One of the most frustrating hiccups in running an MSP business is when your clients ignore your advice. But what makes it even worse is when they then hold you to account for that several months or even years later.
It is a common scenario. Your client didn’t want to invest in a solution at the time. Time passes and maybe there is a personnel change at the client, a third-party review or, even worse, an incident occurs. Now they are upset that the solution wasn’t in place, and it is easy to throw their MSP under the bus.
Offering persistent IT strategic advice
We figured there had to be an answer. We needed an enduring way of presenting our recommendations and showing our acceptance of the client’s answer.
We started a fairly simple ‘recommendations’ register, and over time found that we were having the same conversations with different clients. We had to find a way to make it repeatable.
Another ‘aha’ moment was remembering why we set up our MSP in the first place. Back in the 90’s, there weren’t MSPs. We were all simply IT people, and I was excited about the opportunity to help organisations use IT smarter, to make themselves more productive.
That was less about asking ‘how’ and more about ‘why’. Trying to understand what outcomes were important to clients, and only then starting to think about how IT could contribute.
Our spreadsheet became a database tool. We started building a set of questions that each client needed to consider. Our reviews became more structured.
Many of our recommendations came to address the use of IT, and the management of IT from SaaS and cloud to people and teams. Policies and procedures stepped towards IT governance controls and board reporting. We now found ourselves delivering a different type of work that was even more satisfying, because we could start to see how our clients were achieving their business goals.
That led to new boards in ConnectWise and different types of tickets, that looked more like the work of an IT Manager. We could apply our MSP disciplines and streamline this work, with structures that scaled.
Then we shared our idea with our ConnectWise Evolve peer group. They loved it and challenged us to share our ideas with them. A few copies of our database worked for a while, but it wasn’t built to share. We realized this could be so much more.
That leads us to today. One complete re-write later. A new interface, built to share as a web application.
As we roll into December 2021, our “discovery” module is completely moved across. The premium version is undergoing internal testing right now and should be available to initial subscribers this week.
The IT Manager as a Service (“manage” module) framework is also close and on track for rolling out this month.
It’s really exciting to be rolling this out, and imagining the impact we can have to help MSPs help their clients to achieve their dreams.