Categories
Prospecting Security

Take Your Prospective Clients Scuba Diving

Take Your Prospective Clients Scuba Diving

By: Dan Tomaszewski

You are knocking on doors looking for new business, but not just any new business. You are seeking that prized account that “gets it” and is willing to pay for it. They understand that with an investment in technology comes an ongoing cost of managing it and are ready to sign on the dotted line. In the ideal world, every door you knock on has this mindset. However, these ideal clients are far and few between.

Unfortunately, many doors you knock on don’t look past their initial investment on new hardware and software. Overall, they think that things should just work. This group can only see the tip of the ice berg. There is no thought given to security, software updates, repairs, support, and management of their technology investment that is below the surface of the water. According to the Gartner Group, the initial purchase of hardware and software represents twenty percent of the total cost of ownership, while the remaining eighty percent are comprised of all those ongoing aspects of technology beneath the water.

Now, if only the doors you knock on had stickers that state either “Get IT” or “Don’t get IT”. That would certainly make prospecting fun and easy and you could load up your portfolio with every business that gets it. Okay, we need to wake up from that awesome dream. It’s time to get out our scuba gear and take a deep dive below the ice berg with our prospective clients to help them look at total cost of ownership in a different way.

You have probably heard the “Why should I spend money for ongoing technology management when I can just buy new computers when we have issues” objective from a prospect. This definitely comes from the prospect with the “Don’t get IT” sticker on their door, but this doesn’t mean you can’t help them to understand that the total cost of ownership is so much more than that initial purchase of hardware and software.

An unmanaged PC will have a significantly higher cost of ownership over a managed PC on many fronts. First off, the lack of ongoing TLC will gradually be visible to an end user as each day passes. A brand new shiny computer out of the box will scream and put a smile on an end user’s face. Each and every day in use that smoking fast computer will degrade and feel much like their old computer before they know it. That end user’s productivity will decrease and their frustrations will mount and this comes at a cost.

How about security? Of course, we all know that security is more than just downloading the nearest free anti-virus software we can find. Security threats continue to evolve and at a much greater level of sophistication. It’s critical to help the “Don’t get IT” prospect understand that every business, regardless of size, is a target by hackers. I recall an owner of a company tell me, “We’re a small landscape distribution business, no hacker is going to have any interest in our business”. First off, hackers don’t see what type of business they are or know whether they are big or small. They see an IP address and they are going to hammer through the walls of their business to see what they can get. And when they say they don’t have anything that hackers want… Have they ever purchased anything online with their credit card? How about visiting their personal or business banking account? Mr. Foreign D. Hacker installed a key logger on their computers weeks ago and is ready to take a vacation at your client’s expense. As a managed services provider you are going to take a blended approach to providing security for your clients. It’s more than installing AV and it’s not a set it and forget it process. Going over everything included in your managed security service with your prospective client will help them to see the importance of it and why this is part of the total cost of ownership.

I put an emphasis on security because this is an area that is real, mainstream, and can have a significantly larger financial impact on the prospect if their IT is not properly managed than if they were properly managed in the first place. I have included a Total Cost of Ownership infographic that you can use with your prospective clients. It’s a great visual that you can walk them through to understand all that is below the ice berg. Throw on your scuba equipment, take that deep dive with your prospect, and work your way towards shifting their mindset about total cost of ownership in an effort to close that managed services deal.

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Categories
Automate Proactive Management

Stop Monkeying Around and Start Automating

Stop Monkeying Around And Start Automating

By: Dan Tomaszewski

Do you ever look at your support requests and think that a monkey could do this work? Well, not your average monkey, but one that has some technical ability, of course. The use of technical talent is required to fulfill client’s simple, do it in your sleep, type of requests. However, this can often keep your team from being able to dedicate time on those mind-boggling issues.

We often get trapped in the get it done, and then move on mindset. We are simply putting out fires and get lost in the busy world, never looking at how we can be proactive. Questioning this methodology results in answers like we’re just too busy to look at being anything but reactionary. If not now, then when?

It’s important to take a step back and look at ways to automate common issues. Two critical questions should be asked when looking at support requests. First, are these one off or do they have a recurring theme. Second, is there a way we can automate this from either never happening again or each time it occurs. It doesn’t have to be done in one big bite. Do a little at a time. Depending on the size of your staff, you could set a goal of automating one issue or process per week. Over a period of three, six, and twelve months you will be amazed on how much can change.

How you automate can vary greatly depending on the issue or process. One of the best ways to automate is the use of scripting features built into your remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. Often there are pre-built scripts, or within their community users will share scripts that they have built. These scripts can be run on-demand or set to run when a monitoring alert detects an issue. You can also automate through other methods like Group Policy Objects.

The end goal is to be more efficient in delivering service to your clients. It will help you do more with less. Most importantly, it will allow your team to not feel like monkeys and be able to use their technical talent for requests that will challenge them.

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Categories
Profiting Technology Rotations

The Money Tree

The Money Tree

By: Dan Tomaszewski

You may not be able to plant a money tree in your backyard, but working as a managed service provider is the next best thing. As long as there is technology, there will be a need for professionals who can manage that technology and help businesses make the most of it. When you work as a managed service provider, you can be that professional, and the lucrative nature of the business means the money will just keep rolling in.

