Managed service providers are faced with growing pressure as the breadth of service demands grows. Clients need support of cloud services, IoT platforms, and of course, internal networks. In many cases, MSPs struggle to get OEMs to provide the support guaranteed through entitlements and existing SLAs. As a result, the end-client experiences increased downtime, which reflects poorly on the MSP offering. As OEM support of network hardware dwindles, MSPs are often forced into providing support using internal resources in attempt to fulfill support contract requirements.
The global market for managed services will grow to 193.34 billion by 2019. – Markets and Markets
Managed service providers are more than just SLA resellers, they provide their clients with peace of mind and deliver a higher quality of service than many, cut-rate support providers. The holistic experience provided by high-quality MSPs alleviates client support burdens and provides a single point of contact for error resolution. MSPs coordinate support teams, communicate with OEMs, and work diligently to ensure that their client is receiving the highest levels of support. For MSP clients, this high level of support decreases stress on their internal teams and ensures maximum uptime.
However, delivering this level of service has become increasingly difficult for MSPs. OEMs routinely fail to meet the tenets of entitled support and service level agreements, leaving MSPs to fill in the gap in order to best support their clients. When an MSP is forced to fill-in support gaps, service suffers and costs increase.
Managed service providers often do not have trained, in-house support teams to provide the highest levels of support. This means that service restoration and error resolution takes longer than it should. When the OEM fails to deliver support, MSPs are forced to contract freelance network support experts to diagnose and resolve complex network issues.
Not only is the reputation of the MSP in jeopardy as downtime mounts, but the cost of supporting clients increases as the MSP is forced to spend time working with freelance network support experts and internal resources to restore client service. This issue is compounded when multiple OEMs are involved and MSPs must act as the go-between for the client, multiple OEMs, and SLA providers.
63% of businesses measure their estimated recovery time in days rather than hours, with 29% reporting that a full return to operations would take 4 days or more. – Dynamic Quest
Creating the Best Support Environment
In an ideal environment, a managed service provider monitors client infrastructure and manages support services. Because an MSP is proactively monitoring the network, issues are discovered early and the MSP can begin immediately deploying the right resources to restore service. When MSP resources are pulled away from infrastructure monitoring to provide client support, the main service offering of the MSP suffers.
To prevent this scenario, MSP offerings can leverage the services of a high-quality independent network support provider. High-quality network support providers deliver network support that far exceeds the service provided by OEMs. Access to the highest levels of support is never restricted and troubleshooting and service restoration is provided by certified, experienced experts. Independent providers can step-in when OEM support falls flat and ensure that the MSP delivers the highest levels of support, just as their clients have come to expect.
To optimize hybrid client support and leverage both OEM and independent provider support, managed service providers must have the operational intelligence to identify support gaps and recognize potential support pitfalls. This requires analysis of the client’s network infrastructure, knowledge of all OEM SLAs, and an understanding of entitled support.
No other function in managed services has a greater impact on profitability and customer satisfaction than delivery. – George Humphrey
Delivering Added Value to MSP Clients
A comprehensive support assessment provides a holistic view of all equipment and support needs to help MSPs navigate the complex world of service entitlements, OEM SLAs, and independent SLAs. An assessment identifies each piece of network equipment, the entitled support included with the purchase of that equipment, and any existing coverage provided through an SLA.
Comprehensive assessments also delve into the unique coverage needs of each client to understand when additional coverage is necessary to support the needs of the business and where areas of the network are over-covered. This optimizes support budgets and often results in significant savings by ensuring that each piece of hardware in the network has precisely the right level of coverage at the right discount.
Managed service providers that choose to partner with an independent support firm can provide clients with the highest levels of support and offer additional value through comprehensive support level assessments. Instead focusing on increased costs, contract negotiations that include comprehensive network support assessments can focus on savings and ROI. In fact, most companies that complete a comprehensive support assessment reduce their OPEX by at least 20 percent.
To improve the level of service provided to your clients while reducing spending and offering value-add support assessments, partner with a high-quality, independent network support provider with the experience and expertise to provide the highest levels of service and support to your clients.