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.
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