Sometimes, your MSP business doesn’t need a Business Automation solution.
But sometimes, not investing in a Business Automation can get in the way of your MSP business’s growth goals.
After all, at one point, you reach a state where it’s just not feasible to manually export reports from your ticketing solution and import them into your billing solution for getting the invoices … and so on.
The right Business Automation solution can do a lot of this and more for your MSP business. But choosing one needs careful consideration — no small task! So let’s look at the top ten things you must evaluate before investing in a Business Automation solution for your MSP business.
Here goes …
Setup, Training & Onboarding
A Business Automation solution needs to work with a lot of your MSP software infrastructure. Which means setting up your Business Automation correctly is a key step to maximizing its benefits.
Sadly, most of the Business Automation solution providers charge an exorbitant setup fee for this. Some of them even take months to get the solution up and running. Which means, a part of the subscription is consumed.
Not just that, many Business Automation solution providers offer “mandatory paid training” which is needed to get you to understand their broad and complex set of functions.
|In the ideal scenario, you shouldn’t be made to pay a high setup fee. You should be made to do the implementation yourself, ideally because the solution is easy and intuitive enough to work with.|
A Business Automation solution custom-built for an MSP business
When you’re evaluating a Business Automation solution to grow your MSP business, keep this in mind:
A Business Automation solution built exclusively around the needs of an MSP business will ALWAYS perform better than a Business Automation solution for which the MSP business is just another use case.
For instance, a Business Automation solution that’s originally made for advertising agencies, project execution companies and others can add a few RMM integrations to the mix and “kind of qualify” as an MSP Business Automation solution.
But do you think such Business Automation solutions would let you create consumption based contracts (where the quantity is based on the number of RMM machines, users, or other variables)? Or will they offer you automated KPIs to run and optimize your MSP business?
In most cases, the answer is “NO.”
After all, just plastering the word MSP on a general-purpose Business Automation solution can’t make it as good as a Business Automation solution that’s built ground up considering the specific needs and pain points of running an MSP business.
|When evaluating a Business Automation solution, only score it on the MSP-specific features you’ll use on a daily basis, and not on the hundred others that don’t add any value for your MSP business.
Better yet, find out if the Business Automation solution provider you’re considering has any experience running an MSP. For instance, at Computicate, we’ve run successful MSP businesses ourselves for over a decade, and we know the business and its automation needs inside out.
MSP business owners active on forums love to say that “the ‘A’ in the Business Automation is the most important.“
This “A” stands for automations.
In fact, you could say that a Business Automation is only as good as the automations it offers.
After all, that’s what they bring to the MSP business mix.
And that’s why when you evaluate Business Automation solutions for your MSP business, you should spend time in understanding its automations.
|Evaluate its automations for:
Obviously because a Business Automation tool is the linchpin of your MSP business, you want it to integrate with the all the other solutions you use.
At the very least, your Business Automation solution should offer easy integrations with your RMM, payment, and accounting tools.
Image Caption: Computicate’s integrations
|Confirm if the Business Automation solution you’re considering for your MSP business integrates with your full tech stack.|
Your Business Automation solution isn’t just a business logistics tool.
It’s also a business intelligence tool.
It can AND SHOULD offer you a lot of intel to power your strategic business decisions.
So don’t settle for a Business Automation tool that only gets the job done and needs you to create your KPIs manually. Instead, look for strong, automatically generated KPIs.
|To evaluate the KPI capabilities of your Business Automation solution, ask the solution provider to demo the KPI dashboards for you.
Request them to show you KPIs showing the most profitable (or the least profitable) clients, or ask them to pull data on the most common ticket types.
A Full-blown Ticketing System
Having a full-blown ticketing system is an absolute essential feature of a Business Automation solution because tickets lie at the heart of an MSP business.
And so when a Business Automation solution offers a state-of-the-art ticketing system (custom-built around the unique needs of an MSP business), technicians can create or pick the tickets right inside the Business Automation, log the time (or use the Business Automation’s automatic time tagging), and also update the status right away.
From here, the Business Automation can pass along the ticket time to be processed for billing purposes.
You get the idea, right?
|Try to go for a Business Automation with an in-built and fully integrated ticketing system.|
If your business operates in the EU or if you deliver IT services to customers in the medical sector in the USA, the GDPR and HIPPA are a few of the important legislations your Business Automation tool must comply with.
Failing to check for compliance with these might need you to switch over to a compliant solution just when you’ve started reaping its benefits.
|So when evaluating a Business Automation solution, look at the website to find compliance badges or certificates.
For GDPR, find out if they’re okay with giving you a signed data processing agreement. For instance, at Computicate, we’re happy to offer one to our users. Also for GDPR its important that your data is hosted within the EU, like Computicate does for its EU customers.
If you look at MSP forum discussions you’ll be surprised to learn that one of the most common frustrations MSP businesses have with many of the existing Business Automation solutions is how badly they’re designed.
Non-intuitive or difficult to use Business Automation systems and flows can impact its adoption by your technicians. They’ll simply avoid using it if it’s a pain on the eyes and consumes a lot of daily time to use in the first place.
Also, if its client-facing interfaces like the ticket logging screens (in case it offers ticketing) don’t look slick, it won’t offer a very inspiring product/service experience to your clients either.
So go for a Business Automation solution that’s designed well based on a recent framework.
|Evaluating a Business Automation for its “look and feel” is pretty easy if you sit in on a demo with the team or look at its screenshots.|
Pricing varies greatly in the Business Automation solution provider space.
Some Business Automation solutions charge you more for “premium integrations.”
Some Business Automation solutions charge you more for “premium automations.”
Some Business Automation solutions charge you more for “premium features.”
Some Business Automation solutions charge you more for “extended one-to-one support.”
Some Business Automation solutions unlock everything they got only in their “highest tier plans.”
And some of them charge an additional fee for every device you add.
As you can understand, picking all the stuff you need can pile up your costs quickly.
|Ideally, the Business Automation solution you should go with should give you every single integration, automation, feature, and every other bell and whistle they offer for a flat monthly fee/per user. Not just that, you should get the same standard of support any of their other customers get.|
Wrapping it up …
Finally, after you’ve found a Business Automation solution that ticks off every item on this checklist, it’s time sign up for its trial, IF it offers one.
So “try” a potential option for a month and see how your key business metrics like your billable time and productivity improve during the trial.
At Computicate, we offer a free (no obligations) trial.