5 qualities of a world-class MSP: be process driven

| By:
Mark Sokol

As an MSP, ask yourself: Would your business—and your clients’ businesses—be better off with a higher level of standardization?

Industry expert Gary Pica says the answer is almost unanimously ‘yes’ when he poses that question. Yet, not everyone does something about it. Why?

Many times, it’s a matter of the tools and resources required to make it happen. In part four of his series 5 Qualities of a World-Class MSP, Gary shares clear and easily doable steps for what he dubs “the process for the process.”

He begins with these pointers for leveraging process to deliver superior business results:
  • Establish a culture of process that involves your entire team; let them be part of deciding best practices and delivering on them.
  • Be sure the processes are ‘alive’ or improvable as necessary.
  • Institutionalize your process knowledge with documentation that is kept current.
  • Regularly train employees on processes.

Gary advises that, to begin a process for standardizing implementation across your company base, you must ‘build your company way’ in four basic delivery areas: centralized services, reactive support, vCIO, and network administration.

Define standards

Most MSPs have a definition of their standards, but they’re not organized in a way to deliver consistently. Ask yourself how the technology or environment should be configured for your clients, why you’re setting that standard and what’s the risk to the client if those standards aren’t met.

Think in terms of a hierarchy: topline areas where you’d like to set standards and then break down the details, which often entails thousands of specific questions.

Align clients

Technical alignment is the objective analysis of aligning your clients’ technology against your company standards. Typically, this task is performed by Network Administration. Remember, this is a time to align, not fix or make changes. Try to be direct with yes/no questions during this process. For example, one question may be: Are complex passwords turned on or off?

Determine business impact

Once you know where clients fall within your standardization guidelines, it’s time for the consulting process. The vCIO looks at what’s out of alignment—as well as the business impact it might have on the customer— and makes recommendations.

Take the above example of complex passwords being on or off. In some businesses, like a flower shop, standardization may have no real impact. But in the case of legal or medical clients, the impact could be huge.

Develop client strategy

The vCIO uses this impact information to create and propose long-term strategies for clients, a key step in building an MSP’s position of value. Avoid presenting an overwhelming stack of reports or tickets supporting your findings. Instead, provide summary information that lets your customer know where they’re exposed and what business decisions should be considered.

The benefits of process-driven standardization pay off quickly in more predictable IT operations and less reactive service. Providing consistent delivery of your knowledge and experience to every client creates profitable results both of you can bank on.

Learn more proven methods for becoming a world-class MSP from Gary Pica, Founder & CEO of TruMethods, an MSP training company.

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