For managed service providers (MSPs), the right remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform can be the difference between a good year and a great year. But with so much involved today in effectively managing client IT infrastructures and end-user systems and devices, the stakes are high. With multiple tools available, and each claiming various features and performance capabilities, how should MSPs prioritize what they need from an RMM platform?
Here are the top five criteria MSPs should look for in a robust, reliable RMM platform to serve their customers—and grow their own businesses:
Proactive monitoring of the entire IT infrastructure—from servers and endpoints, to the cloud, and everything in between—is a core, foundational capability for an MSP. Your RMM platform should allow you to proactively discover, prevent, and address the client’s everyday IT threats and challenges. Since monitoring is often the bread and butter of an MSP’s business, it’s essential that your RMM platform gives you comprehensive IT visibility and supports a broad range of the predominant operating systems and client devices. In addition, an RMM system should enable MSPs to view and monitor all client devices at all locations via a single listing. Finally, MSPs should ensure their RMM offers thorough control features, such as the ability to customize thresholds that trigger alerts sent to their teams and technicians via email or SMS.
If it isn’t anchored by ease of administration, your RMM platform will never reach its full potential in your organization. To take your productivity and profits to the next level, drag-and-drop automation policy creation is a must, along with deep PSA (professional services automation) platform integration (which will streamline and accelerate ticket creation, management, and completion times). It should also support regularly scheduled management activities to ensure these are completed on time as required by your customers. In addition, remote support and troubleshooting (e.g. registration editing, device management, command prompt execution, etc.) should be executable without interrupting the end user. MSPs should also be able to serve end customers without the need for them to install the software in advance.
“Responsive” clients, who might view IT as a cost center, may only call on you when there is an urgent issue, and they often make use—at least initially—of only one or two of your offerings, such as backup and anti-virus. Trialing makes sense for this segment of your installed base—as opposed to fully deployed licenses. It gets them on your dashboard and in position to adopt more of your managed services as they advance at their own pace across the IT maturity model. To that end, your RMM licensing model should allow this kind of growth to take place, giving you the flexibility to get your foot in the door and expand as your customer relationships grow.
The most effective RMM reporting will clearly communicate the value MSPs provide to their clients. Reporting capabilities should be flexible based on customer needs, and should offer not only highly granular tactical results, but also insight into business-level implications, such as longer-term IT trends. The idea is to let them see the details behind what’s been happening, and at the same time provide perspective on issues that may impact customer resource or budgetary planning. Also, it goes without saying that RMM reporting should not interrupt or impede monitoring server operations.
Your RMM platform is much more than a monitoring solution. It should provide routine IT task automation, IP-enabled device monitoring, remote mobile device management and control, and detailed performance reporting. In addition, it should enable incremental MSP revenue-generating opportunities such as managed endpoint protection, backup and disaster recovery, and auditing and compliance enablement. If your RMM platform doesn’t do all that, then you are simply limiting your options.
A robust RMM platform should serve as the go-to-market engine for your business, offering the foundation for your pricing, licensing, services, reporting, and more. It should fuel your ability to ensure customer success, grow your client relationships, and last but not least, operate your business more efficiently and profitably for many years to come. If your RMM platform meets the above five criteria, you’ll be in great shape to get where you want to go.
Nadia Karatsoreos is partner community team lead and manager, SolarWinds MSP. This article was originally published on Channel e2e on May 23, 2017.
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