Position your MSP business for success: Here’s where to focus in 2023
One thing is constant in the IT solution provider (TSP) industry—change. There is now an “infinite edge” driven by continual advances in technology, a shifting threat landscape, and fallout from unpredictable events (e.g., COVID) that deeply affect your business. So what do I mean by Infinite Edge? What is the edge? It used to be clear. Remember the “modern office” concept we rolled out in 2010? We announced this framework way back to help you understand all the services you offer into revenue streams. We said this is what you are managing and we helped so many of you expand your managed service offering.
The edge you previously managed was easily defined because it was contained to an office and the router defined that edge. There was a perimeter there. This was all easy to manage. But this isn’t the reality today. The cloud changed everything.
Think about it: every line of business app your customer wants to leverage,where is that now? Probably in that vendor’s cloud, adding more technology to it, deploying sensors, collecting data, leveraging AI.
Vendor management is on a whole other leverage. Technology and people are sprawling. Not only is a lot of the tech in the cloud, the employees are working from home.
Add to that, they are more mobile. On average, 80% of internet transactions are happening on the mobile device. That introduces more risk for a cybersecurity incident, which is why we see the demand for advanced cybersecurity protection. All these systems that your customers are using also have open APIs, and data is being shared. That leaves you open to attack.
And threat actors are just one example of the external factors that are operating in this environment that you need to be planning for.
It’s tough to deal with constant upheaval, but even if we can’t control the chaos of the infinite edge, we can manage it. I know, because I have seen again and again that MSPs are up to the challenge. You’ve put in the hard work for decades to get the infrastructure in place for your customers who are undergoing digital transformation. And more recently, you securely managed an explosion of customer endpoints as businesses everywhere change to work-from-home or hybrid models. You solve it every time.
Chief Marketing Officer, Amy Lucia, and I introduced and addressed the concept of the “infinite edge” of change during the most recent IT Nation event. We laid out four areas of long-term focus and several immediate action items that will help MSPs continue to successfully navigate chaos in 2023 and beyond.
1. Automate relentlessly
A function that only takes “a few clicks” becomes a massive time investment when you multiply those few clicks by hundreds of times per day. That’s why it’s helpful to automate the tasks we really don’t like, so you can focus on what you love: helping people and working with innovative technology.
The more you can automate, the more you time and space you give your team to focus on meaningful initiatives that support your customers and drive your business forward. This process goes beyond simply automating tasks to reach scale and solve labor challenges. It's about collecting information from this next wave of technology and leveraging AI and machine learning to provide valuable insights to make better decisions.
What you can do today
- Reach out to your Partner Success manager via home.connectiwse.com to discuss how you can optimize your processes and ConnectWise solutions, incluidng the below.
- Automate more with the tools you already have, such as running systems audit reports with ConnectWise PSA™ to where you can create efficencies and introduce automation.
- Dedicate time to integrating your tools as much as possible and create a culture of automation—this is the biggest step you can take toward preparing for the future.
2. Put your data to work
At every moment, data is being harvested and leveraged in systems worldwide. Harnessing data and using it strategically will continue to be more and more important for building successful MSP businesses and making informed business decisions. Data insights can help you be predictive and proactive, meaning you’ll make the most of your time and energy and you can focus on what’s most important and productive.
Because the cloud allows you to collect more data from more touchpoints, it brings many advantages to delivery service. With the right tools, it’s easier to collect, aggregate, and analyze every interaction with customers, from pre-sale to post-sale, to improve your team’s customer interactions. This helps you transform into a trusted consultative partner that “has all the right answers.” The ultimate benefit is that high customer-satisfaction rates are directly linked to retention rates.
Collected data can also help you spot gaps in your processes and understand how you can create time-saving efficiencies. You’ll give your team time back so they can do more with less (including improving your tech-to-customer endpoint ratio), which means you can start to scale without hiring.
What you can do today
- Understand what KPIs are most meaningful to your business. Start with this webinar: “Planning for 2023: Making Data-Driven Decisions.”
- Consider leveraging BrightGuage™, a ConnectWise solution, to more easily gain visibility and meaningful insights that can improve your business—from operations to customer satisfaction.
- Download the Service Leadership Index® Annual Profitability Report to understand where the market is going and where to find growth opportunities that makes sense for your business.
3. Offer exceptional customer experiences
If you’re intentional about the experience you want to create for prospects and customers, it will not only set you apart competitively, but it will improve the lifetime value of your customer relationships and retention. The “customer experience” can mean many things—from the design of products and services to how you think about surprising and delighting customers.
Keep in mind that customers have a lot of power today, much more than vendors and sellers. It’s essential to harness this power toward the good of your business, because a happy customer is likely to become a loyal customer who can help you boost revenue. Customers have plenty of options to choose from today, and your customer experience needs to draw their attention to the experience your business offers.
What you can do today
- Create a strong enablement plan the empowers your team to deliver consistent, top-notch customer service. Start with this webinar: “Delivering (and Measuring) an Exceptional Customer Experience.”
- Take inventory of your current customer experience sentiment and develop a plan to improve across your services and interaction points.
- ITBoost™, a ConnectWise solution, also has standard operating procedure templates for delivering excellent and consistent servies.
4. Double down on cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is now table stakes for MSPs. It’s mission-critical for every organization because it’s not if you’re going to get attacked, it’s when. Staying current and continually leveling up cybersecurity services is a crucial frontier for customer security and satisfaction.
Consider how busy attackers are at worming their way into networks, especially over the holiday season when no one’s looking, and you’ll see why customer expectations for security are higher than ever. We saw 56% of all incidents occurring in the second half of 2021, according to data that the ConnectWise Cyber Research Unit (CRU) collected from around 200 ransomware incidents in 2021 targeting MSPs and their clients. With over 9 of 10 SMBs willing to switch MSPs for the right cyber solutions, those without a security practice may begin to experience attrition within their existing book of business.
Your customers are looking to you for answers and to rapidly respond to threats while offering proactive monitoring. Additionally, cybersecurity represents a huge opportunity for MSPs to beat the competition grow their businesses. Learn more about your opporunities in this report: “The State of SMB Cybersecurity in 2022: The MSP Opportunity Amid the Quest for Continuous Improvement”
What you can do today
- If you have ConnectWise PSA, go to the shared templates and import items from the cybersecruity soltuion set, including best practice templates for service boards, tickets, and project workplans.
- Understand the ConnectWise Incident Response Service and our cybersecurity experts can help if you are dealing with an incident, including 24/7 support.
- Use the ConnectWise Partner Program to access technical, marketing, and sales experts that can help you grow your cybersecurity capabilities.
The infinite edge of changes and challenges are real, but you have already proven you are ready, able, and willing to manage the chaos. As your partner, ConnectWise is here to support you with solutions, resources, and an unrivaled community as you work to achieve your most ambitious vision of success no matter the circumstances.
Just remember these words of wisdom: You can’t control change, but you can manage it!