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 At the same time, stretching the rotation cycle increases the risks associated with running outdated hardware.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.
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