Data analytics and outsourcing NOC services could help drive more business and increase MSPs' reputation as a trusted advisor.
The never-ending quest to achieve trusted IT advisor status gets a lot of attention, but MSPs need the right strategy to get there. For some providers, the path to IT trusted advisor leads through the NOC (network operations center) and data analytics.
As MSPs mature and master remote service delivery, the imperative to constantly find new and different ways to add value for customers never goes away. If anything, it becomes more pronounced because of the inevitability of commoditization.
Partnering with a NOC vendor to deliver round-the-clock support and routine functions, such as patch management and systems maintenance, enables you to better focus on the consultative part of the business.
That means you’ll have more time to talk to clients about strategic IT investments to advance their business, such as data analytics.
Businesses large and small collect piles of data through various sources, including CRM systems, social media, service records, email and billing. Much of that data sits in systems and databases that clients tend to forget about. But if mined, sorted and analyzed properly, that data provides intelligence that can improve efficiencies, accelerate go-to-market strategies, boost customer satisfaction rates and increase profits.
Small and midsize businesses need help to organize their data and put it to good use—and MSPs need to step up.
As CompTIA argued in its 2015 "Trends in Managed Services" report, “The rise of cloud-based analytics and low-cost reporting software is an opportunity for MSPs. Even small businesses now want data integration, management and monetization across multiple systems.” Those systems include web and mobile platforms, CRM solutions and social media.
It’s apparent from a recent study of 250 executives that businesses recognize the need for transformation but don’t quite know how to leverage digital technologies to accomplish it. The study found 84 percent of business executives are seeking a better understanding of the implications of new technology.
The study by research organization Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and IT services provider Dimension Data, “Accelerating Business Transformation through IT Innovation,” found the biggest priority for 37 percent of the executives polled is to improve responsiveness to constant changes to ever-changing business requirements. Thirty-one percent cited a need to focus on the digital experience to get a leg up on the competition.
Nearly 70 percent of survey participants said technology has become “far more important” to their business, but a much lower number (47 percent) rate innovation in their IT groups as good or very high. Fifty percent rated it as poor or just making progress, and 42 percent said their IT groups are doing a good job of becoming a more strategic, responsive and valued business partner, compared to 58 percent that view their transition as poor or only making moderate headway.
Clearly, there is ample room for improvement. And businesses are feeling the pressure to adapt to new market realities.
MSPs that have yet to invest in a data analytics practice should start evaluating options to get into the market. Rather than delivering a vendor’s tools, ideally you’d build consulting services around them to help guide clients through the process of data discovery, analysis and execution.
But MSPs are busy companies, and finding the resources and time to add a new practice is challenging. That’s why the idea of partnering with a NOC vendor to hand off day-to-day service functions makes sense. Plenty of vendors offer this capability, and if you choose wisely, you’ll get a partner that delivers reliable service and keeps your customers happy.
In the meantime, you can build a strategic consulting business that will boost customer satisfaction and help cement your position as a trusted IT advisor.
Pedro Pereira is Massachusetts-based freelance writer with two decades of experience covering and analyzing the IT channel and technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.