m pleased to introduce Kaseya’s “Times Twenty” initiative, which focuses on enabling MSPs to put that capital to work in designing and deploying IT service offerings that will generate a 20 times return on their investment.

At its core, the Times Twenty initiative is about the value of money.  Specifically, your money.  You and your staff (all of them – marketing, sales, service delivery, finance and admin) work hard to earn this money.  You can’t afford to invest it in anything – people, technology, systems – unless you know you’ll be getting a high return on your investment.

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Looking to Increase Automation?  2 Simple Steps to Start Off Right!

automateI talk to MSPs a lot about automation and how important automation is to increasing efficiency, productivity, and IT performance.   Research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) determined that implementing automation reduces operating system deployment time by 68% on average, and time spent managing virus and spyware systems by 83% on average.

So it’s not a surprise that MSPs often ask me, “How do I automate?”   My answer is always, “Well, it’s not that simple to tell you.”

Which isn’t the answer they’re looking for.

What makes this such a hard question to answer?  I thought about this a lot recently, and realize it’s because figuring out WHAT to automate is very different for each MSP.  So much depends on their particular customer base, services, and in-house IT expertise.

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How to Win the MSP Service Delivery Trifecta: Efficient, Effective, and Consistent

venn3Quick!  What’s the first adjective that comes to mind to describe excellence in MSP services delivery?

If you’re a client, the word could be ‘effective.’  Effective service delivery means that you are getting your desired result.  If your MSP delivers services effectively, you’re a happy camper.

If you’re the IT technician, the word might be ‘consistent.’   Consistency measures the regularity of the use of resources to reach a stated end.  So processes that are consistent (and predictable) make life sweeter when you’re the one driving the IT dashboard.

As an MSP owner, you might say ‘efficient.’  Since efficiency indicates how well you use resources, more efficient services delivery usually means more profit at the end of the day.

Of course, since you’re not a one-dimensional cardboard character, you know you need all three for real, sustainable success as an MSP.  How do you win the trifecta of effective, efficient and consistent service delivery?
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Straight Talk and Tough Love: Building Trust with Your Clients

MSP Client Communication Best Practices
As with any relationship, it takes hard work and dedication to keep MSPs and their clients aligned and in synch.  The worst situation is when you believe everything is fine, but you find out too late that there has been a fundamental misunderstanding.  Maybe your client won’t dramatically throw a drink in your face in front of a restaurant full of people,  but it will still sting if a client walks out the door and moves on to another MSP.

So what should you do to avoid this fate?  You can find guidance in rules that govern any type of relationship.

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Five Commons Sense Fails for Onboarding New Clients

Strategic Onboarding for MSPs

I was talking to an MSP the other day about onboarding.  He had thought long and hard on how to optimize his onboarding practices, incorporating current best practices and expert recommendations.  He had developed a robust onboarding plan, with checklists and documented timelines. He leveraged this process both as a selling device to instill confidence with prospects, and as a client management device to streamline the first critical steps in a client engagement.

Despite all that hard work, however, he had overlooked several critical onboarding considerations that could result in even more satisfied clients, less client churn, and, perhaps most importantly, stronger margins.

Why did this smart, up-to-date managed services professional miss these opportunities?  He had fallen sway to common sense ideas about onboarding that, while not exactly wrong, aren’t totally right.

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8 Ways MSPs Increase Profits by Eliminating Unplanned Work

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As you manage your MSP business, it’s vital to minimize unplanned and unexpected work, especially if they result in unpaid work.

You can’t price your services profitably unless you can confidently estimate the staff resources required to meet your contracted obligations. Any unexpected client work directly impacts your bottom line for the worse.

So, how do you protect your business from hidden gotchas or last-minute snafus?

Here are eight steps most often cited by highly profitable MSPs:

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