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MSP Processes and Best Practices

April 15, 2021

By Peter Barnett

The widespread digitization due to the COVID-19 pandemic, uptick in cloud adoption, IT talent shortage, and growing concerns over cybersecurity fuels a rising demand for managed service providers (MSPs). This shows in the expanding managed services market, which is expected to grow from its current value of $242.9 billion to $354.8 billion in just four years.

Despite these attractive opportunities for MSPs, the managed services industry is still a highly competitive space. An IT provider must put their best foot forward to acquire and retain clients, deliver in-demand services, and grow as a business. Are you doing everything right toward your MSP’s success? Let’s look at five key managed IT best practices guaranteed to streamline your MSP processes, customer satisfaction, and internal operations.

Create a Temperate Onboarding Roadmap

Onboarding a new client is the most delicate stage in forming an MSP partnership. A common mistake that many MSPs make is getting a new client to sign an all-inclusive, fully-managed contract right from the start. It might seem counterproductive, but intentionally limiting your managed scope is the best way to go when onboarding a new business.

Don’t be too eager to take a large piece of the client’s business, even if you can. Get one foot in the door and take some time to learn what the client requires and expects from an MSP. Form the basis for mutual trust and understanding first. From there, you can propose possible services expansion scenarios. Expanding coverage within the existing clientele is easier and more rewarding than pitching to new clients.

Work Through a Unified Management Platform

Different clients will usually have varying managed service packages, payment plans, and service level contracts. Serving multiple clients manually can quickly become overwhelming and even erroneous. And you can’t possibly provide a unique management platform for each client. The only practical MSP software solution is to house all the MSP processes, including remote monitoring and management, billing, and ticket support, in a centralized or unified management platform.

Controlling client and managed processes on a single pane of glass gives you clear visibility into the whole enterprise, minimizes the risk for error, and presents unlimited opportunities for automation.

Standardize Your MSP Offering

Managed IT is a broad industry covering cybersecurity, endpoint management, employee training, cloud management, solutions deployment, and many more service niches. You might be tempted to offer a wide variety of services in an attempt to cover more ground and reach more clients. But in doing so, you’d only dilute your brand and introduce unnecessary complexities in modeling service delivery, pricing, and targeted marketing.

Specialize in just one or a handful of offerings that you’re good at and can deliver comfortably, rather than spreading the business too thin all over the place. With a narrow focus, you can really hone your skills and work your MSP processes down to a system. Remember, specialization breeds competence, credibility, and authority.

Keep Detailed Documentation

Doing business involves a lot of paperwork, especially when it comes to managed services. In addition to conventional bookkeeping, it’s crucial to keep detailed records of events, contracts, and work progress. A vast knowledge base is invaluable in drawing actionable business insights, informing important decisions, gauging MSP performance, and proving accountability and value to clients.

Exercise Transparency

Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what the MSP delivers and what the client expects, which often leads to customer dissatisfaction and turnover. The first step to avoiding such a problem is having a clearly defined IT service management methodology and providing thorough, comprehensible descriptions of your MSP offerings. Level with each client about the outcomes they should expect. Don’t sugarcoat anything; explain candidly what it would take to achieve the client’s goals. The client obviously expects tangible results, and it’s your job to lay out a viable path leading to those results.

Final Word

Ultimately, the success of an MSP business comes down to the value it brings to its clients and how efficiently it does that. This means going out of your way to deliver quality, goal-oriented IT services while keeping an eye on the bottom line and long-term growth. The MSP best practices we’ve discussed can significantly boost your business’s operational efficiency and customer retention strategies.

Speaking of efficiency, optimize your managed processes with Action1 for MSP. Our cloud-based RMM suite has the tools you need to maintain healthy and secure IT infrastructures for multiple clients. It unifies remote endpoint management, real-time visibility, automated patching, and software deployment on a single platform. Sign up for a zero-obligation Action1 account to get started.

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