Blog | January 29, 2013

Do You Make This Costly Managed Services Error?

By Jay McCall

One of the conversations I have on a regular basis with VARs and MSPs entails finding out the secrets behind their double-digit growth -- especially in this difficult economy. This week I spoke with David DeCamillis, director of business development at Platte River Networks (PRN), a Denver-based IT solutions provider that's been in business since 2002 and started selling managed services less than five years ago. During my initial interview with DeCamillis, he shared with me several key changes his company made over the past couple of years, including bringing PRN's helpdesk support in-house and improving the MSP's customer response time -- all without charging its customers more money and adding only one new employee.

So, how is it possible to significantly ramp up your customer service and NOT charge your customers more than they're already paying? The answer was so simple that I had to contact DeCamillis a second time just to confirm, "That's it?" For PRN, this big change occurred when it replaced its legacy RMM (remote monitoring and management) software with a new RMM (from Level Platforms) that it integrated with its Autotask PSA (professional services automation) software.

It took a little while for me to understand exactly what was the big deal of integrating these two core managed services applications. For PRN, it was the key to enabling it to segment its technicians into two categories: field technicians and internal technicians.  The field techs, which bill at a higher rate, used to be charged with handling most of the server and workstation maintenance projects. Now that the RMM and PSA is integrated, it's easier for field techs to push a lot of work to the internal technicians. "About 90% of all IT maintenance can now be performed remotely," says DeCamillis. "That means field technicians can help more customers per day. Not only that, but all the ticketing, scheduling, and dispatch has been greatly improved."

PRN is projecting 19% revenue growth this year. You can find out a couple of other steps this MSP is doing to make that kind of growth a reality. In the meantime, if you're struggling with flat revenue growth -- or worse -- perhaps running your RMM and PSA as two separate silos is partly to blame.

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