The IT services industry has continued to grow in the backdrop of high demand for innovative solutions across all industries. Global spending surpassed $1.3 trillion in 2022. Managed services account for much of this spending with managed service providers (MSP) at the heart of the impressive growth.
MSPs make up the largest part of the IT service industry, delivering an extensive host of IT solutions from data storage, Networks and Infrastructure, security, Software as a Service (SaaS), communication services, support, and other essential business solutions. But in today’s fast-paced business environment, client demands change rapidly and MSPs have to adapt quickly to these changing market needs.
MSPs struggle to offer multiple IT Services, and this causes challenges in meeting clientele’s requirements. To overcome this challenge, IT service providers now heavily rely on Remote Monitoring Management (RMM) tools. With RMM, MSPs seamlessly manage clients’ needs remotely and resolve any issues.
While RMM solutions can ease most of the challenges in your MSP, they come with multiple challenges. If you want to move to the next level of IT service management, optimize your systems to overcome myriad challenges with RMM solutions such as inability to scale, weak automation protocol, weak reporting, and complexity of the technology. This post explores how you can leverage unique solutions to go beyond RMM and towards IT service management (ITSM).
How MSPs Are Currently Using RMM
As a managed service provider (MSP), you have a daunting task on your hands to meet diverse clientele needs. Your clientele probably spans multiple industries across different time zones. With a clientele base this wide, you would have to devote a lot of resources to guarantee reliable service delivery.
The traditional break-fix model that MSPs relied on no longer works. You can’t have someone physically visiting your clients’ offices to sort out technical hitches. This is where a dedicated Remote Monitoring Management (RMM) tool. RMM software is integral to network management and asset monitoring by MSPs. Your team gets tools that allow visibility over connected endpoints (client’s devices/networks). With RMM solutions, you can effectively monitor everything that happens on your managed networks and consider the action to improve network performance.
A dedicated Remote Monitoring Management (RMM) tool helps your company standardize connected IT assets and ensure optimal performance. Your IT experts can remotely check on the connected IT assets and evaluate their performance against the standards.
Two of the biggest complaints against MSPs have always been poor response time and downtime. With the best RMM solutions, your IT professionals can now monitor systems, track issues, allocate tasks, and automate maintenance jobs. With this efficient technology, you have all assets under your watch in your control. You gain insight into how your managed networks and assets perform, and carry out maintenance work remotely.
For managed IT service providers, RMM software is a godsend in improving the customer experience. It’s easier to maintain the best SLA levels through ongoing remote maintenance of managed networks. More importantly, MSPs can meet the stringent compliance standards in the industry through improved network performance, remote monitoring, and network security.
With the agents installed on the client’s system, your MSP has real-time data on which to base its decision. Reporting and analytics are two of the major benefits of leveraging RMM solutions. Ultimately, the constant stream of data helps to:
- Reduce downtime: You can foresee emerging problems and resolve them remotely, which improves customer satisfaction levels.
- Respond faster: With real-time monitoring, any issue that emerges on a clients’ website receives immediate attention for resolution.
- Leverage automation benefits: You can automate updates, maintenance works, and other tasks under the managed service agreement, such as creating system restore points, deleting temporary files or internet history, device reboot/shutdown, disk check, and running scripts.
- Enhance productivity: Your team also has more time on its hands to improve your services now that RMM continuously monitors the client’s systems. This boosts productivity levels in your company.
- Reduce costs: Your MSP enjoys the cost-cutting benefits that come with remote management of clients’ systems. Your IT experts can resolve issues remotely without leaving the office.
How MSPs Are Currently Using ITSM
With IT service management (ITSM), an organization can leverage the complete range of benefits from information technology. This is a popular concept in managed IT services, with the principal goal being to deliver maximum value to the IT services consumer.
The key players in ITSM are the MSP, end users (employees and customers using), and IT services offered by the MSP (from applications, hardware, and infrastructure), quality factors, and the costs. Managed services providers (MSPs) work with clients to deliver a host of IT solutions to meet the needs of such clients through a mix of IT solutions, people, and processes.
