As a Managed Service Provider (MSP) you are assigned the task of proactively looking after your client’s computer system. You may fix a monthly rate per computer and per server to provide all the IT services your client needs. In return, your client wants to know that they are getting the best service available.
MSPs use computer monitoring tools to find and report problems in a system. There are many monitoring tools available to use. Some of the common tools that MSPs use include Kaseya, Naverisk, Level Platforms, Centrastage, Labtech, N-Able - with so many on the market, how do you know which is the best one to use for your business? Do the big names necessarily deliver the best option?
The big question here is:
Does managed services software deliver as it should?
Although these products by and large do serve their purpose, there is room for improvement. I have identified some of the reasons one of these solutions may not be the right one for your business, along with suggestions for what you should consider doing to make sure you do get the best solution for your clients.
- You are forced into buying more licenses than you need. You don’t need a lot of licenses, yet pricing arrangements encourage you to believe that it’s better if you do buy more. If you are operating 30 servers, you need a license for managing 30 servers, right? If the software license structure only allows a minimum of 100 licenses, this may not be the best one for you to use. Find a software product that will sell you what you need. Vendors will often have a minimum number of licenses that they will sell, and while their minimum may work for you, if the only option is to buy over 10 more than you currently need, look for a different solution.
- Support isn’t always delivered as promised. Support is part of what you are paying for when you buy a service, and unfortunately it is something that is promised but not always delivered. If the provider is unknown to you it’s best to start with a small contract to try them out. Make sure you are getting the support you need before you become too dependent on their service or product, because as you become more dependent it is harder to change. If you are prepared to invest a little time in trying out and comparing the different vendors you’ll be able to see who is going to provide the best help to your business.
- You get bombarded with information Too much information can sometimes be worse than no information at all. I don’t want to receive 30 email alerts during the night because a server did a reboot after patching. Instead I want one email to tell me about the one server that didn’t restart – this one I definitely need, and if it’s the only one I get I’m sure to notice it. Better than this though, I need a product that will fix problems not just tell me about them. To me, if I say I want to monitor MS Exchange, what I actually mean is that I want it to keep it going with as little manual work as possible. Granted, informing customers about a problem is good, but fixing it is better. This being the case, vendors should focus on analysing data collected from all users in order to build in automatic resolutions for alerts. Look for a solution that does a lot of work behind the scenes, and only tells you about things that will make a difference to you.
- Great technical information, yet lacking value. The majority of computer monitoring tools can provide great technical information about the state of your computer system. However, they fail to realise that the real value to customers comes at the end of the month: the report. For ease of use this report should be graphical, non–technical, and show the dollar value of the things the software has resolved. This helps me see the business value. If I can see the numbers stack up in my favour I won’t doubt the value of using the service. It’s important to be able to see what not having a managed service contract might have cost me. Ask to see a sample report before you select your solution, and make sure it makes sense to you and provides the information you need.