How to Get the Most From Your MSP

Posted by on September 21, 2020

Legacy ITSM

Your managed service provider (MSP) can help you choose and configure the right elements for your organization, but identifying MSPs with deep technical expertise is key to maximizing the potential of your business’ infrastructure and improving your bottom line. As companies look for ways to save money business-wide, managed service providers are moving toward intelligent automation (IA), hybrid cloud services, and modern IT service management (ITSM) tools and capabilities. 

Gartner reports that by 2023, more than 80 percent of MSPs will use IA solutions to optimize operations. Increasingly, IA is proving to be a great strategy for infrastructure investment, error reduction, and reutilizing human capital.1 Also, by 2025, more than 80 percent of businesses will desire public cloud managed and professional services from their managed service provider (MSP); as well, 81 percent have already adopted multi-cloud services, which combine components from several vendors.

Modernizing your ITSM tools is a hefty undertaking but worth it. In the past, companies have chosen to narrowly see cost-effectiveness as the basis for much of the changes they’ve undergone. While cost is definitely a huge factor, having smarter and more flexible ITSM tools will enhance the customer and employee experience and increase your organization’s competitive edge. 

By partnering with your MSP, organizations can improve the customer experience and provide better quality while reducing saving on overall costs.

Modernize ITSM Tools

There's a good reason to update your ITSM. 

Older or ineffective systems cause issues that extend across business-critical operations, stalling the essential updating and integrating of end-customer systems. The modern business world demands agility and flexibility when meeting the needs of customers, employees, and stakeholders. An unresponsive, sluggish, or clumsy system can drive down your business’s ability to provide solutions such as the onboarding of new services, fulfillment and logistics, and tech rollouts and updates. 

A low-code or no-code service management platform will give your MSP the advantage of being able to quickly adapt IT operations and even create new applications at greater cost savings. Some features can even include commands that allow you to perform certain actions remotely. 

When automation is strategically deployed, companies can deliver better quality to customers and reduce error rates. Gartner research shows that it takes, on average, 14 minutes to manually resolve a web server outage while intelligent automation can solve the same issue in six minutes.3 IT service management features like application dependency mapping can reduce unplanned outages and minimize the consequences of changes to the infrastructure, ultimately decreasing IT workload. Fewer outages and faster solutions directly impact customer satisfaction and can provide a better experience for employees. 

Once you’ve decided on the right tools for your organization, your MSP will provide solutions that support all of the endless moving parts that go into implementing a new system. Technical support that prioritizes workload migration and automation tools like DevOps is imperative but, you may also require your MSP to oversee items like OS patching and configuration and database and application integrations. 

If your company maintains components both on-premises and within the public cloud, you’ll need an MSP that offers hybrid IT and data protection solutions, or a “hybrid hoster,” who has their own hosting services that can be used with public and private infrastructures. 

Although managed services will vary, MSPs should be first in line to help stabilize your infrastructure by providing operational and technical guidance across all platforms. 

Add New Platform Capabilities 

In this rapidly changing business environment, companies must remain adaptable and agile to meet demands. Limited access to resources can stymie growth and negatively impact revenue, which is why expanding your platform capabilities is important. Adding new resources that compliment your business offers increased value for building stronger relationships with new and existing customers and allows you to increase scalability. 

For example, IA can leverage the customer experience by providing intuitive service through bots without adding more payroll expenses to the company. Also, investing in configuration management software allows your organization to customize its platforms to meet customer service and workforce demands and accurately resolve problems of scalability. 

With configuration management solutions, companies can increase scalability by employing reusable technology and programs; increase agility and speed by ensuring 24/365 availability and simultaneously performing multiple functions and processes; and improve outcomes by running more operations with the same size team and serving more customers at the same time.

Work with your MSP to assess past and current performance and run analyses of next case scenarios. Reporting and analytics shouldn’t be overlooked in any modern business as this essential data drives customer and employee morale, ensures quality service, oversees compliance and industry standards, and helps mitigate risks. 

