This cry is heard at just about every conference I attend. Everyone knows that data is growing exponentially each year, but how can an MSP supporting small businesses benefit?
The reality is that the explosion is in businesses of all sizes and every one of us can benefit. For example, premise servers will require bigger and more expensive drives. Cloud servers will continually require additional space. Offsite backups, offsite archival and offsite email hosting will all also continue to grow. All of those have pretty logical ties to revenue and thus profit, but the category with the greatest potential relates to helping clients better leverage their data thru Business Intelligence (BI) Applications or thru Knowledge Management Consulting.
Knowledge Management relates to helping your clients better organize the second most valuable thing in their business, intellectual property. For example, organizing client deliverables so you can leverage them on future projects or future proposals. Better organized proposals may allow future pursuits to start with a great proposal and make it even better, which would likely allow the results to improve.
Business Intelligence involves using tools to analyze massive amounts of data to produce actionable intelligence. Small businesses rarely leverage tools like Microsoft’s Business Intelligence offering native to SQL Server or something native to QuickBooks like Data Explore Suite or My Business Maximizer. It is unfortunate, as that leaves them lacking a visual representation that summarizes data into something that allows them to see a trend, issue or opportunity in a way that a spreadsheet just can’t do.
Smart MSPs are looking for opportunities to expand their suite of services to include services like these to raise their profile and perceived value with clients. The additional services also make the clients more ‘sticky’, or loyal, and allows the MSP to enjoy higher margins as the overall relationship grows and is perceived as being more valuable for our clients.
What is right for you to offer is based more on your current capabilities and ability to invest than anything. Remember that you are often better off to partner with another firm than you are to invest in building capacity and obviously much better off to proclaim you are something you are not and tarnish the reputation you have worked so hard to build! Like all services or product you are looking to add to your offering…build, buy or partner. As proud as many of us are, it is a very difficult decision, but one that often yields success than trying to do everything yourself!