Automation is not a mere opportunity but a necessity now in the MSP ecosystem. Why? Because to remain in business, MSPs must offer unparalleled services such as managing their client’s digital infrastructure, ensuring business continuity, troubleshooting other issues, etc.
They must also adapt to their customers' changing demands that increases the workload on their employees, and affect the quality of their services. This is not making life easy for MSPs as they feel the pressure to prove their abilities.
Another key reason why automation is important for MSPs is the evolution of the IT market especially cloud computing and digital transformation. Initially, the main focus of MSPs was remote services, cybersecurity, network management, etc. But now, they need to reinvent their business and include other offerings such as migration and management services.
Automation offers MSPs the tools to handle the complex tasks, reduce repeatable processes and time-consuming manual functions, monitor projects more efficiently and scale their operations.
For managed service providers, automation is already an important part of their services. Tools such as RPA bots can be used to automate processes like patch management, support tickets, and scripts which will help MSPs give quick responses to customers.
This article explains how MSPs can serve more clients by automating their internal and customer-facing processes and eliminating the need to add more resources to the mix. It also demonstrates which functions MSPs can automate to increase productivity and boost profitability.
Business Challenges that MSPs face
As organizations are accelerating into the digital world, they want the services of expert MSPs who can offer guidance throughout their automation journey and help them embrace new technology. Many businesses are now on board the automation express, but they lack skills, resources, and partners, which means MSPs have a key role to fill in.
The MSP sector is a mature business now, but still cloud customers’ requirements are different from traditional ones. These new demands pose certain challenges for MSPs which they need to overcome to remain competitive.
Here are the top challenges that MSPs face today:
1. Rapidly changing technological trends: Latest technology such as cloud are opportunity drivers for MSPs, but for many it keeps them awake at night. The main reason is that MSPs need to adapt quickly to changing trends, implement different solutions, and ensure their customers are satisfied. This requires training to expand their expertise which is costly and takes time.
2. Employee churn: Many MSPs need to tackle the issue of shrinking margins due to employee churn. They are losing their technicians to their end users – the organizations’ IT departments. Technicians are leaving for several reasons: better pay, working hours, and growth opportunities.
3. Pricing competition: To win more client contracts, many MSPs resort to offering pricing models that offer lower margins. In keeping prices artificially low, MSPs are undervaluing their services and creating problems for themselves. First the operational costs won’t reduce magically, it will be there. Secondly, it will be difficult to increase the price and compete with the rates offered by other service providers. Third, the client will not agree at a major increase.
4. Management of multiple accounts: The management of several accounts is another major concern for MSPs. To name a few cumbersome but vital tasks- consolidate and manage multi-cloud solutions, handling many customers with multiple accounts, updating those accounts with changes at the client side, customer coordination, resource deletion etc.
5. To remain proactive without automation: Offering quality service within the budget remains another big challenge for the MSPs. They offer their services either on-demand or on a proactive basis. Managing several functions such as application discovery, billing, support, remote monitoring, ticketing and provisioning etc. may result in inaccuracies and waste more time and resources.
Each pain point defined here revolves around an old-fashioned and time-consuming process that requires several human touchpoints. Here, automation can help MSPs handle these issues, and manage a multitude of internal systems without investing in multiple software packages. How?
Using Automation to achieve growth
Having a scalable company is a key element for growth, and by utilizing RPA solutions, Managed Service Providers should be able to scale their business to serve more customers without adding more resources. For instance, automation will enable a helpdesk technician to manage multiple workstations and another employee can manage remote sessions and chats with customers.
Overall, there are two angles to view growth opportunities:
- Automation to accelerate internal processes that are repetitive and ongoing in nature, for instance regular disk cleanup, backups, software updates, user creation etc.
- Automation to accelerate MSP clients operations such as automating post sales communication, reporting, ticketing, and deploying software solutions for onboarding customers.
Automation is the solution that can develop MSPs business in 2021. Let's find more about these tools in this article:
RPA to develop your MSP business
Use case # 1: Automation of assistance tickets
MSPs offer technical assistance through issuing support tickets via web interface. MSPs can leverage RPA bots to automatically configure ticket queues according to predefined criteria such as escalation level, product (WIndows or Mac) support, or security level etc.
1. Receipt of emails/requests: The agents will no longer need to route the tickets. Instead, the bots will process each request (emails) from clients based on predefined triggers such as keywords, origin of request, create assistance tickets, and issue them to relevant personnels. This way bots offer a quick solution to the issues raised by the customers without losing any information.
2. Management of tickets: Once the bots receive customers’ requests, they handle them quickly and efficiently. MSPs can also create workflows to automate the processing of recurring requests (same problems from several customers), and handle it, thus saving time on various fronts.
3. Follow-up: A Bot follows a support ticket from start to finish allowing MSPs teams to monitor the evolution of every ticket. They will be able to know how quickly their experts respond and settle an issue- a vital information about the functioning of the business.
Use case # 2: Remote monitoring and management (RMM)
Monitoring and alerting activities are at the heart of MSP services to identify problems proactively and resolve them efficiently. The monitoring activity also brings additional revenue and keeps clients happy. The main challenge for MSPs is to know what to watch out for, what processes require alerts, and which of these alerts can be resolved automatically or which would require a technician’s help. Automation can help in supervision and effective action on the managed equipment of different customers.
