How Managed Service Providers Manage Growth

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The market for managed service providers is maturing—and the providers themselves are growing.

In 2018, 68% of enterprise workloads were in the cloud, but that figure will rise to 83% in 2020, according to a study by LogicMonitor. Such movement from on-premise activity brings more business opportunities for managed service providers, as companies outsource technology needs.

And more business opportunity means more growth for MSPs. But that growth also means dealing with challenges for managing that growth.

As your company grows, what are the challenges you might encounter? What are the growing pains?

1. A Growing Number of Apps and Databases to Connect

As you win more customers, you also have more customer apps, databases, or both to connect with your systems.

And that’s the “easy” part, because it’s not just the quantity that increases. Every customer is unique, and so are their needs. So you implement not only more integrations but also more connection types. The new, unique challenges that arise call for creativity and the tapping of integration expertise.

Beyond managing customer integrations, a growing service provider also has a rising number of apps and databases to connect within the company.

Solution: Having an existing integration solution in place makes adding more endpoints simpler. Partner with an integration provider with expertise in service management. Such a provider will be aware of and ready to address a variety of integration and service management needs and use cases.

When Virteva decided to expand its integrations to include a new offering for their customers to integrate customer services, their integration provider was ready. According to Matt Miller, VP of Delivery at Virteva, “We have to bring all that data in. But again it’s just another endpoint that’s now connecting back” to the integration solution.

2. A Growing Volume of Data to Transfer

Faced with a large amount of data to migrate, a service provider realizes the shortcomings of an ETL (extract, transfer, load) approach. Such jobs place heavy burdens on the production instance of the system you wish to extract data from.

For your own internal needs, the performance of your ITSM production instance is vital. A dragging instance is a bottleneck. If it falters, so does your work.

But the performance of your customer ITSM instances is just as crucial. If the functioning staggers in your customers’ systems as a result of your activity—activity that’s meant to serve your customers—customers may begin looking for a different service provider.

Solution: Look into using an integration solution that, after an initial synchronization, pushes only the data that changes. Such dynamic replication creates minimal performance impacts.

CDW initially used web services for integrations, but soon found that such ETL jobs created too heavy of an impact on the ITSM instance. After CDW switched to an integration with dynamic replication, CDW saw marked improvement with near-instant transfer.

3. The Growing Infeasibility of Working via Swivel Chair

Working with a swivel chair means copying data from one source and entering it into another. Or it could mean having to log into multiple systems, switching from one to another depending on the type of work that must be done. On a small scale and for a small startup, swivel-chair work makes a certain amount of sense.

But it’s not scalable at all. As the data to integrate increases, so does inefficiency and the risk for error. And as you gain more customers, there are more systems to log into and manage.

Solution: A growing business soon sees a pressing need for automation. It’s a waste of time to perform repeatable and predictable tasks by hand, especially on a large scale.

Virteva used a swivel chair method to log into one system or another, depending on which customer they were working with. By replacing the swivel chair with automation, Virteva was able not only to increase efficiency but also to have a single pane of glass for reporting.

4. A Growing Set of Customer Expectations

A key theme in digital transformation is increased customer expectations. As technological convenience becomes a part of daily life, such service is expected everywhere. “If tech can do this, why can’t it do that?”

The same is true for your business. As MSPs offer more services, customers think up innovative ways that MSPs should be able to solve additional problems with MSP services.

Solution: This trend in digital transformation is an opportunity for the MSPs that adapt to meet those needs. It’s also a risk for those who don’t. Ideally, your integration provider is well versed in ITSM with a track record of helping businesses modernize to satisfy growing customer demand. Sign on for a solution that fits your unique needs.

5. A Growing Number of Customer Implementations

With more customers comes the need to manage more customer implementations. Getting a customer on board can be an intricate process. And managing multiple customer implementations simultaneously doesn’t add to the complexity—it multiples the complexity.

Service providers are eager for a way to simplify and accelerate new integrations for customer onboarding.

Solution: Make use of an integration solution that employs a common data model based on ITSM. The technical work will be much simpler and quicker, enabling you to accelerate customer onboarding.

Accenture discovered that they were able to make use of their new integration solution to expedite the onboarding process: “That’s always sort of a litmus test—how quickly can we get on board people,” says Jeff Lowenthal, Enterprise Architect at Accenture. “Well, you know, if you got all your data ready, we can do it in a couple of minutes or a couple of hours.”

For Continued Growth, Deliver Customer Value

A growing service provider will have a growing need for advanced integration solutions. The volume of data “is growing rapidly,” says Jonathan Livingston at Accenture. “As an MSP, integration is almost always involved in one of our deals.”

As you grow, you will be taking advantage of the growing market for service providers. These providers seek to adapt to new opportunities presented by customers. It is a contested, exciting space that requires differentiation, innovation, and service excellence. Customers will select service providers that emerge in bringing them the most value.

You can learn of several ways that service providers deliver value for customers through an integration solution, along with examples of service providers who are delivering that value.

These stories are available in our white paper on “Delivering Customer Value Through Managed Services.” Click the image below to download this document and learn more.

Alfredo Deambrosi

Content Marketing Manager at Perspectium