Category: Information Technology

Category: Information Technology

More service providers and value-added resellers (VARs) are facing increasing competition for clients. An expanding marketplace of suppliers is forcing price competition and falling margins. These companies are beginning to gravitate to IT management software.

The most commonly outsourced IT among Canadian companies involves security for their networks. In a technical world where such specialized areas of service are becoming marketplace commodities, building an MSP company from a VAR or specialized service shop is possible with an IT monitoring platform, but not easy.

VARs and tech services companies are having to look for insights and techniques on becoming a successful managed services provider. Here are a few good ways to start.

Sell the company, not the service
Clients are looking not so much for what can be done as they are the trustworthiness and credibility of the provider. Instead of being yet another provider, companies should focus on developing a brand in order to attract leads. Part of this is seeking a relationship as a trusted advisor first, and a provider of general services second. It is guidance and expertise that build client trust, essential to maintaining a long-term association.

Customer experience
While MSPs are popping up everywhere, the satisfaction of clients across other industries may be decreasing. It’s important to treat new clients as not just “sign-ups” but as potential partners that can provide the recommendations and social marketing opportunities that lead to more clients. It’s after-sales service that provides the real value. A majority of Canadian companies have chosen an MSP because of the quality of their customer support. An RMM (remote monitoring and management) solution is important to providing quality service.

MSP contracts
VARs moving into the managed services field need to be familiar with standard MSP contracts and the various details. These should include service level agreements (SLAs) to outline exactly what the client can expect from you at a minimum. These should be realistic enough not to create headaches and undermine profits, and be clearly stated and explained to the client before contract signing so there are no surprises in the future.

The MSP business model
MSPs must retain profitability while still attracting the top technicians and engineers to ensure that quality performance is passed on to customers. Remote management and support means round-the-clock service while coping with changing technologies and climbing pay rates. Insufficient resources could lead to prioritizing customer needs, which will only lead to loss of the customers low on that list.

Being a managed services provider affords a quick path to high-value resources that VARs and tech companies already have experience with. It also represents a proven business strategy to expand core services into other profitable offerings.


Category: Information Technology

Consultants across the spectrum are continuously forecasting and analyzing trends, but what does the consulting industry itself forecast? Overall, it’s generally accepted that being knowledgeable about the changing clients’ IT support needs is integral if success is to come in 2016 and beyond. The fact is that lots of emerging trends that are impacting other service industries are now also starting to permeate through the IT consulting services field.

Impact of Technology

Increasingly sophisticated and ever changing technology—at times doing some tasks previously carried out by human beings—is another growing trend that will continue gaining momentum over the coming years. Whether IT consulting services ought to get concerned about the possibility of high-tech “robo-consultants” virtually taking over consulting jobs, the thought itself may be for now a bit premature.

Although predictive analytics solutions and cutting edge machine learning are increasingly supplying business with unparalleled insights, big-spending consulting firms are employing these resources together with their best expertise in human consulting. These emerging technologies are complementing the skills of the professionals at the consulting firms.

Uberization Trend

The Uberization trend that has been gaining momentum globally may be finally catching up with the consulting industry. The effect of these on consulting are varied. More usage of transactional style and freelance consulting services may soon become the new norm. In the years ahead, IT consulting services may be viewed as more of a transactional, commoditized type of interaction instead of a professional service partnership for the long-term.

Potential Sector Disruptors

Crowd-sourced and low-cost “disruptors” are likely to continue entering the consulting services field over the coming years. New industry start-ups are gaining traction by getting the media to give high-level publicity to several of their successes in consulting. This crowd-sourced marketplace is effectively bringing together businesses and freelance consultants in offering substantive analysis and viable solutions to business problems.

With upstart outlets entering into the IT support foray, the need for their consultants to undertake arduous travel is diminishing fast. They can easily outsource to freelancing IT consultants located near where the service is needed. They can also select which projects to take differently from many traditional consulting firms that tend to assign specific projects to their particular consultants, who must travel to meet clients in far-flung locations.

Besides the ease of consultants and clients locating each other, there is a strong drive for consultants to begin exploring the crowd-sourced/freelance route for their own employment.

Conclusion

The challenges in the coming years will continue being the battle for better talent and the repositioning of firms to capture the emerging industry trends. The key areas that are likely to witness continued business momentum broadly fall into the following three main categories: Big Data/Data Analytics Consulting, Cloud Services, and Compliance Related Consulting. These will no doubt prompt IT consulting services to enhance their teams and capabilities in these markets.