From custom and pre-configured key performance indicators (KPIs) to role-based dashboards, service management tools with dashboard analytics can provide an investigative view of growth opportunities and goals. With the right ITSM tools and capabilities, your MSP will be able to easily track your organization’s performance and gauge next steps while also demonstrating value to stakeholders. 

Invest in Workflow Automation

It’s no secret that intelligent automation can make operational functions run smoother and faster—but building a strategy for optimization and deployment is key. 

Many organizations are still hanging on to ITSM tools that lack maturity and updated capabilities. In the past, keeping old systems was the thing to do because it was simply cheaper. However, while the upfront costs seem low, the long-term deficits are quite high. For example, outdated systems tend to rely heavily on people to perform the heavy lifting, missing opportunities for increased workflow automation. 

Workflow automation will allow you to streamline your organization’s processes and improve productivity by assigning low-value manual tasks to automation and responding to high volume requests that can reduce human decision-making. These technologies can extend decision making through processes like intelligent ticketing. For example, automating repetitive tasks and processes like change requests, escalating incident reports, and resetting passwords frees up resources and reduces the number of human errors. 

To elevate the customer experience, employ AI-based capabilities like chatbots and virtual agents to give customers the help they need right away while allowing people time to address more high-value issues. Out-of-the-box automations that don’t rely on costly development resources could save your organization plenty of money upfront and allow you to deliver services faster, and service management platforms that provide multiple options for employees to open and close tickets enables them to resolve incidents intuitively and in a way that works best for them, elevating the employee experience. Automation products can also be implemented in various departments of your organization, including human resources

With an effective workflow automation system in place and increased maturity in tools, your organization can improve efficiency and enhance the employee experience by allowing them to focus on more high-level work or larger projects. Your MSP will also be able to optimize the use of the team, giving you a reduction in costs, errors, and delays, thus delivering greater value to customers and stakeholders and increasing your ROI. 

Optimize Cloud Infrastructure

Your MSP can be an invaluable resource for your business. With ties to multiple vendors, managed service providers have a handle on the function and reputation of other platforms that could match your organization’s needs. They can introduce you to the vendors they partner with and offer you a wide array of options to manage your portfolio. 

MSPs can also help you build a hybrid or multi-cloud environment with easy access to a cloud management platform (CMP) that brings tooling into one place. Ideally, the right MSP partnership should relieve you of the guesswork and burden of endless research and streamline the decision-making process.

Determining a strategy for cloud storage and how it will function with your organization is a huge undertaking that dares to disrupt any CIO from their day-to-day. An effective MSP will be pivotal in defining how the cloud will be used in your organization, delivering consulting, implementation, and ongoing advisory services as well as training for your team. 

The cloud infrastructure you adopt should be configured to manage functions like workflow and increase accessibility while establishing best practices. Under your guidance, your managed service provider will be able to design services that directly align with your business’ interests and goals with a focus on procedural, organizational, and project-based concerns.

Extend Optimization Interdepartmentally

New platforms and automation should be implemented across the board. Having an optimized system in one department that does not extend to the entire organization can result in mismanaged information, duplications, and other errors and inefficiencies. Investing in an enterprise service management system (ESM) will help to maintain a stable and integrated environment that’s easy to use and interface with.

From HR to security processes, an ESM ensures every department will receive enhanced support with workflow automation, self-service portals, and dashboards.

To see a noticeable increase in operational quality and capability, your MSP needs ITSM tools that fully take advantage of the technology of today. With updated service management software tailored to your organization’s needs, your MSP can help you improve efficiency, manage workflows, and ensure quality metrics company-wide. 

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1. Buest, Roy, & Ackerman, 2019. “3 Ways Product Managers of Infrastructure MSPs Can Improve CX Through Intelligent Automation,” Gartner published on July 23, 2019. 

2. Lowery, Eng, MacLellan, Winser, & Medford, 2020. “Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Instructure Professional and Managed Services,” Gartner published on May 4, 2020.

3. Buest, 2018. “Bypass Data Center Outsourcing Competition Smartly with Intelligent Automation Services,” Gartner published on September 24, 2018.