That does not mean that managed service providers do not work hard – they do. Managed service providers work with their clients to develop a realistic hardware rotation – one that will help them maintain efficiency while keeping costs to a minimum.

Every one of those clients will have a number of workstations and servers that need to be replaced on a regular and consistent schedule. Computer technology is always changing, and that means that ideally client workstations should be replaced every three years and servers every four years.

The actual replacement schedule for client equipment will depend on a number of factors, of course, and that is where the managed service provider comes in. A good managed service provider will work with every client to accommodate their individual budgets, and they will consider the economic climate as well as the nature of the business.

In some cases it may be possible to stretch out the replacement schedule, refreshing workstations every four years and servers on a five year rotation. At the same time, stretching the rotation cycle increases the risks associated with running outdated hardware. Failing to refresh the company hardware can also lower productivity, costing the firm more money in the long run.

A good managed service provider will be able to point out these issues and help their clients see the wisdom of sticking to a more realistic upgrade cycle. Stretching the hardware rotation schedule too far can increase support costs, especially when outdated operating systems or unsupported systems are involved. Managed service providers understand these details, and they work with their clients to keep costs as low as possible.

They know that computer hardware has a limited lifespan, and that servers and workstations must be replaced on a regular basis to maintain an acceptable level of productivity and serve their own customers as efficiently as possible. They also know that sticking to a regular upgrade cycle and installing newer state-of-the-art systems is the best way to improve worker productivity and increase efficiency.

Experienced managed service provider will also point out that new hardware comes with improved energy efficiency, lowering costs and making it easier to stick to the recommended upgrade cycle. They also know that older computers are unlikely to support newer and more efficient operating systems, and they can share that information with their clients.

Working as a managed service provider can be very rewarding, both professionally and financially. When you work as a managed service provider, you help business owners run their companies more efficiently, allowing them to squeeze more productivity out of every dollar they invest. You also earn a great living for yourself, making life as a managed service provider a lucrative opportunity indeed.

The quarterly business review (QBR) is at the heart of the managed service provider’s role. This quarterly review is designed to help clients see where they stand – and how they may benefit from upgrading their workstations and servers. The experienced managed service provider will bring a number of documents to this quarterly client meeting, including the current hardware rotation schedule. This vital document can be customized for each client, and it includes specific details on each device, including its footprint (laptop, desktop, server, etc.), assigned user, reference name, serial number, installation date, warranty expiration date, estimated replacement date and approximate replacement cost.

Armed with that information, the managed service provider can reiterate the importance of sticking to a realistic upgrade schedule and the advantages of keeping their workstations and servers up to date. The client is always in the driver’s seat – after all they are the one paying the bills. Even so, the role of the managed service provider is to guide the decision makers in the firm and help them make the right choice. Also to give them that road map for budgeting purposes.

A good managed service provider will give their clients the tools they need to make the right decision, as well as advice on repurposing older equipment and using it to its greatest potential. When replacing older hardware, the company might want to retain some relatively newer workstations for guest users, temps and non-essential personnel. These kinds of creative solutions are part of the managed service provider’s role, and helps you tap into that money tree you have in your backyard.

Use the PDF document below as a resource:

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Categories
Office Products

The Pros of Switching to a Stand-Up Desk

The Pros of Switching to a Stand-Up Desk

By: Dan Tomaszewski

You may have heard the news stories about how sitting is the new smoking, and how doctors are worried that our sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us. While past generations of workers toiled in the fields and on the assembly lines, a majority of modern workers spend their days behind a desk.

All that desk work can take a toll on our health and well-being, leading to everything from increased obesity levels to serious problems like heart disease. You can help end users improve their health by educating them about their desk configuration, and even better, considering a switch to a stand-up desk.

Not too long ago, stand-up desks were almost unknown, but these days many workers are asking their bosses for a more active workstation. Now is the time to start discussing the benefits of stand-up desks to your clients and you can drive additional revenue along the way.

Working while standing up carries a number of benefits for the modern worker, and those benefits can have a profound impact on everything from productivity to overall employee health.

Here are some of the biggest benefits of ditching your traditional desk and office chair for a stand-up cubicle design.

Improved Metabolism – Moving throughout the day can keep your metabolism levels high at work and help you burn more calories. Even if you are standing still at your stand-up desk, you are moving more than you would be if you were sitting down.

Less Back Pain – Even the most comfortable and most ergonomically designed office chair can leave your back feeling sore at the end of the day. Stand-up desks are great for workers who suffer from back pain and similar ailments.

Better Concentration – Standing up to do your work can help you focus more effectively, increasing your productivity and making tedious tasks less boring. Many workers feel that switching to a stand-up desk has made them more productive and better at what they do.

Greater Flexibility – One of the great things about a stand-up desk is the level of flexibility it gives you. If you want to stand up for part of the day and then sit back down, it is easy to switch the desk and chair design back and forth. It is easy to sit down at a stand-up desk, but much harder to stand-up at a desk designed for sitting. Download our free 7 Ways to Prevent Office Syndrome PDF. This is a great educational piece that help end users make changes to their current desk configuration that can help improve health and productivity. This also covers stand-up desks and the benefits that come from their use. The goal is to not only provide educational value, but to drive sales and installation of stand-up desks.

Use the PDF document below as a resource:

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