Making the move from a Break/Fix IT provider to a fully fledged Managed Service Provider (MSP) is rarely something that is accomplished overnight.
Bringing new clients on-board under a Managed Service arrangement is often an easier proposition than converting existing clients from the Break/Fix model, and changing a clients “We’ll call you when something breaks” mind-set to helping them understand that on-going maintenance will help them save time and money can be a challenge.
In many cases an aspiring MSP will have to make incremental steps to persuade a client of the benefits of a Managed Service agreement, and this is more often than not the case for Workstations.
Whereas a Server running painfully slowly or crashing can have consequences for the entire business, it’s often the case that clients overlook Workstation issues, either ignoring them or “putting up” with problems.
So how can an MSP help a client understand the importance of Workstation maintenance? Here’s four services that any IT support provider can start offering their clients tomorrow:
Servers are nearly always backed up, but Workstations are typically overlooked. In many businesses there is always one or more Workstation that is mission critical - be it the workstation in the accounts department that is responsible for billing clients, the HR workstation which is used to ensure staff are paid on time, or even the Managing Director’s Workstation which contains critical data.
In all of these scenarios, in the event of a Workstation being stolen or dying through hardware or software failure, sourcing a new PC is only half the challenge. Restoring that business critical data stored on the PC, or even installing the Line of Business Applications that Workstation runs can be a challenge.
How many of us have clients who have no idea where that Sage or QuickBooks Installation CD is anymore?
By offering a Workstation backup service, managed and monitored, you are beginning to educate your client that the Server is not the only important machine within their business.
Every Workstation needs Anti-Virus protection. From the Bosses Workstation to the Workstation in the Warehouse - all Workstations are at risk, and all need to be protected.
Traditionally, IT companies sell their clients Anti-Virus on an Annual basis. But by selling an Annual Anti-Virus contract to your clients, you’re missing an opportunity to offer a “Managed Anti-Virus” solution where you not only offer to keep the PC protected, but you can report back on the status of the whole organization.
I wrote a blog article looking at Managed Anti-Virus for MSP’s which explores more benefits, but in addition to Anti-Virus, if your client warms to the idea of Managed Anti-Virus then why not use an RMM tool to offer Patching and Vulnerability Checks for Workstations too?
Between AV and Patching - you’re offering your clients a full Workstation protection service, and once again, are educating them that maintenance isn’t just required for servers - but across Workstations too.
So you’ve offered Workstation Backups, and you’ve offered both Managed Anti-Virus and Patching/Vulnerability Updates for Workstations. By now your client may be starting to realize their network needs more maintenance than he realized.
But what if the client is still reluctant to move to a Managed Service arrangement? Offering a fixed-fee quarterly maintenance check for Workstations may be the incremental step that the client agrees to.
A good RMM tool will enable you to easily automate proactive maintenance jobs such as defragmentation, Hard Disk checks, temporary file clean-ups and at the conclusion of the work dispatch a report to your client to demonstrate all the work you’ve undertaken on their behalf.
What’s more, at the end of the job you can highlight the measures that a client might take to further increase performance - such as Memory Upgrades, Hard Disk Upgrades and Application Upgrades. All of these jobs are billable opportunities for you to generate project work.
If you’ve reached the stage where your client has taken you up on your Managed Anti-Virus, Workstation Security or Quarterly Maintenance work, then why not go a step further an offer your client either a one-off or a regular report on the Hardware they own, and the software they have installed via an Asset Management report?
Some RMM tools offer Asset Management at no additional cost, so if you’re already offering one of the above services then it’ll often cost you nothing extra to offer Asset Management to your clients. However, you can charge for this service or alternatively, offer it as a value-add to the client who you are discussing a Managed Service Agreement with.
Asset Management not only gives your client an overview of every piece of hardware they own, but gives an insight into the Applications they both knew they had deployed and didn’t know they had deployed (“What’s that game doing installed on the Warehouse Workstation?”) and opens up opportunities for discussions around upgrading Workstations to a standard Operating System or Office Suite, as well as highlights shortfalls in owned licenses versus actual usage.
All are potential revenue sources for your IT business.
Workstations are often overlooked by both clients and IT companies when considering what is important within a business. But by pro-actively offering your clients the workstation monitoring and maintenance services mentioned in this article, you not only create a new revenue stream for yourself, but also educate your client that their network doesn’t start and end at the Server and that there’s a whole lot more to IT maintenance than reacting when something goes wrong.
As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSPs to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.
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