If you’re like most Managed Service Providers, you have about 10 to 20 clients. And you service between 200-300 endpoints. And again, if you’re like many, you only have one tech to handle all of this.
You’re already stretched to the max. If you want to grow, you can’t unless you step up and increase your pool of technicians. And, with clients becoming more dependent on the Cloud, you’ll need IT professionals with this expertise. The problem is that this is easier said than done.
The IT Skills Gap
While your clients are adopting cloud computing at faster rates, your MSP strategies may falter if you don’t address the cloud skills gap. For example, the period between 2014 and 2020 will show increased rates for Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service delivery models are estimated at 32%, 20% and 19%, respectively.
MSPS are struggling to find and retain qualified technician experienced in cloud solutions. Plus they need individuals with experience in application development, cybersecurity and data analysis. In some locations, it can take months (if not years) to find IT professionals with the specific set of skills that you need.
Challenges With Cloud Service & Support
With clients becoming more dependent on the Cloud, you’ll need IT professionals with this expertise. Comp TIA goes on to say:
“CompTIA’s research in the cloud space includes a typical adoption progression for businesses. Starting with exploration, companies move into non-critical use, where day-to-day applications (though not the most important systems) are placed into a cloud model.
Up to this point, most companies have been in these first two stages, learning lessons about system migration, integration with existing architecture, and cloud security. Many firms are now ready to take the next steps, moving into full production mode where there are few if any restrictions on the type of application that can live in the Cloud.
From there, the final stage is transformed IT, where the architecture has been rebuilt to maximize cloud characteristics rather than simply being forklifted. Unlike the first two stages, later-stage challenges are not primarily technical. Instead, companies must build or reconfigure the appropriate policies and workflow for a cloud-based approach. Those companies on the cutting edge of cloud adoption report that these challenges are even more significant than the hurdles in earlier stages, so the cloud discussions will continue evolving.”
Competing To Hire Qualified IT Professionals
A 2018 Datto survey revealed that 41% of Managed Service Providers said that staffing and training was their biggest challenge. And looking forward, according to the CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2018, the US will face a 16% increase in substantial challenges on the IT hiring front. They report that:
“with employer demand for tech talent routinely outstripping supply, the year ahead will force more organizations to rethink their approaches to recruiting, training, and talent management. Additionally, questions surrounding skills gaps, diversity, alternative education/career paths, and the future of work will demand more meaningful attention and resources.”
Tight HR Budgets
Employee recruitment can be expensive. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) writes that the companies spent an average of $4,129 per hire in recruitment costs. These costs include attempts to find candidates and actions to help qualify those targeted recruits, such as:
Training and Retraining IT Employees
How many times have you needed to send a tech out for a callback because they missed something they should have fixed? Your wasting time and money when this happens. If they had been trained and retrained properly, this could have been prevented.
While training can be an expense, it will cost you more in callbacks (or lost clients) if you don’t properly train your IT employees in new solutions, including cloud solutions.
Training Technicians To Be Trusted Advisors For Your Clients
You’ve worked hard to hire, train, retrain, and dispatch your IT professionals. Plus you’ve made a huge effort to market and sell your IT services. Now you must keep those clients.
To do this, your technicians must serve your interests as well as those of your clients. They must be trained and up-to-date on the latest cloud solutions and services, and how they’ll meet each of your clients’ unique requirements.
They must engage the client, comprehend their needs and concerns, and combine this knowledge with technical expertise to create suitable cloud solutions. Again, this takes time, money and a commitment on your part and on the part of your IT staff.
Take a Step Back
Re-assess your staffing needs. Is your team understaffed? Don’t ignore this. Shortages can cost you a lot of money. It can also cost you in overworked technicians, late tickets delayed projects or the lack of time to keep accurate records. It can also cost you in angry clients who move on to your competition.
Manage Clients’ Expectations
Just like you take a proactive approach to IT management, do the same when considering your situation. Manage your clients’ expectations. Set boundaries and reasonable standards that you can meet.
You want to go above and beyond for your clients. After all, this is what set’s your MSP business apart from the competition. But, customer experience expert Marc Gordon says that this can be the wrong approach and cost you. He says that always trying to go the extra mile for clients costs companies millions of dollars in resources and revenue.
If you don’t reign in their expectations, they’ll accept this behavior as normal. (And as human beings, they’ll always expect more.) The answer? Gordon says to create a stress-free and effortless transaction that leaves your client with a positive experience every time. (See our last solution below.)
Make Good Use Of The Talent You Have
Are you underusing your HR assets? Using the wrong specialists in places where someone with a lesser talent can do the job? By giving a specific task to a technician who has the right skills and knowledge, he can complete it faster and more effectively.
Be sure to implement a process where you’re placing your talent where they should be. Using your staff assets wisely can keep a tech who knows what to do from spending 12 hours on a task vs 1 hour.
Are you using the right training tools for your MSP business’s needs? A lack of essential training materials and tools can increase the time your techs burn on a job.
Attention to these matters will help you cut costs and improve service delivery.
Make good use of the Cloud
Your MSP business can no longer depend on revenue from on-premises infrastructure. The future is the Cloud, which is why more and more IT professionals are selling cloud solutions instead of deploying servers and monitoring datacenters.
But, you’ll still be faced with IT staffing problems, and struggling to find the right employees with the skill sets, abilities and determination to help reach your cloud service goals.
There’s no easy way to resolve tech talent shortages. But perhaps you don’t need to hire more IT employees. Think outside the box. Here’s what you can do…
Get Help From a Cloud Service Partner
It’s recommended that you get help from a Cloud Service Provider, preferably one who was also an MSP at one point. Why? They’ll understand your challenges and know how you can overcome them. This is the best option to get you off the “hamster wheel,” and to make the stress-free and effortless transaction that Marc Gordon says will leave your client with a positive experience every time.
Maybe you need help with cloud migration, or your team lacks the knowledge to deploy cloud-based applications. Your CSP can fill these service gaps.
The right Cloud Service Provider can provide the support that you need to drive your MSP business forward.