One of the problems that I foresee happening for MSPs is declining support revenue and even project revenue given the advent of the cloud, automation, and the lower cost maintenance services being able to be provided through automation from vendors rather than being managed by the MSP. So, how can these revenue streams be replaced for the MSP and at the same time the value of the MSP to the client be strengthened and enhanced? I’ve come up with 3 ways that I think this can be done. And, you’ll see from these 3 ways that there’s a shift from the traditional services that an MSP provides support, infrastructure projects, etc. to the sorts of services that have more business value to the client.
- Business Analysis as a Service. Business analysts typically have not been employed by MSPs. The sorts of projects that you use a business analyst for are not the sort of services that often small businesses need or can afford. It’s easier and cheaper just to choose a vendor to solve the business problem and use their own analysts to implement it.
If an MSP was to offer a business analyst as service offering, they could provide these kind of re-engineering services, data mapping, software evaluation and procurement services that could be part of a larger MSP agreement whether as an add on to an existing SLA or a new agreement entirely. That would mean the business gets a very customized small business version of a business analyst service that won’t tie them directly into one vendor. The MSP provides a vendor neutral advisory service and plays the key role between the business and their third-party business systems software vendors. This will strengthen the relationship and business knowledge that the MSP has with the client and enable the MSP to tailor more specific projects which directly address the needs that the business analyst uncovers.
So, how do you find one of these business analysts and afford to pay them? This is something that we can help with. It is hard but possible to find business analysts that can work on as needed basis that are more focused on small businesses rather than purely enterprise. We can contract such people to you until such time as you have enough work to employ one in a permanent role.
- Data Analyst Services. Being data driven is everything these days. Even small businesses need to understand the numbers. They need to understand, what drives their business, what trends are recurring, how much cash they have and precisely when it will run out based on projected sales and cost assumptions? and a million other questions about their business which can be answered when they have good access to the data and understand what can be mined from it. Knowing what questions to ask and how to accurately answer them from the available data is the realm of a data scientist. Again, these roles are typically associated with enterprise companies and can be associated with high hourly rates.
Times are changing though. And MSPs, if they’re smart can find appropriate data analysts or partner with data analyst contractors that can provide these services on an as needed basis which would allow MSPs to offer Data as a Service or as an additional value added service to their SLA or MSP agreement. Again, small business don’t even know that these data people exist. They don’t know what questions to ask of their data in order to get the right answers. And, they don’t even know how to cleanse, massage, and report on the data that they do have. Who do they ask? Well, they would ask the MSP if they even knew what they’re asking for. It’s the MSP’s role to prompt their clients with appropriate questions about their business and their data in order to be able to help their clients run their businesses in the most effective and competitively advantageous way possible. Offering data as a service to your clients could be an absolute game changer for their business and for yours. Transparency IT is currently offering data as a service consulting options to MSPs in Australia which they will be able to resell onto their clients. Reach out to us if you’re interested in knowing more about this.
- Office 365 consultants. Office 365 is no stranger to MSPs. Ninety percent of my MSP clients strongly recommend and implement Office 365 for their clients at least the exchange online portion of it and the desktop applications. What’s less known and less understood by MSP and small business is the opportunities that it provides through the additional applications like Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, SharePoint, and of course OneDrive. Office 365 consultants know these products well. And, they’re able to talk to small businesses about how they can utilise their existing licenses and work in a more streamlined and efficient way to be able to save running costs daily in their business while not having to pay any extra on software licensing. A good Office 365 consultant who understands small business can provide a combined business analyst and product implementation service around the Office 365 suite that can integrate SharePoint, OneDrive, and Power Automate to make a whole lot of common daily business processes far more effective. We recruit permanent and contract Office 365 consultants and would happy to talk about options that might work for your business.