At our Partner Conference this year, we had a roundtable discussion about MSPs. Specifically migrating from a traditional reseller or integrator to an MSP model. The conversation was flowing and everyone came away with a lot of useful information. We know that not everyone could attend this discussion, so we took some notes for you to share. Here they are:
What is an MSP?
An MSP (Managed Service Provider) is a company that manages information technology or a network for other companies. MSPs serve end users that don’t have IT staff to manage the IT infrastructure as well as devices on the network (printers, PCs, laptops, tablets and more…). MSPs can offer different service models, including service cost per seat, per user, hourly, monthly. This benefits the end user by allowing them to classify this as an operating expense vs. a capital expense.
With certain SLAs, fronted expenses/costs can be recovered in 10mos. Upgrade costs should be baked into the rates.
Tips: Avoid menu based service options, defined service model and identify line of demarcation, or hire a third party help desk for out of SLA help inquiries.
How many people at the round table session at the WAV conference are an MSP today?
What industry associations, trade events or peer groups can I join as an MSP?
ASCII group: Like “The Channel Company” WLANpros.com (technical, engineers)
What tools can I leverage as an MSP to run my business?
PSA: Professional Services application: ConnectWise: Complete package for managing tickets, customer relations, sales, employees, expense reports, procurement Auto-task: Another provider Remote monitoring and management: Max focus: Lab Tech:
What vertical markets are ideal for an MSP model?
Houses of worship. Don’t have IT staff. Hospitality. MDUs. Education. Senior living.
How can I get started writing SLAs (Service Level Agreements) for my customers?
ConnectWise: Has SLAs online. Templates.
What manufacturers that WAV distributes have a Cloud offering to empower my business in becoming an MSP?
Aerohive, Cambium Networks, MIST, Ruckus
Is anyone using Amazon Web Services Cloud? If yes, what’s the cost structure?
Tim from iTechnologies will be sending specs and costs for Amazon Web Services Cloud to Neil Patel (WAV) to share with the group.
I’m concerned about HIPAA compliance issues with AWS (Amazon Web Services)?
Group advice: Don’t tunnel your traffic.
How do you currently show value as an MSP to your customers?
Provide a monthly dashboard of unique visitors, demographics of those visitors, provide couponing capabilities. In addition, have a ticketing system to escalate any network issues. Be sure to communicate which tickets/issues are on contract vs. outside the scope of the agreement/hourly charge.
Should I sell the hardware the customer? Should I lease the hardware to the customer?
By nature of an MSP model, a service is sold to the end customer and the MSP retains title of the equipment unless leased by the MSP.
What are typical hardware cycles/refreshes?
Business vs. residential, hardware cycles are different. Be sure to bake the upgrades/licensing into the lease or cost of the products (ex: Advanced replacement service level costs). Most answers were 3-year hardware lifecycle.
Example of an aggressive renewal program:
Provide 5-year contract options for customers when leasing equipment, renew the contract at year 3 for another 5 years.
Can I provide WLAN as a service in e-rate environments?
WLAN as a Service in schools with e-rate: Dave Moore (Cambium Networks) sending Zach info. Zach to sync up with Janet Hendrickson (Cambium Networks) and report back to the group.
Steven with Networx: Will send list of call centers that field anti-virus inquiries, renewals, concerns