Take a look around you: Core MSP services such as support, patch, spy, spam, backup and security are being commoditized. The average customer can no longer tell the difference between the experienced MSP and the inexperienced MSP. Simply stating you’re a “trusted advisor” is no longer enough (especially when most MSPs use the same tools and technology), so where does the industry go from here? There’s a new model I’d like to introduce you to, and that’s the technology success provider (or, to shorten it up a bit, TSP).
I know what you’re thinking ― great, another abbreviation to remember ― but hear me out on this one. I like the term TSP because it paints a clear picture of what separates it from the traditional MSP. The MSP model has always been aimed at managing tickets, alerts, etc. The TSP model, on the other hand, broadens the scope by intertwining business with technology.
The Industry Is Changing
Think of it as a shift in mindset. The TSP acknowledges technical environments are evolving and adapts. The TSP accepts the decrease in value of support and monitoring, and thinks bigger to encompass more vision. The TSP recognizes additional opportunities have been created and leverages them to stay relevant in a world where an IT provider can walk into the solutions pavilion at any industry event with a credit card and leave 10 minutes later as an MSP. Most importantly, above all, the TSP understands the following concept: The relationship with customers must change.
Customers now need higher level business services. For example, they need advice and consulting to navigate a more complex and technical environment. They need to understand how technology can impact the success of their business. In order to command higher value (and higher seat prices), the technical relationship with customers needs to move toward a relationship based on business value ― and that’s where the TSP thrives.
What’s The Difference?
TSPs have roles and policies solely dedicated to helping customers understand the business impact of technology. The TSP should view its net admin and vCIO as part of its Technology Success practice. Separating these roles from the MSP practice (which includes support, projects, etc.) in your service delivery culture will help your prospects and customers understand the differences.
Now, on to the numbers. MSPs are a relatively small cost to customers. For example, if a customer spends $3,000 per month with you, they likely have overhead and payroll of $200,000-$400,000 per month. This means you could charge them $4,000 per month and still be considered a relatively small expense. The key here is if you can show them how the extra $1,000 per month positively impacts big costs in their overall business, they’ll be more than happy to pay you more. This is my experience, not my opinion.
The TSP makes the delta in investment the reason customers will buy from them. This logic is what separates top MSPs from the crowd. Need more convincing? Look for my upcoming story on building a value-based TSP.