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The IT industry is always changing - but is your IT solutions business effectively embracing those changes, or are you being left behind your competitors?
The advent of the cloud has seen a rise in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) hosted applications and a marked decrease in the sale of on-site software and hardware solutions - an area many traditional solution providers relied on for a large chunk of their income.
MSPs and other IT solution providers are increasingly turning to value-added services to wrap around their existing core monitoring, maintenance & support competencies. Offerings such as off-site backup, e-mail security & continuity, disaster recovery and managed anti-virus can be lucrative up-sells for any MSP.
But which cloud services are your clients actually embracing? Which services are providing you with the profit margins to survive, and which services are, in reality, eating into your profits due to admin and support overheads.
One way to ensure that your cloud services are genuinely turning a profit is to understand the time your service desk is spending deploying and supporting them.
Take e-mail filtering for example. These services - which typically rely on re-directing the clients MX DNS records to a cloud service which sanitizes their e-mail for spam and viruses - should be considered so simple to setup you may not charge a setup fee for them.
But what if the client doesn’t know where their DNS records are hosted? Or their DNS host requires administrative security setting up to enable you to help your client change their DNS? Once the service is setup, what if the client doesn’t understand the e-mail quarantine procedure, or logs a number of calls to your service desk to request help finding “lost” e-mails?
By logging the time your team spent setting up, deploying and managing these cloud solutions in a PSA solution, you’re able to track - in real-time - the profitability of such services and make fact-based decisions over whether you are undercharging for the services, or need to charge initial setup fees to maintain profitability where you previously assumed none were needed.
The nature of your IT solutions business is constantly changing - and only by measuring the time and resources you spend keeping pace with this change will you ensure that your business continues to be sustainable.
While your competitors are still working out what is working and what isn’t over a long period of time, give yourself a competitive advantage and use the tools to enable yourself to make rapid changes.
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