How to Scale Managed Services While Providing a Peerless Customer Experience


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From state-sponsored Chinese hackers targeting telecom operators to the breach of a major Russian bank, cyberattacks continue to impact the world in new ways. These examples come from just the past month or so, but looking at any time over the past decade will tell a similar story.

Businesses today find themselves under constant threat of attack. With the threat landscape continually shifting, many organizations have turned to managed service providers (MSPs) for networking and security. MSPs carry the network and security burden, providing businesses with comprehensive services that provide improved performance at a lower cost when compared to managing them in-house.

Doug Saylors, a partner at research and advisory firm ISG, recently highlighted the enormous need for MSPs. In citing ISG’s research, Saylors said cybersecurity spending would grow between 10 percent and 15 percent over the next 12 to 18 months, while product spending will decline 10 percent to 15 percent over that same time.

Those numbers show that while businesses see the value in investing in cybersecurity, they no longer want to purchase technology tools. Instead, they would rather outsource security to an MSP and free up employees to focus on core tasks that will drive their business forward.

This increased demand has created a catch-22 for many MSPs. While they undoubtedly benefit from the demand, they also find themselves overburdened with customer needs to expand their business. That may mean not being able to add new customers, not being able to offer more diversified services, or not being able to break into new markets.

Challenges Facing MSPs

Businesses often hire an MSP because of efficiency and expertise. In some cases, it’s about the commitment and dedication they provide to your business around the clock. MSPs offer a comprehensive host of services that can ease the network and security burden. Instead of hiring network and security professionals and investing in various technologies, business leaders can avoid the expensive and challenging process of managing that infrastructure.

In many ways, MSPs face the same challenges in providing for their customers. CyberSeek, a platform developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, CompTIA, and Lightcast found that there are only enough trained cybersecurity workers in the United States to fill 68 percent of all jobs.

This demand for talent makes recruiting and retaining talent expensive. MSPs find themselves in the same battle for skilled workers. MSPs leverage advanced cyber technologies that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced automation to patrol customer networks. They also require human employees to oversee these efforts, which is a constant point of contention.

Along with this talent battle, MSPs must ensure that customer service continually improves. As we know, the threat landscape is always changing. Bad actors continue shifting their thinking, moving from the brute force attacks of a few years ago to compromising user identity.

MSPs cannot stand still. Like any other business, they must invest in new technologies and methodologies to reduce customer threats and make them attractive to new and existing customers. These concerns, the role of inflation, and the hyper-competitiveness of the job market already create a strain.

How MSPs Can Grow During this Period

As economic uncertainties ramp up the pressure for bottom-line results, customers are turning to MSPs more frequently than ever, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. How long can MSPs support this demand before it starts to impact their performance and ability to scale their businesses, and what steps can they take to continue delivering a peerless customer experience?

Let’s look at some best practices MSPs can take:

  • Build a growth plan. An audit provides valuable information about the current state of the company. Take that information and build a detailed, data-driven plan to address any gaps. This plan should not be a loose list of goals but a blueprint for streamlining processes and procedures.
  • Identify low-hanging fruit. Growth comes in many forms, and many MSPs may find several easy opportunities to improve cash flow, such as raising prices in line with inflation, upselling existing customers on new services, reducing expenses, and offering better payment terms, among others. While this seems simple, MSPs focused too heavily on day-to-day operations may not prioritize these options.
  • Change the conversation. MSPs often talk about technology with customers, sharing the value of their offering and the technical aspects of the customer’s needs. Instead of being seen as a service provider, MSPs must present themselves more as business consultants. Share insight into cybersecurity and risk and postulate how the services of the MSP can grow alongside the customer’s long-term vision.
  • Look for high-value customers. As demand continues to grow, MSPs looking to grow should consider altering their customer base. Focus business development efforts on high-value customers that want higher-end services and will pay a premium for the privilege. While challenging to acquire, these customers provide immense value. Do not be afraid to step away from customers who no longer align with your services strategy or over-exhaust your resources.

The Road Forward

The feared recession will continue to push organizations toward MSPs. These leaders who were on the fence before may need to outsource to an MSP to help budgetary pressures.

Established MSPs must maintain an eye on their larger goals. Everyone wants to stay busy with a robust customer base, but not all customers remain equal. Do not be afraid to push away potential customers who do not provide an exact fit. Look for customers who want a strategic partnership, not just a service provider. Remember to continually look at your services and identify critical areas to dominate the market.

This is an exciting time for MSPs but one that can also slip away. Businesses that fail to grow during this downturn may find themselves without top customers when this period ends. When spending again becomes freer, customers will look for services over cost. The MSPs that can prepare themselves for that future now will be poised for long-term success.


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