How to Use Autotask to Transition to an MSP Model: 4 Lessons Learned

July 20, 2015  By Nathan Franks

By Nathan Franks, Director & Principal, Dynamic Business Technologies 

I've been an Autotask Certified Consulting Partner (CCP) for three years.  During that time, most of our Autotask work has focused on helping companies transition from fixed-fee providers to managed services providers (MSPs). 

The biggest need of Autotask clients is to get control of their numbers across the enterprise. They’ve usually done work around ticketing and projects, but they don’t know how to use the platform to execute on their long-term goals. 

Every client's business is unique, but four common "lessons learned" stand out.

1) Learn to Love Accuracy

Usually, clients have a general idea of their operational metrics, but there's no complete, accurate and singular set of numbers. 

We dig in and help build this and then tell them that they need to capture everything going forward in order to achieve the benefits of using Autotask, such as liberated resources and improved forecasting.

This single set of truthful numbers becomes the crucial playbook for the client because in order to run an optimally profitable enterprise, business leaders and managers need truthful numbers about resource allocation to accurately price offerings and identify the best prospect opportunities. 

2) Treat Time Like the Expensive Resource That It Is

Fixed-fee IT service providers often give away a lot of time because they don't see value in tracking it when the fee is the same no matter the hours spent. 

This type of thinking is poisonous to profits because essentially, the business is allowing its clients to determine profit margins based on how much time the clients (arbitrarily) consume. 

We tell them that in order to achieve their goals they need to capture all time spent working for clients, including non-tech time.

3) Not All Clients Are Profitable – Even The Good Ones 

Sometimes our Autotask clients are shocked to discover that their "best" clients either aren't profitable or not as profitable as assumed. 

We therefore guide the conversation to action: Let's investigate why you are losing money and take action to turn the client into a profitable one.

Eventually, we identify the profit vacuum and make a fix. Then, the client can make informed decisions about what to do next based on the overall value of the client. 

4) If Needed, Define Your Goal and Work Backward

Sometimes we can paint a clear picture of the current and future business states very quickly using existing numbers. But sometimes it’s harder because clients haven't documented the numbers. 

Therefore, we focus on how to give them more time, more money or better accuracy. We often start by working backward. If their goal is to have more accurate data, for example, we follow the flow of work backward from their clients and look for points of inaccuracy risk, such as manual and/or duplicate data entry. 

Drilling down to this tactical level, we not only find problems that need to be fixed but also opportunities to motivate team members and align their work to business goals.
Our Autotask clients know that they have a powerful set of tools at their fingertips but need a little help using the right tools at the right time to achieve their goals. 

We've found that they have common needs related to building clear and accurate visibility into operations, asset expenditures and profits. We show them how to use Autotask to clear the path around these metrics, so they can make all of their business decisions while driving toward their goals. 

Nathan Franks
Director & Principal, Dynamic Business Technologies
Nathan Franks has worked in the IT services industry for 13 years, specializing in support, engineering and architectural roles. As the director of Dynamic Business Technologies (New Castle, New South Wales, Australia), Nathan works closely with clients on their IT strategy, which includes business analysis, project management and business technical team management.

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