Education: The Key to Competitive Advantage

September 19, 2013  By Len DiCostanzo

The cloud is causing seismic shifts in how IT service providers (ITSPs) and managed service providers (MSPs) do business by creating vast new market opportunities. However, some providers still do not fully understand how to integrate all of the solutions available to become more consultative and strategic partners to their clients. The cloud can offer significant competitive advantages – if you know how to leverage it. By being able to both comprehend your clients’ needs and being well informed about existing solutions, you can create better results for your clients, grow relationships and most importantly, increase revenue potential.

To set out on this path for success, it’s important to stay current and take advantage of professional development opportunities. Attending conferences, seminars and classes relevant to your service areas and understanding the latest solutions – and how to integrate them – are critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Keeping up to date on the latest IT industry news allows you to sell yourself through excellent service and stellar client results.

Just as important as education is the need to immerse yourself in your clients’ businesses. Understanding the nuances of each business and how IT needs to support operations allows you to be innovative in your solution development. It’s important to spend time learning about your clients’ businesses and discussing their biggest challenges.

You want to be able to provide answers to questions such as:

  • How do I best manage a bring your device (BYOD) program?
  • How can I apply cloud-based solutions for greater efficiency?
  • How can I help clients harness the power of the many data points within their businesses?

By doing so, you increase value well beyond just a tech team who can fix systems when they go down.

By making education a priority – learning about current trends, resources, applications and solutions, as well as the client’s needs – you can elevate your status to that of a valued partner. Formal and independent education, the study of your clients’ businesses and your own customers are among the best competitive advantages you can give your firm.

Len DiCostanzo
Senior Vice President, Community & Business Development
Len is one of the most widely-recognized figures in the IT industry with more than 25 years experience in the channel. Len develops and nurtures Autotask’s strategic industry alliances around the world.
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