Methodical ApproachBy Pedro Pereira | Posted 2009-01-19 Email Print
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Despite a high rate of switches among MSPs, the perils of moving from one platform to another are significant.
Harper says only by sticking with one platform was he able to get his arms around the technology. Nearly 80 percent of his company’s business today is managed services, he says.
Gaeltek took a methodical approach to implementing the managed services platform, first focusing on setting alerts, then concentrating on refining the remote monitoring piece, followed by the implementation of patches. Lastly, Harper says the company focused on scripting, which in retrospect he wishes he had done earlier in the process. Through scripting, Gaeltek cleans up and updates the code of any relevant applications at customer sites.
Clinton Gatewood, vice president of corporate development at managed services vendor Zenith InfoTech, says switching platforms makes sense in some cases.
"The reason you should consider switching platforms is due to the limitations and failures of the platform and not limitations of you and your staff or putting bad policies and procedures in place," he says.
Switch as quickly as possible if the platform doesn’t meet your needs, Gatewood says, but he cautions that MSPs must do their homework before reaching that decision. "Make sure you are not considering switching just because your staff does not like the platform," he says.
It’s important to keep any impulse to switch in check. "If a company switches vendors too many times, it can often result in poor service, inconsistent results and loss of business and revenue," Gatewood says.
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Kevin McGuirk, executive vice president of corporate marketing at
Kaseya, cautions that switching detracts from the MSP’s mission of
delivering services to customers.
"Time that would normally be used servicing the customer’s system is lost during implementation, wasting both time and money," he says. "It takes time to train staff on the functions and interface for each platform. When employees are very familiar with one platform, they can perform their job more efficiently and accurately.
McGuirk points out that each switch requires a time-consuming transfer of data between platforms, potentially frustrating customers.
Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford says not only is it costly to configure a new platform and training the staff, but MSPs also should take into consideration the difference in pricing from one platform to another.
MSPs, he says, should model their customer profiles against the pricing model that accompanies each platform. "Don’t forget to consider all costs including maintenance, support, add-on software you may require, and future upgrades," he says.