Two weeks ago we posted the interview with Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up! The interview has inspired many of our clients and readers to think about particular aspects of their business. I’ve personally been experimenting within two of those aspects lately, based on his thoughts: Hyper Specialization and Service Productization. I just wanted to share an update on how we’ve developed what we learned.
From the chats I’ve been having with many of you about this topic, it’s apparent that this is going to grow in importance in the future. The classic Managed Service Provider business is still all about solving the same problem for everybody: keeping the lights on and delivering peace of mind, regardless of the industry, size or client maturity. As we move forward as an industry these problems and challenges are going to deal more with the business model or vertical specific issues rather than general infrastructure.
The problems we’ve traditionally faced have been slow email, backup fails, need for cloud storage, etc. These issues are general needs for every type of company.
The problems we might see now and will see more in the future will be more like “We need to store tons of videos and music files in a searchable format”, “ I have many outsourced people doing production for me, how can I work with them and easily share documents on different projects ?” and so on.
These examples come from a real-life small record label. So this label’s MSP - a member of Managed Services Platform - collected all the issues the music distribution company had and polled a couple others too quickly about general challenges. They then designed a special package called “Cloud Office Suite for Small Record Label Companies”. It included the traditional MSP stuff such as endpoint security, help desk and proactive maintenance, but also bundled together the service with a special storage application (managing the meta tags and media files), project management app (Basecamp license + implementation + support) and many other integrated small applications solving their problems from their perspective as a record label.
As I witnessed this coming together it became pretty clear to me that to getting in front of this kind of prospect with Hyper Specialized Package offers will be a natural process. I can easily imagine pulling out problems relevant to the client to create interest, and am also sure these problems aren’t likely solved by their current MSP or internal staff.
This kind of package addresses our customers’ problems precisely and bundles a solution together that specifically speaks to their needs. I’m curious about the results of others, but I’m confident that this will be making a big change in the marketing of MSPs.
One other thing I’ve gleaned while talking with some of you - these ideas have been started already but actually creating the hyper-specialized bundled packages for the verticals is, at least, non-traditional, and something quite new. This is the principle of productizing the service.
Because we can’t just bundle services together from a marketing perspective, this is actually a great opportunity to wire these processes together with the execution.
I see people playing with special service bundles aiming at micro companies (fewer than 10 staff and low budgets). Putting their data and systems to the cloud, and giving some basic support and value added applications like Office 365 + Todo + Calendar scheduling + note taking applications together solves their problem in a non-traditional way. Giving them classroom or webinar based training can help them adopting the basic applications. There’s also a way to eliminate the helpdesk (and its cost): to support only an internal champion rather than every individual. Now again MSPs are able to attract these small enterprises and do a profitable business.
So if you’ve kept up with our updates lately, we support those initiatives with new service bundle functions too, helping to put together service bundles based on your standard processes. Also because you’re now free to create services, your imagination is the only limit to creating offerings to verticals and productizing your services. Last but not least, graders and the new questionnaires will dramatically help you communicate with and qualify those prospects quicker and sell more.
I am quite excited to see how this trend develops. Looking forward to your stories!