At the pinnacle of the space race in the 60s, so the story goes, NASA found out that normal pens were unable to work in zero gravity — as the ink wouldn’t flow down. Eventually, millions of dollars were spent to develop a pen that could write in zero gravity, underwater, on practically any surface and in a temperature ranging from below freezing point to over 300 degrees C. Their counterparts in the Soviet Union, on the other hand, zeroed down on using a pencil.
The takeaway of this urban legend can be applied to the service provider marketplace. For MSPs stumbling on new challenges every other day relying solely on hard work and hours being put in might not be the most intelligent way to move forward. This has, perhaps, always been true, but never has it been more apparent.
Top Challenges MSPs Face
Businesses are increasingly outsourcing their IT needs, and every service provider wants a piece of the pie. It’s fast becoming a dog-eat-dog industry. We found the top four problems that keep MSPs up at night.
1. Margins are shrinking
There are too many players in the market, repackaging and delivering the same services and using the same tools to deliver them. Looking from a clients’ perspective — their plate is full of options. There is always another guy ready to beat the offered price and expertise. Result? Shrinking margins.
Smarter workaround? Think up-selling and cross-selling to increase your average unit of sale. A customer retained is a customer gained. Another option would be to cut down your low- margin clients and services and invest those resources in more promising avenues for your business.
2. Need efficiency to increase margins
You can be a Mega MSP and still get lost in the sea without proper planning in place. On the other hand, you can be a small team outperforming bigger players on nearly every metric if you are efficient at what you do. What does it take to be efficient? The right blend of project management, communication, collaboration, process, and tools.
Food for thought — unless you are a Mega MSP with endless resources at your disposal, the chances of being good at everything, if you try to offer it all – are very thin. Consider focusing on your strong suit instead. What are the specific tasks your MSP can do better than anyone else?
3. Smarter, Faster, but not with more money
Some MSPs know what to do and how to do it, but they lack the funds to get there. For instance, they know automation is critical to speed things up, but automation comes at a cost that they can’t afford. Many are the first-time MSPs that have the vision but need to show some traction and a potential plan for success that could attract investors or partners.
It’s understandable that money is the bloodline of any business, but are a plethora of funding options make getting started easier than ever. Also, when you create the right buzz around your business and generate enough interest it helps you market the product alongside arranging the finance.
4. Increasing tech-to-device ratio
Compare tech-to-device ratio to getting mileage from a car. Who doesn’t like getting a few extra miles? The more devices your techs can support, the higher margins you gain. Staffing can be a tough task though. The IT techs are already swamped with work and are in a constant firefighting mode. How can you possibly achieve that sweet spot of tech-to-device without increasing headcount?
Automation and efficiency are your best bets. An efficient process with baked-in automation can help you create your A-Team. But before you go about hiring or firing your techies, ask yourself a few questions:. How heavy is your reliance on technology, and which ones? Can you afford to lose them? How experienced are your techs? Any management hacks that could help you get leaner? This will help you shortlist the processes that can be automated and choose the right tools to deliver them efficiently.
For a number of years, putting extra hours at work was a sound way to gain the lead while others were sleeping. Not anymore. The MSP market is volatile and brimming with ideas and solutions to make everyone’s life a bit easier.