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Proactive Enterprise Systems Management in the Real World

enterprise systems management

It’s too late to attack systems management problems after they’ve impacted your customers. Proactively optimize the availability of your applications and infrastructure before problems arise. You should be able to manage and implement IT systems management  changes with minimal disruption and maintain or lower the costs of providing quality services to your customers.

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Geeks love Data. Do your prospects?

I doubt many, if any, of our service provider customers are doing business without a web page.  It just so happens that geeks don’t tend to be the best designers. (This is true for CFOs, Sales, operations, etc.)  The point is that, in our average service provider customers’ office, there isn’t a full time marketing designer on staff. As a result, many times as product mixes change its usually left to someone who isn’t a design pro to update the website and add the DATA.  Geeks like data.  It feels good to tell everyone ALL the things you can do.  In most cases, this probably isn’t the best bet for the root of your home page.

More than ever, the average consumer, even those shopping for IT services, aren’t better at judging websites than ever before.  That first virtual impression is critical.  Just like you don’t stack whitepapers and product manuals near the front door to your office for people to see when they come in, you shouldn’t do the web equivalent and crowd your homepage with too much data.

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Patch Management Best Practices

 

Unpatched systems are a serious security liability and leave networks vulnerable to attack. Patch management  is an important element for compliance with government regulations such as HIPAA and PCI. Periodically applying patches is the only sure way to keep vulnerable systems from being exploited.

Patch management best practices  include prioritizing necessary updates, downloading and installing new versions of the required service packs, hot fixes and dot releases from software providers. The primary goal for IT teams enforcing and updating patches for diverse systems requires sorting through a multitude of patches provided by vendors and applying only relevant updates.

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Proactive and Efficient Remote Systems Monitoring Software

remote systems monitoring software

Efficiently monitoring hundreds of systems and increasing the security of your IT environment are core functions an IT professional performs on a daily basis. Remote systems monitoring delivers the ability to look across platforms and operating systems and drill down to the individual device level, from a central dashboard.

Remote systems monitoring software enables a proactive approach to improved operations and increased client satisfaction.

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Remote network monitoring software: Increase IT productivity and reduce costs

Time is money. That’s why it’s important for you to resolve end users’ technical issues as quickly and easily as possible. Using remote network monitoring and management software is a key way to increase technician productivity, reduce your service delivery costs, shorten resolution times and keep end users productive and happy.

remote network monitoring software

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Trusted Advisor or Super Helpful Computer Fixer Guy…

For MSPs, the coveted place of honor in a client relationship is that of Trusted Advisor.  I can remember looking forward to the days I could spend time with a client who treated me that way and then loathing the time at the clients that “just didn’t get it.”  If you’re wondering how to know whether or not you’ve achieved Trusted Advisor status, let me start with 5 sure signs you ARE NOT a trusted advisor:

1. You never know if the client will come in on Monday with “the new server” from Costco.

SOLUTION:  If you’re the trusted advisor, the client would know that a “new server” is not a tower computer from Costco, but rather a strategic business decision that their trusted advisor will have helped them plan and prepare for from a strategic, organizational, budgetary, and tactical execution standpoint.  The trusted advisor viewpoint is important.

2. You overhear a client say the “the computer guy is always here on Wednesdays” 18 months after you started coming on Tuesdays.

SOLUTION: If you are still selling recurring onsite hours, don’t worry, just make sure that you are getting the return on the investment you make as a MSP to deliver those hours.  Every visit should involve time, even just brief hellos with the key departmental/business leaders, and especially time with the primary decision maker/key influencer.   You need to work to break through the “computer guy” moniker and drive a relationship to a point where the key users/managers of a client know exactly when you are going to be there because they are counting on your insight, and skill, not just that you can clean some malware.  (Of course you have to be able to do that well too.)

3. You’re constantly renewing individual workstation AV licensing.

SOLUTION:  A trusted advisor’s impact is clear in the way IT is implemented and managed at a customer.  Centralizing management of all key applications, like AV is a foundational aspect of sound IT management.  If you’re client hasn’t been able to see the value of your strategy, after working with you for a while, then your bigger problem is repairing the relationship so that they trust you with the core security management of their environment. You must lead the customer in these areas.

