The Value of Automation and Integrations Have Never Been Higher for MSPs
Technology companies should always lead the charge to innovation. Whether performing a major system overhaul for business clients or updating their own operations with the latest innovations, the drive to thrive begins with IT solutions. That concept should apply from the first monitoring application installed on a client’s PC to its billing and collections systems: every piece of technology in the collective customer/provider ecosystem should be connected and leveraged.
MSPs typically have both the skills and knowledge to automate and integrate technologies that can be game changer for SMBs, yet they often overlook the most important consumer – themselves. IT services professionals, like the cobbler in the fairy tale, are often so consumed with doing the best possible job for their customers that they fail to make similar improvements in their own businesses.
Time is a major factor. According to the Kaseya 2023 Global MSP Benchmark Survey Report, nearly 70% of executives work holidays, while more than half regularly put in 50+ hour weeks and perform all-nighters to support their clients. That makes it tough for MSP owners to focus on business planning and other issues.
The problem with those scenarios is that taking a little time to upgrade their managed services operations can have a multiplying effect on productivity. Since MSPs often support dozens of businesses, if not more, the benefits of automation can carry through the entire IT ecosystem, speeding up various processes and optimizing management capabilities. The potential return on technology investments for providers can be exponentially higher than similar innovations for a single client.
On the backend, automation can deliver big returns for billing and collections, speeding payments and boosting cash flow. For example, integrating MSP management and accounting application with ConnectBooster creates a more efficient (i.e., faster) way to get paid for the services providers deliver. It’s a critical step towards achieving collections maturity for a managed services business.
Efficiency is the Driver
In an era of skills shortages and rising payroll costs, automation is an MSP’s best friend. No business owner wants to overextend its capabilities and overtax employees. When there are not enough qualified people available to properly support all of a managed services provider’s clients, there are basically two options: innovate or downsize. Unless that MSP is preparing to retire or wishes to convert to more of a “lifestyle business,” automation should be the preferred first step to balance workloads and augment the firm’s capabilities.
The research confirms that point, with approximately 90% of IT services providers affirming that automation is a crucial component of their business because those technologies improve efficiencies, allow them to take on and manage more clients and generate more revenue. Powering endpoint management, monitoring, patching, ticket resolution and cybersecurity with applications and integrations saves MSPs a tremendous amount of time, energy, and headaches.
Other related findings from the Kaseya report include:
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the IT services providers executives and more than half (54%) of technicians (54%) selected automation as the top feature for Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools.
- 90% of respondents indicated that integration between core applications is critical to their operations and business, helping them streamline processes and minimize duplication of standard and repetitive tasks.
Integrations Drive MSP Success
Removing people (manual steps) from a process helps minimize errors and delays. That’s a key reason why MSPs rank integrations so high on their “must have” features list. Those connections empower IT services businesses, improving productivity without increasing payroll and other critical expenses.
For example, integrations between Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, Professional Services Automation (PSA) applications and quoting tools can empower sales teams and provide extensive reporting capabilities for managers. These linked systems make it easier to update and share key account details and communicate more effectively with current and prospective clients.
On the backend, integrating ConnectBooster and accounting packages can speed and simplify an MSP’s billings and collections activities. Connecting a quoting solution to that solutions mix optimizes communications between MSPs and suppliers, giving providers access to the latest and most competitive pricing. Those solutions also boost providers’ margins and speed delivery of products and cloud solutions for their customers. With 7% of providers reporting declining MRR — nearly double the numbers from the 2022 Kaseya Benchmark Report – capturing every billable hour and getting paid quickly can help offset profit concerns.
Collecting and sharing information is also vital for closing new and larger deals and growing “wallet-share” with clients and prospects, and MSP-centric integrations make that possible.
When properly configured, these connections can tear down data silos between applications and strengthen the lines of communication in a managed services business. Sales and support teams can more readily oversee accounts and plan next steps. Integrations that connect to a “single pane of glass” management portal simplify reporting and planning processes by giving business leaders immediate access to data files, email messages, texts, call and meeting recordings, and other critical information.
To Automate is to Innovate
The bottom line for MSPs? Employ as many time-saving tools as possible to minimize manual interactions. Integrations free team members to focus on other important aspects of the business, like prospecting, closing, and onboarding new clients. Automation is the force-multiplier that lets MSPs do more with less.
The options that boost back-office operations typically provide a quick return on investment. For example, ConnectBooster users report saving between eight and twenty hours per month on billing and collections activities. With the scarcity of talent and high cost of hiring, training, and retaining quality employees, MSPs can’t afford not to automate their billing and collections processes.
The savings in payroll alone can add up quickly and, when combined with the improvements to cash flow, provides a tremendous lift to the bottom line and productivity. Looking to build the ultimate automated billing system for your MSP? Check out this ConnectBooster article for some industry best practices.