Five Things Every MSP Should Do to Optimize Their Service Delivery

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One of the best parts of my job is helping our partners work through challenges. In these situations, I usually review their N-able N-central configuration and offer suggestions on operational adjustments they can make to best align their service delivery to their RMM. I also enjoy working with leadership, such as the managing VP or director of IT, who can invoke real transformational change in their organization.

Run your business with a help desk offering ticketing, reporting, and billing management.

There are several key things that I look for to best understand how that MSP can optimize their set up to find the necessary efficiencies.

Here are my top five improvements that I recommend that MSPs focus on and change in 2022.

1. Is remote control your gold standard for customer interactions?

When I’ve travelled to see MSPs and speak to CIOs in person, one of the glaring errors I would see was technical staff answering phones and using expensive remote-control tools to log into end-users’ devices to address their technical problem. Every. Single. Time.

While I would agree that this method of customer interaction is needed and required, I certainly don’t believe it should be the “only” method for your technicians to resolve problems or interact with customers who require your services.

Here are some considerations:

  • Self-service: Can your customers consume IT Services directly from you without human interaction? Can you onboard or offboard with little or no technical interaction? What is your PSA actually automating for your business?
  • Have you outgrown your PSA and need to branch away into something like an ITSM tool (e.g., deeper IT and technical operations)?
  • What is your PSA doing to help you in ticketing automation? Do you have any at all?
  • What automation scripts are run when common off-the-shelf applications are requested?
  • Is your L1/ServiceDesk Team able to run automation for your customers? In most cases, automation or scripting is heavily locked down to L1s or ServiceDesk, however in N-central or RMM you can allow them to run simple and effective automation policies without giving them full scripting access.

2. Does your team(s) use automation? You might think they are—but are they?

One thing I continue to see is MSPs not understanding the benefits of automation and scripting in their RMM. I have been talking about the benefits of automating for at least seven years now, but some MSPs are living this and others are still stuck in manual and labor-intensive fixes. How automated these MSPs are is directly aligned to their operational maturity: those who are taking the time to understand their costs and those that want to increase their profitability will most certainly be pushing for an automation strategy in their technical teams.

There are five types of automation you can start with:

  • Proactive maintenance (server and workstation health, cleanups, increased performance)
  • Reactive automation (on-demand fixes)
  • Self-healing (service and process restarts, auto clean on full drive, etc.)
  • Reporting and analytics (being able to query information from the API is game changing for any MSP)
  • Sales-driven automation for finding digital transformation and modernization

3. Patch Management Automation

Patch Management is table steaks! Sure it is, but in N-central are you automating everything you can? On March 15, 2022 I hosted a bootcamp on N-central Patch Management, which shows how to automate and get the most out of your Patch Management setup. Here are some highlights. Do you have automatic approvals setup with a delay? What about workstation reboots—are you requesting your end users to reboot for security patches? Socializing your end users to reboot for security is a really great way to ensure that the devices get rebooted weekly or biweekly.

4. Monitoring: You can’t manage what you can’t measure

I’ve been a monitoring geek since my first monitoring tool in Big Brother. Monitoring today is as important as it was 20 years ago, maybe even more so, but the premise of it hasn’t changed. Quality of data metrics in monitoring allows you, as an MSP, to understand what is happening remotely. However, the most important part of monitoring is context. You need to ensure that what you are monitoring is important and it is actionable. If you don’t have the right monitoring, you most certainly will not have the correct management in service delivery.

5. Operational efficiencies

The focus on operation improvement can seem like an arduous and daunting effort but there are some key metrics I recommend MSPs really drill into in 2022 to ensure they are operating efficiently:

  • MSP Hours per ticket—proactive and reactive
  • Tickets per device
  • Tickets remediated by automation
  • Tickets with one-touch resolution
  • Hours per ticket type
  • Devices per technician
  • Tickets—requests
  • Tickets—system generated
  • Tickets—proactive

Jason Murphy is the N-central Automation Nerd at N-able. You can follow him on reddit on r/nable or Twitter at @ncentral_nerd. Read more N-able guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.