54%1 of MSPs say customer experience expectations have been the biggest drivers for change in their operational model. Popular capabilities that MSPs should offer to grow their business and improve CX include, but aren’t limited to:
- Faster response time
- Personalized services
- Seamless interactions
- 24/7 support
As we will explore later, recent surveys and studies indicate that MSP automation (i.e. managed service providers using automation tools) allows service providers to:
- Offer better services to their clients
- Achieve a higher rate of customer satisfaction
- Mitigate industry-specific challenges
- Gain deeper automation expertise, thereby selling automation consulting services, like RPA consulting
In this article, we will:
- Explain what MSP automation is
- List the popular automation tools that MSPs can use to streamline their services
- Provide real-life case studies of service providers who’ve reaped the benefits of automation across their business workflows
What is MSP automation?
MSP (managed service providers) automation refers to managed service providers offering their services while using automation tools.
Recent findings show that MSP automation, as an operational strategy is a must. In a survey2 of 1,000 MSP leaders:
- 90% see automation as crucial to MSP scalability and operational efficiency, in the shape of handling more clients and increasing revenues.
- 90% see application integration as critical to their operations. Seamless data flows streamline processes, reduce duplicate efforts, and automate repetitive tasks such as data exchange
In terms of the specific MSP processes that are being automated the most, the survey shows that these are amongst the top ones:
- Endpoint management– managing and securing all devices connected to a network
- Endpoint monitoring– continuously observing the devices on a network to ensure they’re are functioning properly
- Endpoint patching– tracking, acquiring, testing, and deploying software updates to endpoints on a network
- Ticket resolution
What are the benefits of MSP automation?
- Signing more customers
- Managing new security threats
- Hiring new employees
- IT-budget shrinkage
- Retaining customers
- Remote monitoring of external and internal processes
- Reduced customers’ budgets
By using automation technologies, MSPs can mitigate these challenges and reap the following benefits:
Automation tools perform mundane tasks more quickly and accurately than humans. These allow MSPs to achieve more with fewer resources.
For instance, Logically3, a Portland-based MSP, adopted automation across various functions, from back office and sales and marketing automation, to front-line services. This automation journey led to leaner operations, lower costs, and enhanced service speed and quality.
1.2. Cost savings
By reducing the time spent on manual tasks, automation can help cut labor costs and allow MSPs to scale their operations without proportional increases in staffing.
- Contract generation
- Updating CRM
- Internal reporting
As a result, they increased their:
- Onboarding revenue by 30% – the revenue earned from integrating new clients into their systems and services
- Profit margins – because they avoid sunk and opportunity costs of managing the customer consistently. They let the automation tool handle matters.
2. Improved service quality
Automated processes are consistent and less error prone, leading to higher service quality. This enhances customer satisfaction and strengthens client relationships.
- Read the requests
- Assess them
- Prioritize their urgency
This increases mean times to resolution rate. So a benefit of MSP automation is that it helps companies resolve issues faster, which leads to operating costs, more business goals, a happier client base and higher client satisfaction.
3. Enhanced security
Cybersecurity automation technologies can help MSPs detect and respond to threats more quickly and effectively, thus improving security and compliance.
Use cases of automated security include:
- Automated threat detection
- Automated vulnerability scanning and patch management
- Automated incident responses
- Automated compliance reporting
- Automated user monitoring and management
- Phishing simulation and training
Automation simplifies MSPs scaling their operations, because automated processes can be replicated at scale more easily than manual ones.
For example, some processes can be automated based on predefined criteria and help MSPs cater to a wider audience with no significant resource usage uptake.These include:
- Ticket creation
5. Better decision making
Automation helps data-driven decision-making of MSP leaders by offering precise, timely, and extensive data. By quickly and accurately gathering and analyzing data volumes, leaders will have insights into their operations, customer behavior, and network performance.
The implication is easier trends identification, preventing serious issues through proactive services, making informed decisions, and ensuring real-life cloud based solutions and data flow. This gives MSPs a competitive advantage compared to their competitors.
For example, Liongard6, a global MSP automation platform, aids thousands of businesses worldwide by standardizing system information collection across clients. This standardization benefits the MSP client’s business team by saving time, reducing guesswork, ensuring quality, and enhancing productivity and morale. For the end-customers, it guarantees a consistent, excellent service experience right from the onset.
What are MSP automation tools?
1. Process automation tools
MSPs can use RPA or other process automation tools to automate rule-based, routin asks like:
- Customer service requests
- Data backups and updates, commonly known as backup and disaster recovery (BDR)
- Data aggregation
- Client onboarding
If you’re interested to learn about RPA tools under $2,000 annually, download our whitepaper below:
And if you’d like to learn more about robotic process automation, read our RPA whitepaper:
2. Remote monitoring & management (RMM) tools
RMM tools enable remote monitoring and management of clients’ networks, servers, and endpoints. RMM tools enable MSPs to automate patch management, performance monitoring, and integrate remote control capabilities with client needs.
Popular RMM tools include ConnectWise Automate, Datto RMM, Kaseya VSA, and SolarWinds N-central.
3. Professional service automation (PSA) tools
Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools are software systems designed to be automated workflows that help professionals (such as IT consultants, project managers) and service providers manage their projects and resource allocation more efficiently.
Use cases of PSA tools include:
- Project management
- Time tracking
- Configuration management
- Resource management
Popular PSA tools include ConnectWise Manage, Autotask PSA, and Tigerpaw Software.
4. IT service management (ITSM) tools
ITSM tools automate processes related to service delivery, billing and support processes, including:
Examples of ITSM tools include ServiceNow, Jira Service Management, and Freshservice.
5. IT documentations tools
IT documentation is important for Managed Service Providers to manage their clients’ information effectively, streamline their IT infrastructure, and deliver better service.
Documentation tools help a MSP business in recording, organizing, and managing data related to networks, software, systems, and procedures. Here are a few leading IT documentation tools like IT Glue, Hudu, and Passportal.
6. Security automation tools
- Vulnerability scanning
- Threat detection and investigation
- Incident response
- Security updates
Examples of other users of security automation tools include Rapid7 Insight, Tenable.io, and Palo Alto Networks XSOAR.
7. Network management tools
Network management tools help managed services automate the general management of their clients’ network, including tasks like:
- Network mapping
- Performance monitoring
- Configuration management
- Fault remediation
Popular network management tools include SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, and ManageEngine OpManager.
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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