David C. Dadian, CEO of powersolutions.com, an MSP in HoHoKus, N.J., offers some tips for those looking to take the plunge into managed services.
No One-Size-Fits-All Platform: You have to look at each and every platform vendor's product very carefully. There's not going to be anyone out there that has a perfect product for you; it's just going to be what fits you best. Take your time, and make a wise choice. Be as informed as you can be.
Think Before You Jump: With managed services, you can't just put a toe in the water—you have to jump in with both feet. You have to really think about, and plan out, the processes, the business models and the people you're going to partner with, because any time you need any layer of support, pricing models or marketing, these are the people who you are going to be working with. This is not something you say, 'This looks great, let's test it out and dive in.'"
Be Prepared To Show Your Value: Pricing models used to be the big issue for managed services providers and back then we did a thorough pricing analysis of all the different platforms, but one of the things we're finding now that has become much more important than the platform and the pricing and everything else is how a solution provider or MSP shows and makes visible its value to the client. You can easily sell it, but how do you then take that and communicate that clearly and concisely on a regular ongoing basis to the client? We went out to our client base looking for ways we could provide a better level of services, and the majority said we could improve in the way we're communicating the value we're providing on a regular basis. Make sure when choosing a platform that you get accurate and concise reporting out of it. Where we failed is that every time we tried to put a report together from our platform, we got 14-page documents full of gibberish that the clients couldn't understand.
To Outsource Or Not: I would caution anyone looking at that to look at it very carefully. What if someone at that company had a bad day and was talking to my clients in a bad way or, on the other hand, what if they're wonderful and we have a bad day—where is that line drawn? That's not to say if we sprout up next year we might think about off-loading that. If we look at what skill levels are being utilized, maybe we don't want to add to staff but just off-load that to someone else. You just have to think carefully about it.