While it may not feel like spring just yet, there’s no denying the calendar — summer is only a few months away. And while your most pressing summer planning right now might be booking a relaxing getaway, don’t overlook the potential opportunity it may offer for your business.
What’s special about summer for many MSPs is the same reason you’re looking forward to it: No holidays to stress about and plenty of people on vacation. For many MSPs, this makes it a great time to take advantage of a temporary lull to complete projects that are the most potentially disruptive for their customers, since they’re also in vacation mode.
Taking Advantage of the Summertime Slowdown
When the days get longer and warmer, customers’ usage of their IT assets may decrease, leaving your MSP with less day-to-day support, maintenance and tasks on its plate. This makes it an excellent time to upgrade or switch elements of your PSA stack.
These projects take careful planning, well-timed execution and usually a little manual labor and troubleshooting, but the end result of a more efficient and more capable PSA solution is well worth the effort. Doing it during a slow time makes sense — IF you’ve planned ahead for it and made sure your own staff isn’t sitting on the beach instead of your office.
If you’ve been considering a complete changeover to a new PSA solution, there’s really no better time than the summer months. After reviewing and selecting from the available choices (and negotiating a deal that makes sense for all parties), you can schedule your early onboarding activities, including training, configuration and implementation. With these tasks completed, you can then schedule a full migration for a time when you have a full complement of staff, but your customer-facing interactions are at a lull.
Making a switch to a new PSA solution can reap massive rewards for MSPs, but it takes time and planning. If you’re targeting this summer for a swap, now is the time to kick off the process and schedule key milestones to get everything done in time.
Minimizing Customer Disruptions
Although most changes to a PSA system should be transparent to customers, when it comes to RMM updates you must touch every endpoint, and there’s no better time than when a customer is operating a skeleton crew. Even if the chances are slim that work will interfere with a client’s business operations, there’s no reason to miss out on doing things when there’s fewer people around that might be impacted.
Talk to your customers about which windows of time are best for potential downtime and disruption based on their own vacation calendars – most companies tend to have folks out at predictable times and some companies might even have an extended shutdown where the vast majority of staff takes some time off. Use this data to build out a combined calendar of the best times to touch customer systems and then plan accordingly.
Game-planning for an Eventful Summer
To make the most of the summer, MSPs need to begin the planning process when the winter thaw lifts. The first step is evaluating what solutions you’re currently using and seeing how they stack up against the goals you’ve set for your business.
Can they easily and affordable scale up to match your business’s growth? Do they include new features and capabilities you’ve slotted onto your technology roadmap? Is the ownership, management and support situation for these solutions stable and meeting your expectations?
If your current stack isn’t going to cut it, it’s time to consider the alternatives available on the market and ideally selecting one that can fulfill most or all of your anticipated needs. Managing vendor relationships takes time, so the fewer the better — assuming you’re getting comprehensive functionality and attractive pricing.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to augment your offering or make a full switch to another vendor, the next step is negotiating a deal that’s favorable to both sides. You want to pay now for only what you’re actually using, but it’s also important to be sure you won’t face an elevator-like price escalation if volume jumps in the near-term.
When the ink on the contract is dry, it’s time to plot out your path to a summer rollout, scheduling the necessary interim steps so you’re ready to pull the switch. Luckily, most onboarding steps can occur with no disruption to your current customers, letting you line everything for the transition with no negative repercussions for clients.
Before the big day arrives, be sure to notify customers if there is any chance of downtime or if there will be noticeable impacts to their user experience. Even if it’s just a change in UI, being proactive will avoid panicky customer service calls in the future.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
When traffic is surging, usage is peaking and customers are trying to meet tight deadlines during their busiest times of the year, the last thing you want is for them to experience any downtime or service interruptions.
By looking and thinking ahead, MSPs can determine if summer is the optimal time for a migration or upgrade, enabling savvy MSPs to plan a productive summer that leaves them – and their customer base – in great shape for the fourth quarter, the retail holiday rush, and back-to-school traffic.