While we are all aware of the constant evolution of technology, sometimes we don’t stop to think about how we can take advantage of the associated improvements in our day to day business. For example – traditional methods of IT support required a technical consultant/engineer go onsite and sit in front of a server or workstation to perform reactive or preventive maintenance. That’s how many IT careers started, and was really the only option available to service providers until remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools were developed.
RMM tools provided the platform for service providers like Axis to evolve from the onsite time and materials engagement model to the Managed Services provider (MSP) support model to perform the preventive maintenance. The reactive work is done by a service desk, which often alerts the customer to an issue rather than waiting for a customer to contact the service provider.
Axis Business Solutions embraced this model several years ago to compliment our successful traditional service practice, in place for almost 15 years. We’ve noticed many benefits associated with the MSP model, both for the customer and for us. Below are a few that have stood out the most.
Face-to-face interactions have shifted from maintenance and repair to more strategy and digital business transformation. Instead of your staff preparing a list of items to fix for the next site visit, your executive staff can work with our strategic consultants to outline company initiatives. The speed of disruption across all industries over the next five years is going to require every business to digitally transform, and find ways to better deliver products and solutions to their own clients. These are the conversations you should be having with your technical advisors.
Fixed Fee Model
What makes the managed services model so attractive to customers is that it can be provided as a fixed price engagement. This means the onus is on the us to ensure the technical environment is performing optimally within the expected budget, as opposed to the time and materials (hourly) model, in which the risk is on the customer. In the case of Axis, we proactively train, alert, and introduce advanced endpoint protection to prevent reactive scenarios. If the customer is not experiencing unexpected technical issues, they are happy; and if the service provider is not utilizing resources to remediate unexpected technical issues, the relationship is profitable.
As mentioned earlier, the RMM tools enable a level of automation that can minimize the need for a resource to be physically present at a customer site for many tasks. The RMM tools enable service providers to monitor and alert system health and utilization, patch operating systems and applications, manage anti-virus/anti-malware, and automate software deployments, amongst many others. The need for hands-on support is still relevant, but greatly reduced. In the MSP model from Axis, if we cannot resolve an item remotely, we escalate and dispatch a technician onsite.
Proactive Repair and Scripting
Is this benefit title a contradiction? Maybe, but let me explain. The best RMM tools are useless if you don’t have a competent administrative team behind the wheel. Axis employs well-trained and experienced individuals who can create and maintain custom scripts or procedures that can be deployed either reactively or proactively to keep systems running without impact to the user. Historically, when there is an issue with a workstation, the user identifies it and calls a service desk to create a ticket for resolution. For example: if we take a specific and common instance like printing issues, many times when a print job fails, it is because of the print spooler service on a workstation or print server. With proactive repair, the RMM tool automatically detects the event, runs custom procedures/scripts to repair the item, and then restarts the print spooler service. The user may never notice an event occurred.
Reduced Staff Management
Over the years, service providers were engaged to either supplement or replace a customer’s IT staff, which required someone to either manage the internal staff or the task list given to the onsite technician coming in to help. The managed services model embraces outsourcing, and minimizes the need for onsite support, as well as the management of those in-house staff. Now, the customer point of contact works with the Axis team to discuss the success of the engagement and accomplish items on a technical road map.
The legacy support model required that a technician come onsite for either a proactively scheduled or reactive visit, which was limited to staff availability and technical competency. Any requests for support outside of scheduled visit would either have to wait for the next scheduled visit or come with a price tag associated with a special visit or call. With the managed service model, the customer has access to a service desk. The customer also benefits from a deep pool of expertise staffed at a central location and not running around from site to site for pre-scheduled onsite visits.
These are just a few of the many benefits of the managed services support model. Axis has developed a strategy that enables us to maximize our top resources for the benefit of our customers while delivering a higher quality of service than possible in the old traditional model.
Upgrading to a MSP model can be a big change, especially for those that have established a relationship with their onsite technicians. If you haven’t investigated the MSP support model though, we encourage you to speak with our team. It is a beneficial support model that allows you to worry less about technology and more on advancing your business objectives.