1. Deploying solutions: MSPs need to deploy an application added to their catalog on various user workstations of a customer. Automation will help them provide great service once again and MSPs just need to add specific configurations. The deployment of the solution will be performed automatically on the client’s fleet of computers.
2. Disk monitoring: MSPs can automate certain monitoring tasks and configure the bots to take actions if the condition is triggered. These tasks include potential drive failures, Identifying when disk space is approaching its maximum capacity, when devices require a restart, monitor hardware changes and offline terminals, etc. These actions can be automated and bots will open tickets (on predefined conditions and thresholds) and investigate/fix it.
3. Patch management: Patch management is a vital part of an MSP business – updating antivirus/operating systems/ applications, fixing vulnerabilities to reduce security risks, improving server performance – all can be performed through automation for every client. MSPs can control various patches from one place and schedule them as the need arises.
Overall, MSPs can create a basic surveillance/monitoring template while taking into account the priorities of their clients. Then they should decide which alerts can be automatically corrected.
Use case # 3: Customer employees/users’ onboarding
Onboarding new users of the clients and allowing them access to all the resources they need is a core part of an MSPs offering but a tedious process. MSPs can face accuracy, efficiency, and security issues when onboarding client’s new users manually. With the help of automation, MSPs cna resolve these issues while remaining in the budget.
1. Centralized identity management: With the help of cloud directory, MSPs can grant access to system, network, and applications by using a group-based control. The bot can streamline the user account provisioning and enter all details accurately in the system before the account goes live.
Apart from onboarding new users and granting access to applications, automation can help MSPs preconfigure a system to help the new user without having to deal with this. Besides, when provisioning and deprovisioning is automated, MSPs also eliminate security risks when a user leaves a client’s firm.
Use case # 4: Customer business post-sales communication management
Post-sales communication targeting client’s specific business ensures them that their MSP is aware of their issues and is actively solving them. Some common examples of such communications include satisfaction surveys, feedback requests on specific cases, newsletters containing tips to handle common problems clients may face.
1. Email automation: One example of automating such communication is the use of bots to automate emails. Though it is a simple operation, it is helpful in facilitating communication between the MSP and the client. Bots can automatically send an email when they create a ticket after receiving a request from a customer or when the ticket is resolved by an expert.
When the customer responds, the bots will add it to the corresponding ticket and keep all details together in one place.
2. Customer Feedback: Bots can seamlessly integrate customers’ email with your CRM to help sales teams get actionable insights. They can also send a satisfaction questionnaire after a ticket is marked as resolved by an expert.
Not only emails and feedback, but bots can automate the entire customer experience process which will help MSPs respond quickly to any issue, but also anticipate clients needs.
Grow your Business with a Trusted RPA vendor - ElectroNeek
For every MSP, offering a greater number of services including the IT stack is at the heart of their MRR. Despite this, many MSPs have piles of solutions intertwined and have many RPA vendors to follow.
Here the challenge arises for MSPs: how to build inventory to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity? More specifically, how to leverage automation to ensure that the services are scalable and profitable over time.
It is better to have as many automation tools as possible from a single or a few trusted RPA vendors. Besides managing limited screen and workflows, MSPs can easily manage their relationship with the vendors and benefit from reductions as the vendor is handling more activities. Another crucial point is to partner with those vendors that offer a variety of integrations and tools instead of going after several ones.
Here’s how ElectroNeek can help you grow your MSP business!
- A steady high value ROI pipeline:
Use the ElectroNeek platform to extend your existing capabilities and overcome challenges with existing applications/systems. If a client needs help with RPA implementation, MSPs can capture maximum profit by using ElectroNeek's RPA platform. Why? Because you will save money on bot licenses and dev tools. By using ElectroNeek's Studio Pro, no bot licenses are needed and you can squeeze maximum profits from the bots as compared to your money invested in automation.
While choosing an RPA vendor that best suits your need is an important factor, measuring the value it offers is also a key to your success. For instance, ElectroNeek's flexible and extensible RPA platform enables MSPs to sell more in less time. You can deploy the bots across several processes regardless of fluctuations in volume. In terms of value, ElectroNeek offers speed, profitability, simplicity of delivery, and empowers you to scale your MSP business to a much higher value.
- Quick and easy implementation and integration:
ElectroNeek’s RPA solutions can integrate with a range of systems and applications. As implementation costs are quite higher than the technology, ElectroNeek offers a logical and flexible solution that accommodates RPA projects from piloting to scaling. It is an easy-to-maintain solution that your employees can easily replicate and reuse to a variety of business departments.
Time is Money - this phrase fits perfectly with the MSPs. Their employees have so much to do, and automation can help them improve their efficiency and productivity along with increasing profitability. For an MSP to grow its business, it needs to develop a concentrated effort to maximize efficiency; time is its most valuable asset, and labor its number one cost.
With the help of automation, MSPs can save resources and create a perpetual cycle that leads to more business. By partnering with a trusted RPA vendor such as ElectroNeek, MSPs can offer their services at an affordable rate.
ElectroNeek is a leading RPA vendor with a commitment to constantly advance its RPA offerings. It offers several major and minor product releases incorporating technological improvements and helps MSPs adapt to latest trends. With ElectroNeek, MSPs save on bot licenses and dev tools, so they can offer budget-friendly plans to their clients. Lastly, with the help of automation tools, MSPs can offer a wide range of proactive services with limited manpower.