Embracing Lean – and how partnering can help you deliver some quick wins
Embracing ‘lean’ may seem daunting, particularly when set alongside all the other challenges you currently face, but there are significant benefits to be had – not least, improved service delivery and margins, as I outlined in my previous blog.
Plus, there are ways to lighten the load and score some early wins by drawing on third-party help. In this blog I refer specifically to how partnering for NOC and Service Desk can help you to gain quick wins in addressing the following ‘wastes’:
- Non-utilised talent
Over-production waste in the MSP context can be seen as over-staffing to cover peaks in activity and anticipated growth: the ‘hire now or hold off’ dilemma is one you have undoubtedly experienced.
Partnering for low-value but high-importance tasks like NOC and Service Desk delivery is one way to address over-staffing waste quickly and cost-effectively. Partner with a specialist provider such as Inbay and you benefit from a pay-as-you-grow approach, with no need for your highly paid engineers to sit around waiting for the new customers to materialise or to decrease your head-count to meet downturns in your business.
Waiting waste for MSPs equates to the down-time your customers experience from reporting a problem to the ticket being resolved.
One of the most common causes of waiting waste occurs when your technicians do not have easy access to the information they need to resolve an issue for a customer.
Do you recognise any of the following symptoms of waiting waste in your managed services business?
- Information stored in multiple places and systems (no golden source) or, even worse, in somebody’s head.
- Having to recreate documentation because it takes longer to find and access what already exists.
- Going through the same information with clients time and time again.
- Lacking control over different versions of documents.
- No standardisation or centralised storage of documents.
This waste has a real cost to your business, both in terms of the productivity loss resulting from time wasted looking for information and also the opportunity cost of having highly skilled engineers bogged down in repetitive searches, rather than working on fee-paying projects.
We are fully aware of the implications of this waste and therefore recommend that our MSP partners invest in a specialist documentation platform such as that offered by IT Glue.
Waiting waste can also arise from a delay in your team being able to start work on a customer problem. If something crops up overnight, for example, and you don’t have anyone working on the night shift, the issue will not even be looked at until the next morning – by which time it could already be disrupting your customer’s working day.
Businesses are now less willing to accept that if something ‘breaks’ during the night, it will not begin to be addressed by their MSP until the following morning. Unfortunately, many MSPs still struggle to deliver this more proactive 24/7 support in-house.
Using Inbay to deliver out-of-hours (OOH) or 24/7 NOC and Service Desk support will allow you to get rid of this element of ‘waiting waste’ at a stroke. Our experienced engineers will look after your customers’ infrastructures while you sleep, resolving issues and notifying you of anything that needs manual intervention. That means less time to resolution for your customers, less stress for your engineers (who won’t face a heap of unresolved overnight problems first thing in the morning) – and the removal of a major burden on you in trying to resource OOH cover in-house.
Ask yourself the following: are your technicians constantly being called upon to carry out routine maintenance and low-level reactive support tasks? Are they pulled in to resolve daily network and server maintenance issues for NOC or to handle basic user requests, such as password changes and new user set-up for Service Desk?
If your skilled engineers are working on low-value, repetitive tasks that are below their pay grade, this is a waste of the talent available to you – even if it seems the quickest way to get an issue sorted. It also risks you losing the very people you don’t want to see walking out of the door: your most qualified resources.
Partnering with a company like Inbay allows you to offload the day-to-day monitoring and maintenance activities that are part and parcel of NOC and Service Desk, and deploy your skilled engineers on more profitable projects and developing customer relationships.
For MSPs, this equates to the movement of information around the business for an MSP. A smooth, uninterrupted flow is essential to avoid ‘transportation waste’.
How smoothly does information move around your system? Have you automated and integrated as much as you can, rather than having to access RMM data in one system, PSA data in another, and passwords in a third to pull together the information you need to deliver a service.
The latest Autotask Metrics that Matter Survey revealed that many MSPs are wasting up to ten billable hours each week on manual processes that can be easily automated, citing entering data into multiple systems as one of the main culprits.
Your partners can be invaluable in helping you to integrate and streamline disparate tools and automate processes to make it easier for you to scale up service delivery.
For MSPs, this could read over-complicating routine processes – or having multiple versions of processes, both of which are wasteful of time and effort. Embracing a lean approach involves scrutinising the processes you use and looking for ways to make them more efficient: removing steps that add nothing to the process, freeing up bottlenecks, having the right number of decision points, having the right information available to those making the decision, and so on.
When you partner with Inbay for NOC and Service Desk delivery, we will ensure your own processes are optimised for greatest efficiency.
You may feel that you are facing enough challenges without adding yet another to the pile.
Yes, embracing lean requires the investment of time and money and a good deal of commitment. So start with the basics. Pace yourself – and don’t let your enthusiasm for abolishing waste backfire because you’ve taken on too much too soon.
And take advantage of all the help you can to deliver a few quick wins. It will help your team to buy into the concept as they, and your customers, will be able to see the benefits.
If you need a reminder of what being a lean MSP means, see my previous blog.
Contact us if you would like to find out how partnering with Inbay for NOC and Service Desk can help you to cut out wasteful practices in your own managed services business.