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How projects bridge the gap from break/fix to managed services

Use projects as a gateway to finally convert clients from a reactive break/fix model to forward-thinking managed services. 


By Louis Bagdonas, Senior Program Manager - MSPs, Moovila


Use projects as a gateway to finally convert clients from a reactive break/fix model to forward-thinking managed services. 

If you have clients who tend only to call when their technology breaks or has been breached, moving them to a proactive managed service plan is a to grow your business and elevate your relationships. Taking the initiative when it comes to their technology needs can decrease their downtime, prevent security breaches, and establish yourself as a trusted technology partner.  


Shifting clients to this service plan is not always easy. But it does lead, ultimately, to happier clients, a more predictable workload for you, and increased profits.  


How do you do it? 


One of the tricks is to identify frequent service call types that could have been predicted, avoided, and used to design a better structure. You can also use that data to persuade customers that preventing problems is well worth it and will maximize their efficiency.


  

Fix what is bound to break 


Convincing clients to update networks, tools, and equipment that are not yet broken is largely about education. Downtime is expensive and disruptive, especially when it is unexpected. 


Downtime costs businesses

$9,000 per minute.


 

For a decade, technologists have been quoting a 2014 Gartner estimate that put the cost of downtime for businesses at $5,600 a minute. In 2016, another study upped that number to $9,000 per minute. These values vary by industry and the type of outage, of course, but they can help your client understand that developing a technology plan that prevents downtime is smart.   

 

Customers don’t want to plan for problems they can pretend won’t happen. But you know better. And if you are using the right tools to manage your business, you will have data about their issues you can use to convince them to bring their systems up to snuff. 

 


Survey your client for fires 


Start by doing a survey of the work you have done over the past year. Look over the tickets your team responded to. Survey your engineers about the work they did.  


Are there clients who regularly eat up a lot of your technicians’ time, who have known security risks, and who have outdated systems. This is where you want to start. Choose the neediest clients, the ones with the most constant and desperate emergencies.   


Those clients may not know they don’t have to live in fear of their technology. Or they may not see how to get from where they are to where they need to be. Set up a meeting to discuss the roadmap you have in mind for making their technology secure and efficient. Detail the projects they need to put on the schedule now, in the short-term future, and the long-term future. 


Fire prevention is always better than putting out a fire. But you are the firefighter. When customers see you have a plan, they will look to you for the expertise they need to move their systems toward stability. 



This emergency could have been a project 


Before you go into the meeting, ask yourself what fires you put out for them – and similar clients? Could you have anticipated any of the outages, breaches, or failures? If you had upgraded their network, security, equipment, or anything else, could that crisis have been avoided? Are there more disasters brewing given what you know about their systems? 


Survey your current project offerings to see if work you have already scoped and perfected can be put into service for this client. 


If you are using Perfect Project, you will have a template for any projects you do frequently. That template is your blueprint for everything from network upgrades to cloud migrations. It knows every step of the project, what resources are needed to work on it, how much labor time each task requires, and the duration of every step. Having this blueprint allows you to accurately schedule and price each of those services.  


If you can find a match between a service you offer and this client’s need, add that project to their roadmap. The project template allows you to easily slot that work, complete with a price and schedule. 



Project templates are the ticket 


As you move this client toward a proactive model, those project template are essential for everything. 


Let’s say you have convinced a client to undertake a cloud migration. If you have a template for this project, you can enter a few key pieces of information – the client’s details, the start date, etc. – and quickly estimate when the project will be completed and what it will cost. 


If you have used this template to manage previous cloud migrations – and have revisited it after each project and updated the plan to match what happened – this template will be accurate and complete. It is also only one of many templates on your menu of services, which means that compiling a roadmap by picking projects for this client is simple. 


Moving your clients, one-by-one, toward proactive managed services is a great long-term strategy. It will provide a predictable revenue stream for your business and workload for your team. It will improve your relationship with your clients – taking you from repairman to trusted expert partner. And it will help you deliver higher-value services to your client and enable your business to scale.  


For more ideas to improve your MSP project management, check out our blog or our library of webinars.

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