Unfortunately, MSPs still consider ITSM basic IT support, which means these service providers don’t harness the full potential of this IT concept. If you embrace ITSM in your organization, you have your IT teams overseeing all IT assets from laptops and servers to software applications.
ITSM doesn’t just focus on the final delivery of the IT services but spans the life-cycle of an IT service. An MSP works with the client from the conceptualization of the strategy, design, transition up to the launch/live operation of the service and maintenance.
Why Should MSPs Focus On Moving Past RMM to ITSM?
Unlike RMM, ITSM goes beyond detecting and resolving day-to-day issues on a client’s system. As an MSP, your IT team is integral in service delivery and handles end-to-end management of these IT services. You can leverage different ITSM tools to manage such services effectively.
While most MSPs are comfortable using RMM for enhanced service delivery, ITMS can make life easier for your IT team with structured delivery and documentation. If you implement ITSM for your managed services company, you streamline operations and save on costs with predictable operations.
Another way MSPs are leveraging ITSM is in decision-making. One of the most challenging roles of an IT manager is to make decisions on the fly. Implementing ITSM gives the team actionable IT insights into your operations. You have more control over your organization which helps in better decision making.
There’s a need for the next-gen MSP to move from RMM to ITSM. Some benefits for this shift include:
- Efficiency and productivity gains with defined roles and responsibilities.
- Benefits that come with a structured approach to service management.
- Aligning IT with your MSP’s business objectives/priorities.
- Helping to standardize service delivery.
- Help MSP set and meet realistic expectations for service.
- Facilitating cross-department collaboration.
- Faster response to major IT incidences.
- Building an empowered IT team.
- Improved service delivery.
- Reduced IT costs.
- Reduced regulatory and security risks.
- Increased profitability.
- Higher customer satisfaction.
- Reduced incident life cycles.
- Improved compliance and reduce risk through compliance in IT service design, delivery, and management.
- Reduced downtime because of more efficient alerting with ITSM.
How To Improve ITSM
For a managed services provider, ITSM is essential in the highly competitive industry. You can leverage the best ITSM tools to improve productivity, deliver higher quality services, and much more. For this reason, continuously improve your ITSM strategy.
Below are some ideas you can integrate into your system for better IT service management:
- Setting clear and achievable short and long-term goals: Use the SMART model (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) when you come up with goals to make it easier to assess progress
- Assess the current situation and needs/ITSM maturity level: Don’t implement any changes for the sake of it but carry out an audit to identify weaknesses you can eliminate. This ensures you invest in appropriate ITSM solutions.
- Establish clear KPIs: The KPIs and metrics help you track the ITMS performance. They include the number of incidents, customer satisfaction score (CSAT), first contact resolution (FCR) rate, average incident resolution time, and the number of service requests.
- Strategize on winning upper management support: Executive agreement eases the update of your MSP’s ITSM capabilities.
- Consider the options to implement ITSM changes: Brainstorm with the team to identify the best techniques to update your ITSM operations. ITIL is one of the trusted frameworks for ITSM best practices, but you can look at alternatives. Make sure you bring everyone on board through training before you implement any changes to ITSM.
- Automation: In today’s fast-paced business environment, automation comes handy if you wish to improve ITSM in your MSP. With the right automation tools, you boost efficiency and help cut costs of any ITSM changes. Automation also reduces the risk of errors, improved predictability, productivity, and reliability, while enhancing customer experience.
- Choose the right ITSM software: To get the most of ITSM, choose the right software to suit your company. Go for a single ITSM software that helps manage everything from one place.
- Incremental changes: Any changes to ITSM require time and a continual service improvement (CSI) approach. Track and measure the progress as you implement the changes to avoid disruptive action that might ruin customer satisfaction.
How To Reduce Costs With ITSM
One of the main advantages of the ITSM platform is the reduction of IT costs. Most businesses that would like to harness the immense benefits of IT solutions can’t because of the associated high costs. With ITSM, organizations can now take their operations to another level by integrating a whole range of IT solutions.
With the competitive nature of the IT industry, MSPs have to identify innovative solutions to cut costs. ITSM helps in cost reduction through higher employee productivity, streamlined business processes, and reduced cost of IT systems.
