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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
Proactive Management

4 Steps to Managed Services

Four Steps to Managed Services

By: Dan Tomaszewski

Managed service providers play a vital role in the world of IT management and back-office operations. The services they provide allow businesses of all sizes to enhance the security of their customer data, lower their overall costs of operations and reduce the complexity of their IT departments.

By moving from an in-house IT model to the more practical managed services model, those companies gain a host of benefits. As a managed service provider, you already know all that, but do you know what steps to take when onboarding a new client?

The steps you take when bringing a new client on board will set the stage for the rest of that customer relationship, so it is essential to get things right. Following a comprehensive step-by-step process is the best way to ensure success, and those four essential steps are outlined below..

Step 1 – Assess the Situation

Before you can move forward with your new client, you need to first know where they stand. What kind of IT infrastructure does the company currently have in place? What is their current backup strategy? What are they doing right? What could they be doing better?

Until you can answer these critical questions, you are not ready to move on to the rest of the onboarding process. The assessment step gives the MSP the opportunity to answer all of these questions. It also gives the MSP the chance to perform an exhaustive risk analysis, identifying potential weaknesses and points of intrusion. Identifying current weak spots in the network infrastructure allows the MSP to develop a plan for securing client resources, sharply reducing risk in the process.

Step 2 – Remediate the Flaws

Once the flaws and weak spots in the network are identified, the MSP can work to remediate the situation. The first step allowed the MSP to assess the current state of the IT infrastructure, identifying the flaws and finding the potential security risks.

Now that those weak spots have been identified, it is time for the MSP to mitigate those risks and keep the IT infrastructure secure. The MSP will also use the remediation process to thoroughly document the current IT environment, pinpointing bottlenecks and looking for ways to improve efficiency and lower costs.

Step 3 – Management Operations

Once the current flaws in the network infrastructure have been identified and remediated, it is time to move on to day-to-day management. This part of the new client onboarding process will be critical, and it is important for the MSP to take their time and get it right.

The client will want to see a marked improvement in the day-to-day operation of their business, from network speed and file access to the satisfaction of their own customers. If the client is unable to see the improvement they were expecting, the rest of the relationship could suffer.

That is why experienced MSPs have state-of-the-art equipment in place and written procedures for everything from data backups to system upgrades. Their goal is to keep their clients running at peak efficiency, constantly monitoring the health of the network and fixing small problems before they have a chance to spiral out of control and threaten access to client data.

Step 4 – Planning for the Future

The final step in the onboarding process is developing a plan for the future. The world of IT is always changing and evolving, and the experienced MSP works hard to stay ahead of the curve.

During this step, the MSP will sit down with the client and develop a comprehensive plan for the coming year. This annual review is critical for both MSP and client, as it helps establish an upgrade budget and determine where best to deploy the firm’s limited resources.

The annual review process will include a number of critical issues, including the recommended upgrade schedule for old and outdated desktops, laptops and other computer equipment. Developing a plan, and a budget, for the cycling and retirement of outdated equipment is an essential part of this step, and it is important to get the buy-in of the client before moving forward.

As an MSP, the success of your business depends on the success of your clients. When your clients do well, your company does well, and it is up to you to make that first client experience a positive one. Developing a comprehensive step-by-step strategy for onboarding new clients and keeping them happy will enhance their success, and ultimately the success of your firm as well.

Use the PDF document below as a resource:

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Categories
Proactive Management

Crystal Ball vs. Magic 8 Ball

Crystal Ball vs. Magic 8 Ball Support

By: Dan Tomaszewski

Welcome to the world of proactive technology management. Being a Managed Services Provider is nothing like being the traditional IT provider. The entire mindset is different not only for your company, but also for your clients.

Your clients are used to coming into the office each morning, and picking up the infamous Magic 8 ball, and shaking it to see if their technology is going to work that day. It’s always an office joke to guess how many cups of coffee can be consumed while their computer boots, or if the computer will crash just minutes before a big presentation is due.

As a Managed Services Provider you are working to deliver an entirely different type of experience for your clients. Instead of sitting back waiting for the phone to ring you are proactively working to make sure they don’t have to call you with problems. It’s more of a Crystal Ball approach to managing technology than a Magic 8 ball.

Of course, delivering the Crystal Ball approach to technology management doesn’t mean that your clients will never experience issues ever again. Unfortunately, technology is technology and it’s not black and white. There are countless shades of gray in between. Regardless of how much proactive support you provide, there is no magic wand that will eliminate all problems. However, this approach will significantly lower the number of issues that a client will experience as compared to the Magic 8 Ball approach.

As a managed services provider, you have selected a remote monitoring and management tool (RMM) that can help give visibility into your client’s technology environment. This RMM tool is what helps you provide the Crystal Ball approach. One of the goals of the RMM when it comes to the Crystal Ball is being able to identify issues before your client does. Often, a client’s workstation or server is speaking about issues. However, only in a language that technology professionals understand. These are often small issues that can go unnoticed. If left untouched they may snowball into larger issue that can not only cost time but money.

Depending on the RMM, you will need to set up monitoring alerts that will give you vision into these small issues. You can choose to monitor for everything and suppress alerts that may be deemed insignificant, or you can start by monitoring for nothing and add alerts that you feel would be the most beneficial. There are different reasons why one would choose one approach versus the other. One primary reason is based on the size of your staff and the ability to handle the volume of alerts that could be generated. In either case, it’s best to have these alerts generate tickets in a separate monitoring alerts queue in your Professional Services Automation (PSA) software.

The process of reviewing and taking necessary action is the most important step to delivering the Crystal Ball approach. If you are going to paint this beautiful picture of how you manage technology to your clients, you have to deliver on it. This must be part of your daily process, as it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of delivering reactionary service.

When your focus on being proactive and delivering Crystal Ball service, you will build a reputation for delivering a level of service unlike the competition. There is nothing more awesome that being able to get an alert that a client’s workstation is showing signs of hard drive failure that you can resolve before disaster strikes.

Use the PDF document below as a resource:

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