Scaling a business in the context of MSPs is changing the volume of services you provide, as well as the amount of support and utilized resources. Scaling your managed service business is paramount as your customer base grows.
The number of clients you work with, the number of projects to be completed, the number of people working in your organization—All of these things can change from month to month. And if you can’t adjust your business to these ever-changing circumstances, you’re in for a struggle.
In a conventional sense, you generally scale as you onboard new employees and secure larger managed customers. But you should keep in mind that being able to scale downward is crucial, too. Consider phases when margins are low or clients are frugal, or your client base shrinks. If you can’t scale downward, it could be a matter of time before you go out of business.
Here are the biggest scalability challenges that managed service providers meet.
There’s always a human factor. Special skills are required to hire the right employees and fire those who aren’t working out (or let people go if business is lean). Finding the right people for your company is never easy. Even if you’ve hired an IT superstar, you will still need to explain the specifics of your business, which requires time and capital.
Scaling infrastructure requires time as well. Adding new servers, setting up the necessary software, moving processes from on-premises solutions to the cloud—all of this requires invested hours.
And keep in mind that scaling infrastructure is not only about altering its size, but also about changing your management processes, which is a big challenge, too.
How Managed Services Providers Can Meet Scalability Challenges
Nothing is impossible if the necessary experience is in place and you and your team know how to respond to issues. If you’ve already worked in IT for a while, consider the following advice.
Automate everything that can be reasonably automated
Ideally, if a person can make a mistake when performing routine tasks, then you want to be sure that this mistake will, at best, occur earlier in the required processes. Let software handle all redundant tasks that can be automated.
For example, if you provide your clients with managed cloud backup solutions, you may want to find software that will automatically send all new and modified data to the reserve location. This will help to reduce manual routine and increase the efficiency of your workers.
Modularity is the key
When making decisions on software, you want to use modular software, environments and business processes that consist of multiple pieces and are easier to scale. Sometimes you may need to scale only part of a system, which is much easier if the system can be divided into pieces.
Move to the cloud
There is a number of benefits of cloud storage as compared to a local storage. First and foremost, it represents scalable storage. If you only keep your data on a local server, you are limited by the server’s size. If you move your infrastructure to the cloud, local storage limits will no longer hold you back.
Set up alerts
Alerts become even more important as you grow and need to manage more and more devices. Notifications about threats and issues can help you react much faster and thus help your clients cope with problems as they arise.
Scaling is difficult, without a doubt, but not impossible. Proper scaling is essential to maintaining competitiveness.
New technologies designed to help you resolve issues and handle tasks emerge all the time. Keep your eyes open and implement new and appropriate software when it appears on the market. Scale in ways that are appropriate for your business, and it can weather both good times and bad.