Many MSPs get their start in break/fix. So it’s no surprise when many of those companies go on to basically provide break/fix services on a retained basis. Same techs, same tools, same services, just a different pricing model. This is a recipe for failure. If you’re just offering to outsource the job of the IT manager, you’ll get paid like them. The more profitable MSP instead plays the role of CIO.
Getting most technology issues resolved isn’t that challenging for companies anymore. Hardware is becoming more reliable and disposable every year and with so many young techs getting their start in break/fix in a race to the bottom on price, tech repair is becoming a commodity. While these services are vital to keep their business going, it doesn’t help them grow their business and it won’t help grow your business either now that you’ve grown into an MSP.
The problem is that your average client isn’t looking for a CIO, they’re looking for an outsourced “IT guy.” It’s like posting a job for a janitor, when they really need a COO. So how do you go into a job interview for a janitor position and have any possible chance of walking out with the COO gig?
Give them a vision
A janitor cleans up a mess, a COO figures out how to stop the mess from happening in the first place. If a company has problems with their toilets constantly backing up, they can address the problem by hiring janitors and buying plungers. However, and experienced COO would know that he needs to take a look at the plumbing system as a whole to stop the backing up in the first place.
This is where presales IT infrastructure reporting tools like CloudRadial and RapidFire Tools come in handy. When you can take a look at their infrastructure as a whole, you’re able to take an evidenced-based approach in selling them on a solution. What they want and need is for someone to show them a world where the toilets actually flush like their supposed to and they can focus on what they do, and not containing little plumbing disasters.
They don’t know what they don’t know, and doubly so when it comes to their IT. If you just unclog the toilet, their company won’t grow, they’re right back where they started. You’ll have job security as the janitor, because the toilet’s going to blow up again next week, but is that really what you want to be doing? You have to insist that there is a better way than it breaking and you fixing it. Unclogging the toilet, fixing the workstation, it’s a commodity, anyone can do it. It’s when you can offer advice and a plan that you move from the floor, into the C-Suite.
Understanding the problem
One of the benefits of being a practitioner of the janitorial arts is that your job skills are quite portable. If you can clean one office, you can clean another. COO’s are a bit more specialized. Even at a cutting-edge startup, they tend to hire old hands with lots of relevant experience. An old guy in a suit in a room full of hoodies. While these aren’t great culture fits, it’s the best way to grow quickly and profitably. Someone who has been there and done that in their field has a better chance of avoiding mistakes and alleviating growing pains.
The same is true for the CIO role, but where the opportunity lies for many MSPs is that companies typically hire a COO long before a CIO, if ever. CloudRadial’s fully-customizable, white-labeled client portal gives you a powerful way to demonstrate domain expertise. You can deliver a completely different set of content to individual companies and users or group of companies. You can setup ticket triaging, service catalogs, and reporting tailored to specific industries. It gives you something to demo to your client to show that you don’t just say you know their business, you can show them.