Some tactics that can help reduce costs with ITSM include:
- Shifting to the cloud: This saves on capital expenditures for equipment such as servers and network equipment. You only pay monthly operating expenses.
- Implementing agile practices: MSPs have to move from the traditional organizational structure and embrace agile collaborative practices. The shift to agile can cut costs through faster fixes and reduced failure rates.
- Automation: Automated managed IT solutions guarantee better service delivery and cut costs on repetitive tasks. From job scheduling to clients’ system monitoring, automated IT service management can help cut costs of operations.
- Use of contractors: Your company can streamline its ITSM platform by recruiting external contractors for service delivery when you need specific tasks done.
- Optimization: By optimizing your ITSM system to reduce downtime, which can eat into your bottom line.
Automating With ITSM To Save Time
MSPs face an enormous challenge in service delivery, and this is where ITSM automation comes in handy. By automating business processes, you improve service delivery, cut costs and more importantly, save time. Time is an invaluable asset in the IT service industry and can make or break your organization.
Automating with ITSM streamlines repetitive tasks from your operations and eliminates redundancy. Automating these functions also enhances the quality of service and boosts the customer experience.
You can also make faster transitions in your business in case of changes when you automate ITSM functions. Other benefits include:
- Easier employee onboarding.
- Automated workflows.
- Faster system updates.
- Automated ticketing for faster resolution of issues by the IT desk.
Automation enables organizations to streamline IT processes, reduce costs, and improve service delivery. By automating routine tasks such as software updates, patching, and backup, IT teams can focus on higher-value activities that require more specialized skills.
Automation can also help to reduce errors and improve consistency, which can increase efficiency and reduce downtime. In addition, automation can provide real-time monitoring and analytics that enable IT teams to proactively identify and address issues before they become critical.
Use ITSM to elevate customer service
ITSM helps MSPs deliver better customer service in several ways:
- Clear service level agreements (SLAs): ITSM involves establishing clear SLAs with clients that specify the level of service they can expect. This can help to manage client expectations and ensure that MSPs are delivering services that meet or exceed those expectations. SLAs can cover response times, uptime guarantees, and other metrics that are important to clients.
- Proactive service management: ITSM is designed to be proactive, rather than reactive. By proactively monitoring IT infrastructure and identifying potential issues before they become critical, MSPs can prevent service disruptions and minimize downtime. This helps to ensure that clients are always able to access the IT services they need.
- Consistent service delivery: Consistency is key with ITSM, which creates a standardized model for service delivery. This helps to ensure that all clients receive the same level of service, regardless of their size or complexity. Consistent service delivery makes the difference in trust building with clients and improving overall experience. Big or small, everyone wants to feel that expert attention to detail
- Communication and reporting: This can include regular performance reports, incident notifications, and other updates as defined by each customer. Effective communication and reporting can help to build trust and confidence with clients, demonstrating that MSPs are actively managing their IT services.
- Continuous service improvement: ITSM involves a continuous improvement mindset, where MSPs are always looking for ways to improve their services. This can include gathering client feedback, monitoring performance metrics, and implementing process improvements. By continuously improving their services, MSPs can stay ahead of the curve and deliver even better service to their clients over time.
By establishing clear SLAs, being proactive, delivering consistent service, communicating effectively, and continuously improving services, MSPs can differentiate themselves in a competitive market and build long-term client relationships based on trust and reliability.
Advanced Security With ITSM Function
ITSM promotes collaboration between IT and security systems. When these two components work together, there’s improved security through automatized alerts, identifying potential risks, faster resolution of security threats. All these give your clients peace of mind.
The IT service industry is volatile and fast-paced, with innovations and solutions emerging every day. To survive in such a turbulent business landscape, your managed services company must adapt fast and embrace the latest solutions. While RMM solutions have served MSPs for a long time, the next-gen MSP has to embrace IT service management (ITSM) solutions to survive. ITSM guarantees better service delivery, reliability, higher productivity, advanced security, cost reduction, and other benefits that give your MSP a competitive edge.
Originally published June 10, 2021. Updated March 2023.