MSPs generate more MRR (monthly recurring revenue) when they’re able to reduce reactive noise and dedicate their resources to more proactive MSP tasks.
This is because proactive tasks are predictable. They’re scheduled into our days (e.g., regular technology alignment visits, business impact and strategy meetings, centralized services, and projects). We know how much they cost and how long they take to complete. We know the margins on proactive tasks (if we price them properly).
But having someone visit clients on a regular basis doesn’t necessarily make you a proactive MSP. You have to consider what they’re doing while they’re on site. If they’re primarily tending to unscheduled tasks, they’re still being reactive.
Alarms, user requests, time and materials, tickets, and unscheduled service are all examples of reactive tasks. The more time you spend putting out these fires, the less time you’ll spend providing added value to your clients.
So what does it take to be a proactive MSP?
Consider the guidelines we use at TruMethods when helping companies with their service delivery role efficiencies: if less than 25% of your available technical time is reactive, we’d consider you a truly proactive company. Does this fit your definition of a proactive MSP?
A great way to determine where you stand is by calculating your RHEM. RHEM is reactive hours per endpoint per month, and tracking it will help you determine how much time you’re losing to reactive tasks.
When MSPs spend too much time on reactive tasks, other delivery service areas suffer. This is why it’s in your MSP’s best interest to confine all your noise to support. Provide these employees with the right tools to succeed and watch your other delivery service areas flourish.
There’s one proactive role in particular that MSPs tend to forgo the most—and it’s also the one I’ve seen have the biggest impact in lowering reactive noise. I’m referring to the technology alignment process. To do this right, you need a dedicated technology alignment manager (or as we refer to it at TruMethods, a TAM).
Simply put, a technology alignment manager uncovers technical risk and ensures clients are compliant with technology and industry standards.
Here are a few reasons why I believe a TAM is your best bet at having a proactive MSP process that makes a huge impact with your clients.
Why your MSP should have a technology alignment manager
It’s critical for your business to have someone who can develop and maintain technical knowledge. Unlike other roles within your organization, your technology alignment manager is responsible for knowing the ins and outs of your clients’ IT infrastructures.
This individual assesses a client’s IT infrastructure for technical risks and then sends the results to your vCIO (virtual chief information officer) to ensure a long-term strategy is put in place to address shortcomings. Even though clients aren’t always going to be aligned, it’s essential you have someone who can monitor their actions.
This becomes even more critical when your clients are operating in highly regulated industries.
Technology alignment managers keep clients compliant
Your technology alignment managers do more than just assess your clients’ IT infrastructures from a technology standards standpoint. They also ensure your clients are compliant with industry regulations. Keeping clients compliant is one of your top responsibilities as an MSP. Technology alignment managers help you with this objective.
For example, technology alignment managers are responsible for ensuring clients working with electronic protected health information (ePHI) are following HIPAA Regulations. In our software myITprocess, we’ve created pre-packed compliance checklists that your TAMs can use during their alignment visits.
Technology alignment managers are your eyes and ears on the ground
Technology alignment managers also develop technical relationships with your clients. They’re the ones your clients see most often (since they visit clients regularly—at least once a month). Use these team members to your advantage by deploying them as your eyes and ears on the ground.
Encourage your technology alignment managers to build and develop relationships with your clients. When your employees do this effectively, they open up possibilities for you to discuss furthering technology initiatives with your clients when the time comes. Addressing misalignments with clients becomes a lot easier for your vCIOs when there are strong relationships in place.
Being proactive is the best way to stay profitable as an MSP. By cutting the reactive noise, you enable your proactive service delivery areas, including your technology alignment manager, to focus their efforts on delivering value to your clients.