The tools that other MSP owners are using to get ahead
Thursday, June 10, 2021
MSP owners are using a range of innovative tools to improve the service they provide to clients and customers. Behind the scenes, professional service automation (PSA) tools, patch management automation and automated billing are making businesses more efficient and effective.
Advanced IT tools can help cut costs and free up time spent on admin that you could use focusing on your priorities: engaging your customers and growing your business.
Here are five tools your competitors are using to get ahead.
1. Professional Service Automation (PSA)
PSA tools are the not-so-secret weapon IT businesses are using to implement, monitor and manage quicker billing processes.
PSA solutions handle the front end, providing a comprehensive range of features, including resource tracking, expenses, and billing.
They’re easier to use than an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. They can easily be integrated with your existing accounting platforms to automate billing.
As the business owner, you get full transparency of each project and for each customer. Your customer receives a single bill covering every service they have. It’s straightforward and streamlined, cutting out much of the bureaucratic burden of manual processing.
2. Remote Management & Monitoring (RMM)
RMM systems give you complete visibility of all IT assets connected to both yours and your customers networks, including desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Modern systems can also track remote assets, so wherever workers are and whenever they’re on the company network, you’ll know about it.
Your customers can sleep soundly knowing that you can ensure all their assets are operating securely and at optimum efficiency. If someone is attempting to gain access to their network from an unauthorised or unrecognised machine, you’ll know about it and can take steps to stop this from happening.
As more and more businesses adopt a hybrid working model, RMM systems are worth considering to ensure your customers data is safe. You can limit access for each user, only giving them access to the information they need, an extra precaution to protect their company from any cyber attacks.
RMM systems also enable your support teams to work proactively, stopping any issues from becoming problems and keeping your customers happy and efficient.
3. Patch Management Automation
All IT companies know that the critical business of updating patches is a pain but is essential to keeping their customers safe, which is why many are automating the process. According to a ServiceNow survey, 57% of breaches could have been prevented if the correct patches had been installed.
Patch management automation provides ongoing protection from emerging threats. Once a vulnerability is identified, the system can scan all machines and deploy missing patches. You can track patch progress, seeing what has been updated and when – as well as identifying assets that remain vulnerable.
The benefits of PMA are massive. You can test, package, and deploy patches to all your customers machines in seconds – whether that’s 10 or 10,000. Automation replaces manual processes, which means no email updates, ignored reminders or frustrating follow-ups, just happy, secure customers – who probably weren’t even aware you’d done anything.
Tools such as PMA are more crucial than ever as more businesses offer flexible working solutions. By automating patch management, you can ensure that all your customer end-points are 100% protected wherever they are in the world and it frees up yours and your teams time to put back into your customers and growing your business.
4. Better billing
As businesses grow, we know that back-office systems – and the staff who operate them – can struggle. The pursuit of profit is more important than the processes behind the scenes, but failing to update invoicing and billing software can have a catastrophic impact on growth.
If your business is still using Excel, investing in billing software, like aBILLity, or a PSA, like ConnectWise or Autotask is a must.
Manual billing is a level of paperwork and processes that no business needs to deal with anymore. At Giacom, our API can be configured and plugged directly into your accounting software or PSA and can streamline and simplify the billing process.
Instead of manually coding all entries into a spreadsheet, businesses can exit Excel and receive a single, accurate monthly bill.
Better billing is more efficient and cost-effective, freeing up time for your staff to focus on what’s important: growing your business.
5. Ongoing development
OK, so it’s not exactly a tool (more a technique), but the most successful IT companies are engaged in the process of continual improvement. Staff are encouraged and incentivised to update their skills – with the support of CSP providers.
There are loads of resources out there you can use but ask your CSP to direct you to the best places for:
- Online communities – Connect with other MSPs (and their owners) to discuss challenges and solutions. It’s all about sharing insights and experiences.
- Learning the features and benefits of specific products – All Cloud Solutions Partners – including Giacom - have a knowledge base filled with articles and advice guides that can help you learn all the features of the software you’re selling.
- Finding the best sales and marketing materials – Discover where and how you can get valuable resource of free marketing and sales campaigns you can use with clients.
While online learning is a great place to update skills, many IT organisations invest in accredited training for their staff.
Your CSP should be able to link your staff with their in-house specialists who can access exclusive training provided by the world’s leading software providers, such as Microsoft. We certainly can at Giacom!
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