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Is it automation, people, or both that makes a good MSP?

12177985094_7b728bb22b_mSeveral years ago we began a journey as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for IT. This is a very different model, both financially and in terms of work-performed, from a more traditional break/fix IT shop. It’s actually a lot more work to be honest! First, on the financial front, you really have to be prepared to “recoup” your upfront cost on new customers–in break/fix, it’s bill, bill, bill! So being a true MSP requires a larger upfront investment on our part. (Note to self: That discussion would make a wonderful future blog.) Second, in terms of the work-performed, we really have to be more proactive in managing the IT.

Overall, it’s been a success. We’ve stumbled here and there of course. So long as every day we move the ball forward a little bit–after a year, that’s a lot of progress and that’s what I aim for.

In my previous blog, I discussed how much work we’ve put into automation. That continues. From software installs to our On Call solution, we’re hard at work stripping everything down, evaluating it, and building it back up. It’s actually a lot of fun because I get to wear my Chief Technology Officer (CTO) hat, which is my favorite role in the firm.

Where I’ve found I’ve needed outside help is the hiring side. Or, more specifically, hiring the right people for the roles we have. That’s the most important element of a company–the people running it. It’s cliche, but 100% accurate. It’s taken me a while to really “get it”, but I’ve come to have a much deeper understanding of why it’s so critical. It’s not that we need the smartest (we do actually) or the most experience (always nice to have); it’s that we need people that can manage their time, manage their work, and come up with solutions.

As we have been cultivating the team, both with new hires and in retaining the people that match those needs, I’ve seen how people can begin to really blossom when they fit the culture a company is trying to cultivate. And that’s the thing right? Some people are absolutely incredible at what they do, but they may not fit the culture of a given company–and then what? There is a really good book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins that talks about this. It’s recommended reading!

As we continue to grow as a firm, and continue this journey in developing a well-oiled MSP IT firm that delivers value to our customers, I’ll continue learning how to run a successful company. We have quite a few years under our belt and we’re really just getting started, so the journey is only going to get more exciting!

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