Every business is broken down into different sections. Every cog in the machine needs to work properly in order for the whole to be more than the sum of its parts. The MSP world is no exception, and every aspect of the system can be broken down into even smaller systems. The service desk in particular can be difficult to divide. Who does what? What is important to have its own department? And how have things changed since we entered a pandemic 6 months ago?
The TruMethods philosophy divides Service Delivery into five different areas: Centralized Services, Technology Alignment, vCIO, Support, and Professional Services. All but the latter are included in our all-in seat price model. These delivery areas affect multiple parts of the business like packaging and pricing, sales, quality of service, and employee leverage. We structure things this way to have clear accountability, consistent delivery, and manage cost drivers. They are all important in different ways and contribute to the business as a whole working properly.
In the most basic terms, the Technology Alignment Manager (this person does not have to be management, they are simply managing their alignments) or TAM is going to be in charge of answering the yes/no questions on your reviews. The vCIO is going to evaluate those answers and correlate technical risk to business risk through the business relationship they have with their clients. The support desk answers tickets and smaller problems and escalates them as necessary up the support desk chain. Centralized services takes care of all the programs that work behind the scenes to keep clients safe and manage patches, backup, the runbook and other tools. Finally, Professional Services completes installation of new technology and helps to manage relevant documentation.
Knowing the edges of a role is a great first step in figuring out how to structure your service delivery team. In optimal circumstances, everyone would only be doing one role and not be wearing multiple hats, but we know that isn’t always the case. Having scheduling discipline (and sticking to that schedule!) can go a long way in making sure everyone is on the right page. For example, if a team member spends half their time on the support desk and half their time as a TAM, they shouldn’t be pulled away to answer tickets when they’re in the middle of a review, or vice versa. Having strict edges helps people not step on each other’s toes, because they always know what is their responsibility and what is not.
Another thing to be aware of is who is in what role, and if their skills really apply to the job they are currently doing. Could someone else be better in that role? Could that employee use their best skills to more of an advantage somewhere else? People communicate more fluidly and easily about their passions, which is always a good thing to keep the team honest.
In general, we have found that if an MSP focuses on the Technology Success portion of their business, which, to not put too fine a point on it, boils down to TAM and vCIO, all the other areas seem to fall into place. This is because these two roles have the biggest and most drastic impact on the client; they lower the number of tickets received and help get projects passed to bring down noise even more. This gives the MSP more time back throughout their day to dedicate to organizing and structuring other processes.
So how has all of this changed throughout the pandemic? Well, in many ways nothing has changed. Technology Success is still vitally important, and the departments still work pretty much the same way even though most of our members are remote. The most direct impact that can be seen is that many TAMs are not going on site even now, but they still do their best to check everything they can. (It also helps that myITprocess has two templates available and ready for immediate use that have already been curated to be 100 percent completable from the safety of your home or office.) In other ways though, things have changed drastically and it can be distilled down to once concept: urgency. Every single client is looking to get more out of their technology because there is no other choice, otherwise they can’t work in safety. TruMethods President, GaryPica knows (and we are all already seeing) that clients are going to be changing MSPs more in the next 12-18 months than in the past 10 years, because no one is going to accept mediocrity anymore. As Gary recently said, this is the beginning of the best selling season for MSPs OF ALL TIME!
There is also urgency in security because while we and our clients are going through trauma fatigue, hacking, spyware, malware, and ransomware companies are ramping up their production and trying harder than ever to make all of our lives miserable. They see themselves as business people just like we do, and they are going to do everything possible to make their sale. It is more important than ever to take security seriously and make sure all avenues of ourselves internally and of our clients are protected.
While this may seem overwhelming, TruMethods has helped hundreds of MSPs reach their MSP and revenue dreams. Great profit margins, an organized work day, and fewer emergencies are all possible through Technology Success. Continue showing and providing value to all of your customers in real ways and rise to the occasion. Today’s market will not tolerate anything else.