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IT Service Management: MSP Edition

03/01/2012 by: The SunView Team

Today, SunView Software is announcing the release of ChangeGear MSP Edition. This addition to the growing SunView and Change Gear product lines adds one of the most requested features by our MSP customers, the ability to group customers into organizations. This new feature set will make it possible to keep customers completely separated right down to the Service Catalog, including specific interfaces, lists of services, documents, and knowledge bases for each organization (individual customer).

To celebrate, and to a certain extent welcome, both our existing Managed Service Providers, and those that will soon be joining us, we dedicate this post to their tireless efforts in combating the most difficult of IT service environments. Now, to a number of you that may be unfamiliar with just what a Managed Service Provider (MSP) does, let us give you a quick refresher.

In general, an MSP provides a wide variety of outsourced IT services that can range from general support like a help or service desk, all the way to full data center infrastructure. While the typical customer is the small to medium size business, even large, modern enterprise customers have looked to outsourcing all, or part, of their IT service operation to an MSP.

As you might imagine, an MSP then has to manage all the nuances that anyone in IT encounters, and multiply that times multiples of customers. So in a sense, that local "cowboy problem solver" you have in your own IT department, yes the one that tends "execute solutions" rather haphazardly may be a little annoying, but for the MSP it can be severely detrimental to their profitability.

Ultimately though, it's isn't just a Wild West show that marks key points of frustration for an MSP. Perhaps more significantly, it is the smaller subtleties that can wreak havoc. Those customers (users) that have a propensity for "going rogue," or "finding their own solutions," represent a constant threat to an MSP's bottom line. Worse yet, with no one represented locally, they typically won't find out until it creates a legitimate incident.

So, as a shout out to the faithful MSPs dealing with providing IT Service Management in perhaps the most stressful of situations, we've created the Top Five Things an MSP Customer Isn't Telling Their MSP:

1. They Just Purchased a new Computer or Mobile Device

Funny how this seems to only be discovered when they try to connect to the Internet with a new computer. Given that there is an agreed upon set of hardware and software that will be supported. An MSP doesn't have much choice when an incident for lack of Internet connection is reported.

2. They Just Installed Unsupported/Unlicensed Software

It can be as bad as Windows 95, or as seemingly benign as weather bug. In some cases it was the good intentions of trying to install Adobe Creative Suite on every computer. No matter what the reason, when an incident is reported about the monitor screen has been switched ninety degrees, or they can no longer work because they need to register an unlicensed version of a product, the MSP will still be supporting it.

3. They Started Hiring Internal IT Staff or Using External Vendors

This one most often comes up when reviewing an issue, and a customer states, "We'll just have Bob look at it." Who is Bob? The latest new IT hire, or their new on-call vendor, that seems to be working in perpendicular to the services managed by the MSP

4. They Have no Idea What is Stated in the SLA

They agreed to it, signed it, and when necessary they will cite it. However, when they need to be held within the stipulated parameters of an SLA, they tend not to have any idea what the MSP is talking about.

5. They Started Price Shopping

In some cases this comes about even when an MSP is doing the best job possible. Not having any issues tends to look like they just might be paying too much for something they rarely use. Little do they know though, a good MSP makes IT service management appear like an effortless and seamless process.