ALSO MSP Concept

The solution in a nutshell: The ALSO MSP Concept supports you in transforming from a classic business model to a managed service provider and helps you to expand this further.

What does this involve?

The ALSO MSP team has set itself the task of supporting you with all aspects of MSP. So in addition to a lot of important information on the topic, you will also find an overview of possible service packages, pricing examples or sample contracts. In a special MSP workshop you will learn everything you need to know to undergo a successful transformation.

Managed services – recurring revenue

The sales structure in Germany has been tried and tested. It has worked extremely well for several decades. Things are discussed and offered, then sold and implemented. A large sum of money changes hands and everyone is happy. The seller gets their commission, the boss gets a decent turnover, the technician gets work and the end customer gets lots of goods for a lot of money.

Here IT services are provided on demand - the end customer has needs that must be met. Invoicing takes into account the time and materials required.

This can be the right model for some customers and certain situations. Under the right conditions, it can be effective and profitable. Nevertheless, there is another way to generate sustainable revenue while at the same time keeping end customers satisfied - it’s probably even better than the old established model.

Managed services allow you, as a provider, to offer comprehensive IT support, the conditions of which are set out in a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Typically, services such as proactive monitoring and proactive maintenance (often remote-controlled) are offered. This involves detecting problems early on and fixing them before they become real problems. This not only saves the end customer trouble, it also alleviates their budget in the long-term thanks to the monthly payment schedule.

So say goodbye to touchy end customers who can swiftly ruin a weekend, who withhold payments from time to time and who annoy you and put pressure on you, making it hard to provide a reasonable service for your customers.

The classic model vs the MSP model: Pros and cons

The concept:

The following approach is intended to support you with your move from the classic business model over to the MSP.

The approach is divided up into four phases. Within each phase, you will find important and useful documents for making a successful transition. We would be happy to help you work through the very detailed information. An extensive range of webinars, workshops and training sessions mean you can prepare in the best way possible.

Transformation

For most IT providers, full transition over to a managed services model is not an overnight process. Every path is slightly different and there are often several pit stops along the way before the goal is reached. Of course, a lot depends on your customers - their demographics, the state of their IT environment, their special requirements, their willingness to change, etc. Nevertheless, the following stages show some of the most common paths that you may also wish to take into consideration.

What do i need as a msp?

The transition from the classic business model over to the msp is not a simple one. There are a few things that need to be considered and also a few things that you will have to change in order to become a successful msp. Here is a list of the central points that you should have clarified before becoming a msp.

Your “skills”

  • Your “products” - your services that you want to offer, including the hardware and software you provide and support
  • A business plan that calculates the cost of goods sold (COGS), the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and the profit margins that make your company profitable.
  • A Service Level Agreement (SLA) checked over by a lawyer, which clearly defines which services are billable and which are not
  • Definition of your “ideal” managed services customer (buyer persona)
  • Your mission, your goals and key differentiators (the answer to the question: “Why choose you?”)
  • Methodology of the initial network assessment
  • Appropriate liability insurance and business insurance
  • Comprehensive security audit
  • Actively checked disaster recovery procedures
  • Test environment in which large updates and hotfixes, etc. can be tested out before deployment
  • Rental devices or replacement equipment in stock
  • Strong relationships with third parties and the option to expand supplier support for customers
  • Standardised processes for handling support requests (classifying, resolving and reporting incidents)
  • Staff and expertise in handling the following tools, not to mention the tools you will need to manage on behalf of your customers, such as endpoint protection software, backup and storage solutions, e-mail security, firewalls, cloud infrastructure, and much more depending on the services you will offer.


Your “backend”

  • Remote monitoring and management (rmm) software for the provision of your proactive monitoring and maintenance services
  • Professional services automation (psa) software to manage your customer’s business as well as your own
  • Helpdesk/ticketing software (if not included in the psa)
  • Remote access software
  • Accounting/invoicing software
  • Documentation software (to increase efficiency and shorten training times)


One more thing – sales provisioning

Sales provisioning is a part of working life in many system suppliers – one that is sometimes even celebrated. If the sales rep manages to convince the end customer to close the deal after much back and forth, they stand to receive a decent bonus. This bonus is usually related to the total value of the deal. A good idea in principle – after all, the sales rep is personally invested in achieving a good result.

