Managed services News
7 Ways To Build A ‘Sticky’ Managed Services Practice
Joseph F. Kovar
‘Sooner or later, [a customer is] going to replace a switch. They’re going to upgrade a firewall. They’re going to have 30 users go home and have to work from home for the next six months, a year, a year and a half. Then they’re going to need help setting that up. So you can jump in there and be their savior,’ says David Cox, director of operations at G6 Communications.
Focus On High-Margin Business
Tier-one help desk support is a common but low-margin part of an MSP’s business, Hunter said.
“If you take that off, now I’m focusing on things that once I get right is high-margin business,” he said. “I’m monitoring their servers. I’m making sure they‘re patched. I monitor the network and firewalls and making sure they’re patched. We’ll take care of the reactionary work. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
One MSP in the audience asked whether it makes sense to have an in-house team to help customers with their legacy applications.
“Yes, there will be companies that don’t want to take it,” Hunter said. “Do you really want to do the legacy apps?”
When the MSP noted that he was referring to IBM AS/400 mainframe legacy apps, Hunter said the situation there is different in that the profit comes from other areas.
“Usually you can’t touch that,” he said. “But if there’s security monitoring on that, and for most people it’s not, now that’s something you can do.”
However, he said, with the legacy app in this case, there are limits to what an MSP can do.
“Do you want to support that? No,” he said. “So how do we go about saying, ‘We don’t want to support that.’ If I can’t patch it, I don’t want to own it. It’s that simple. One of those navigation things that you have to go out and do is, ‘What can I do for you so I can get an SLA?’ You’re still going to do the same things you’ve done as an MSP, where you don’t normally pitch SLAs. You’re going to do all those types of things, but now your approach is a little bit different.“