4. You have to fight for every system upgrade or server project.

SOLUTION: This is a tricky area, especially lately, but a trusted advisor will always take into account the needs and demands of the business when proposing a new server project or system upgrade.  The client will ask “Why should I do this upgrade/project?” and the answer from a trusted advisor should be a solid business case.  The answer should never be “just because.”  You didn’t like that answer from your parents when you asked them why you couldn’t stay out until 4am in high school, expect your client to respond the same way.  The main difference is that your client can fire you.

5. One day they fire you and you are surprised.

SOLUTION:  If things aren’t going well at a client, you should know it and they should know it. You and the client should agree on the details where problems lie, and one of the activities that builds the most trust is acknowledging problems and showing the client how you will fix the problems.  (Whether you caused them or not.)  If things are bad and you get the proverbial divorce papers from a customer, if you are surprised then you got what you deserved.

READER CHALLENGE: Build a list of your clients and go through and put a check mark next to the ones you have “Trusted Advisor” status with.  Then consider the results.

Are already a Trusted Advisor for most of your clients?  Stay tuned for how to take that Trusted Advisor role to the next level?

What happens when you’re not there?

Let’s make a set of assumptions:

  • Many of you are business owners.
  • Many of you are owner-operators.
  • Many of you are unsure of your exit strategy.

Often times, key man insurance is a luxury that most business owners don’t consider. What else have you done to ensure that your employees and your business can survive even just an extended illness from their fearless leader?  A short little writeup from Inc.com offers one owners experience and perspective on the number one reason business owners sell:  Illness.  Click here to read the article.

Sound off in the comments about what you’ve done to ensure your business value if you needed to sell, or operational continuity if you had to take an extended absence.

  • Do you have a succession plan?
  • Who will take over for you?
  • Do they know you’ve chosen them?

Doing IT right for the people doing right in our communities…

Kaseya loves to see people helping people. In this case, Kaseya customer, NPower, DC, helps by delivering the right IT services to non-profit organizations doing the right things in our communities.  Hear their Kaseya story and how the Kaseya Solution has enabled them to deliver great IT service to their deserving customers.

Click here to see their story

Do your computers outnumber your people?

At Advanced Motion Controls there are twice as many computers as there are employees!

Click here to hear their Kaseya story.

You swapped business cards, now what?

So much of our lives, business and personal, are online these days, the effort needed to reconnect with someone becomes fairly easy. However, typically the most meaningful connections we make with vendors, prospects, customers, etc, are in person. You meet face to face and there is a different level of connection that carries value. Many times these first face to face meetings happen at a conference or networking event that you’ve paid to attend, or through some marketing campaign, which, by the way, is just another way of paying to meet people.

The internet knows a lot of things. We found some great ideas via our twitter followers.

Here are 5 things you should do with every business card you collect:

1. Context – Take a moment to immediately write on the back of the card, the event and details of your conversation. If you promised to follow up, write that down too.
2. Storage – While at the event, be sure you store the card in a secure place: preferably your wallet, purse or notebook pocket. Avoid putting them in your clothes pockets. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll lose them.
3. Review – Once your back at your desk, review the cards for context and action points. You’ll want to be sure you do this within 24-48 hours of making a connection. Also, a quick email follow up, or better yet, a handwritten note is a nice touch.
4. Address Book: Take the time to input each contact into your address book. You can do this manually or using one of those nifty business card scanners. Don’t forget to insert your contextual notes too.

5. LinkedIn & Connect. You now hold in your hands the currency for connecting to people on LinkedIn: an email address. Do a quick search and LinkedIn.com and request to connect with your new contact. Be sure to erase the generic note and write something related to your meet and greet. Including details will be a good reminder of who you are and why you’re asking to connect.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful the next time you’re swapping cards at an event or meeting.

To read the entire blog post that these 5 ideas were pulled from, click here.

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