So why should they now change to selling monthly licences?

Wouldn’t this be only a fraction of the deal value and therefore just a fraction of the commission?

Managing directors will need to set up new structures here. It must be worthwhile for the employee to build up a long-term business base. Whether it’s by provisioning after one year (and then following years) or based on the number of end customers that can be convinced of the benefits of managed services.

Packages

Within the individual packages you will find different services that will help you to set up your own services. The complexity increases with each level and therefore allows you to expand your services up to the level of a full managed service provider.

Start by taking an inventory of your customers’ hardware and software. Purchased hardware can be directly equipped with a monitoring tool and managed via a management system.

As the first stage of expansion, we recommend keeping customer systems up-to-date using patch management. This can be automated and therefore requires relatively little manual input.

With the help of predefined reports, you can provide customers with a regular overview of their environment. This in turn creates regular contact. Having up-to-date patches on the respective systems also allows you to achieve a significantly better security standard on the target systems.

Workstations

Server

Mobile Devices

Printer

Switches

Expand your MSP business in a modular way and focus on a core business that you are already familiar with from the start.

Antivirus protection is a common and easy way to get started with additional services in the area of security. An antivirus solution is now standard on all devices. It does, however, require regular maintenance. Patterns have to be kept up-to-date and the functions have to be configured in a sensible way. In addition to antivirus protection, many solutions offer other functions that allow you to expand your services quickly. For example, another package could then include the additional protection of a firewall or protection against falsified emails.

SecurityInfrastructureLicence management
Antivirus Bandwidth monitoring Software
Firewall Availability  
Availability WaaS  
Backup & Recovery Printing  
BYOD    

Alternatively, you can simply begin with areas of infrastructure or licence management. This is an easy way to get started, for example, in the field of availability monitoring or bandwidth management. Printing services are another good way to get started in the MSP business.

The third and final stage of expansion includes the most complex services for your customers, but also offers an extraordinary opportunity to make yourself stand out from the competition.

Customers at this service level entrust their IT infrastructure to you in part or in whole.

SecurityInfrastructure
Privilege account management Cloud services (email, data, communication)
Password Management Complete server
Security Awareness Databanks
Forensics Application as a Service
  SDWAN
  Complete IT infrastructure

Vendors

PROVIDER

1. Develop your range

Finally it starts – you’re developing your first service all of your own.

You should ask yourself which services your customers are most likely to need - the easiest way to do this is to contact your customers and to figure out their requirements. This point is really important. Don’t just rely on your gut feeling, it may give you a whole new approach.

Don’t just copy the services of other providers - consider your customers and develop your own unique range of solutions.

Your customers’ needs should be clear to you now. This is the ideal point at which to compare their needs with your skills and to generate your first service - perhaps based on the service levels mentioned.

And one package won’t fit everyone - your customers are sure to expect different services. So split your product up by different services: Basic, Premium, etc.

FunctionBasicPremium
Device monitoring (SNMP check)
Notification in the event of an incident
Monthly report
Installation of updates
(1 x per quarter)
X
1st Level Support (Response time) 8/5 24/7

2. Assemble your tools

You now know your customers’ requirements. Now you should think about which tools you can use to provide the services in the most effective way. So now we’re at the point where we ask which vendors have suitable solutions. In addition to the range of functions, you should also consider the following when making your choice in order to find the solution that best suits the services you hope to provide:

  • Options for integration into existing systems and structures
  • Vendor support (does this match my SLAs?)
  • Billing model (pay per use, flat rate, multi-client capability, per user, per device)
  • Employee training/education
  • Knowledge database (manuals, knowledge base)
  • Branding
  • Automation

ALSO Cloud Marketplace
The ALSO Cloud Marketplace allows cloud providers, cloud ISVs and channel partners to bundle, integrate and manage a large number of cloud services and to tailor them to the needs of their customers – all via their individually customised Cloud Marketplace. The ALSO cloud platform automates the cloud service lifecycle from sales through to invoicing, and makes it possible to provide a mix of services and value added services that are optimally tailored to the requirements of the relevant sector.

Channel partners can also use the ALSO Cloud Marketplace to bundle, sell and manage their cloud services from their local cloud marketplace and to combine them with their existing products and value added services. This enables them to create a mix of services that perfectly meets the needs of their market.

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