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Being a managed service provider (MSP) not only can seem like a thankless endeavor, but customers also often forget about the value of the service being provided when it’s consistently done well.

As with most services provided well over time, customers have a tendency not only to take those services for granted, but also to view them as a commodity that they need to drive down the cost of what’s being delivered.

To help MSPs overcome that conundrum, Intronis, with the summer 2015 release of its ECHOplatform for providing data protection services, is adding for the first time customizable dashboards.

Chris Crellin, vice president of product management at Intronis, said the idea is to make it easier for Intronis partners to deliver reports that detail the business value they are providing customers in terms of the number of backups and recoveries performed on their behalf.

All too often, the person paying for any given IT service is unaware of how often it’s actually being used. As a result, there’s a tendency to devalue it, especially when that service involves a function that is perceived to be a commodity, Crellin said. By delivering reports that can be customized with the branding of the MSP, the MSP now has the ability to remind the customer regularly about the business value of the service they deliver, he added.

On the face of it, that may seem relatively trivial. But all too often, MSPs feel pressure to drop the price of services because customers claim not see the value of the service that’s provided. Having access to dashboards that definitively refute those claims can come in quite handy at those critical moments of business negotiation.

In general, providing data-protection services in the age of the cloud can be tricky. Most IT organizations want to have a local backup of their most recent data because that speeds recovery times. But they also want to have access to copies of data in the cloud that eliminate the need for them to locally store all but the most recent copies of their data.

The MSP opportunity stems from the fact that most of them don’t want to manage that process themselves. The issue for the MSP, however, is that the cost and complexity of delivering data-protection services in the age of the cloud has increased.

As such, every once in a while the customer needs to be reminded that the money they are spending to have somebody else manage data protection on their behalf is indeed money well spent. Clearly, a detailed picture of that consumption inside a dashboard is easily going to be worth a few thousand words or more for the MSP.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.