MSPs Have to Focus on Making Tech Easier, Not More Complex

MSPs Have to Focus on Making Tech Easier, Not More Complex

By: Dan Newman
January 22, 2016

MSPs Have to Focus on Making Tech Easier, Not More ComplexTechnology is constantly morphing from complex to simple and back again, usually because systems are used as designed one day and modified to do something else the next. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that can embrace this modern landscape, manage complexity (by simplifying it), and match the pace of business tech innovations are well on their way towards starting off this new year on a very positive note.

Business owners tend to turn to MSPs to help them solve problems, and take some of the load off of running their businesses. Thus, your products, services, and your brand story must convince clients that they are in the best hands possible. Here are a few trends to keep in mind as you develop a value proposition, build brand identity, and demonstrate why your offerings are the best solution money can buy:

Sometimes Entrepreneurs Need to Go Back to the Beginning

When managing complexity due to mergers and acquisitions, there’s a demand to adjust to changing needs quickly. Unfortunately, the solutions are seldom practical or prudent. Teams are forced to use systems from a merger that may not be appropriate for the current line of business. For instance, Christopher Rence, CIO of Digital River, recalls orchestrating a strategic migration of data into a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution:

“It required understanding some of the undocumented knowledge. We had to sit down with the programmer who originally wrote the integration scripts and ask him to create industry-standard processes and APIs so they could be reusable and repeatable.”

In this example, the solution was to go back and manage some steps that should have been documented in the beginning. Sometimes it isn’t about reinventing the wheel, but perfecting the current system.

Consolidation to Simplify and Save Money 

Simplification may be as simple as taking inventory of the technology and/or apps being used, and being able to provide a consolidated offering that saves both time and money for your clients. Take NBCUniversal CIO Atish Banerjea’s experience, for example: When he walked into NBCUniversal in 2012, he encouraged his team to create one advertising app that took the place of 19 individual programs.

This led to solutions for better inventory sales. The end result improved pricing and accelerated forecasting. Banerjea didn’t stop there, though; he saw an opportunity to consolidate web-hosting providers. The organization had been using 200 web properties that Banerjea’s team reduced to one all-encompassing platform, which saved the company tens of millions of dollars.

Manage Application Creep 

A conscious plan must be in place to manage application creep—when applications are added instead of replaced to handle changing business needs. One way to mitigate this problem, for example, is by bringing enterprise architecture teams to budget meetings with inventory data from all units.

When one team proposes a new idea, an EA group can suggest an existing application that could work for this new challenge rather than incorporating another application to the inventory. Since keeping technology simple is more about courage than capability, a CIO must be diligent about finding outdated technology and addressing if it should be replaced or modified rather than added to.

Understand the Best Uses of Cloud Solutions

A major cause of complexity noted by many IT professionals is found in managing IT environments. The biggest pain-point is seen when mixing cloud and on-site systems. However, moving completely to a cloud system isn’t always the best solution.

Understanding which systems are best supported by cloud technology is one way to reduce complexity. Start with moving systems that aren’t essential to the core business to simplify monitoring and troubleshooting.

Develop a Clear Value Proposition

Technology has added incredible depth to the way organizations function internally and how they connect with consumers. Thus, simplification must be a constant focus so innovation remains an asset rather than a burden to business.

When a company hires a managed service provider, it’s out of the need to simplify and save money. Focus on the cost-benefits of comprehensive programs that manage complexity, consolidate existing systems, and address issues like application creep. With a handle on the best uses of IT solutions, you can target clients with services based on usability and convenience. Highlight what you can provide and how you do it better, and simpler, than any other solution.

Additional Information on this Topic:

Mobile Marketing Automation: A Must for Businesses and MSPs
A Few Simple Steps to the Best Managed Service Offering
How MSPs Improve Business Continuity

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.

Photo Credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography via Compfight cc

 A version of this post was first published on MillennialCEO blog.