In our daily work as performance specialists, we often come into contact with the Managed Service Provider (MSP). An MSP is an IT service provider and offers for instance ‘infrastructure as a service’, PaaS or SaaS solutions to their customers. We see that an increasing number of customers are outsourcing their IT to external companies. The role and responsibility of the MSP is therefore becoming increasingly important.
In this blog we will dive deeper into the challenges we have seen over the years. In addition, we will describe a number of opportunities that can help the MSP achieve a competitive advantage within this hectic market.
The IT services that an MSP provides to its customers, are primarily intended to unburden customers with regard to their IT. To achieve the best possible end-user experience, a high-quality IT service is required. To achieve this, the MSP depends on a large number of suppliers within the chain. KPI agreements are made with suppliers on the basis of SLA (availability), but most of the time do not include performance.
Aziz Omari, Partner Manager at Ymor: “A consequence of SLA agreements is that although all components in the chain may be working (SLA achieved), the end user is not yet satisfied with the performance of the service provided. For example, the MSP is often made accountable for the performance of a service such as Sharepoint within Microsoft Office 365. This, while there is still no insight into all the components that influence this Sharepoint service. As soon as performance problems come to light, domain identification is often a problem.
In addition to the challenge above, there is also another important movement to be seen. Individual customers expect a higher level of service and proactivity from their MSP because IT also plays an increasingly important role within their field. The MSP can turn these challenges into distinctive features in this competitive market.
1. Proactivity instead of break/fix
For years, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) was the benchmark for the MSP. The number of incidents/tickets and the MTTI and MTTR were the fixed values by which the MSP was measured for quality. As soon as an incident came to light, the MSP was urged to take action by means of a ticket to solve the (performance) issue. This way of working is also called break/fix.
Omari: “Nowadays all organizations expect a proactive attitude from their IT service provider, especially since on average 74% of all incidents are not reported by end users. MSPs can therefore distinguish themselves by moving away from reactive problem solving such as break/fix”.
One form of proactivity is timely detection of performance degradations of cloud services and availability issues. This allows most incidents to be resolved early.
2. Grip and control based on figures
Also within the world of the Managed Service Provider an increase in efficiency will have to take place. Think of reducing the number of tickets, P1’s or calls to the service desk. Do you, as an MSP, know what the most common performance problems are and do you recognize patterns in them? Who is responsible for which performance degradation within the IT chain? The network supplier or the cloud supplier? In order to answer these questions, objective figures are needed that can be used to direct the process. This creates a grip on the various suppliers and insight into all components so you can make the right SLA agreements.
3. An optimal user experience
The customer expects the MSP to provide an excellent service with an outstanding user experience. End-customers are often more empowered than before and can take in all kinds of content via the internet and compare different suppliers. Proactivity, end-user experience and control over the entire chain can provide the distinctive power the MSP is looking for.
“As an MSP it is important to have a grip on the performance of the application chain. This way an optimal user experience can be guaranteed, at any time and from any location” says Omari.
In short, by acting proactively, steering IT suppliers and offering an optimal user experience, the MSP keeps a grip on the IT chain and can face challenges in the market. This enables an MSP to distinguish itself from its competitors and remain a trusted partner for its end customers.
Marco van Koelen
Sales & Marketing Executive
Marco joined Ymor after starting his career at NEXOR, a sales secondment company. As a Project manager he helped several companies position their products and services in the right market and with the right prospects. After a short secondment Marco continued his career in a combined marketing and sales function. His goal is to bring supply and demand together and help customers choose the right solution for their specific problem.