When David Mercer picked up a call from one of his clients, he was told their printers didn’t work. Not an uncommon problem, but something easily fixed, he thought. However, he never expected the reason why.
The client had moved their entire business to a new location without notifying their MSP, David Mercer Consulting, and only reached out once the printers would not work.
“Why didn’t you tell us about this? You didn’t think to tell us the day you were moving?” he recalled.
Mercer’s experience is common in the MSP industry. MSPs often have to be persistent with client communication otherwise the IT asset management process can get derailed. MSPs would always rather be ahead of their clients, rather than trying to catch up.
That’s why IT asset management planning with your clients is so important. Knowing what your clients business goals are allows both the MSP and client to plan their asset management process to best serve their needs.
Start the IT asset management process by assessing your clients’ current IT infrastructure and workflows to determine what their needs are. Are there any potential gaps or areas for improvement? Are their assets functional and healthy?
With a complete assessment, the MSP and client and work together to determine what the business needs are for the near future and plan around warranty renewals, procuring new hardware, and budgeting.
Budget planning can determine the costs for new hardware and software assets, warranty renewals, licensing and other expenses. Once the budget is determined, MSPs can source the required assets and deploy them in the client’s IT infrastructure.
When both the MSP and client can understand the business goals, the steps they both take will work to improve the client’s operations while reducing roadblocks and risk.
Spend less time manually tracking assets and more time growing your business
In addition to direct IT asset management, a client’s plans for their staffing also have impacts to the IT infrastructure. One important part of the IT asset management is the ability to scale alongside the client.
If they know that staffing will expand over the next 12 months, the MSP can plan for the necessary assets needed to onboard the new employees and enable them to do their jobs. When the MSP can take care of the infrastructure, the client can focus on training and integration to smoothly transition the new employees onto the team.
New staff also opens questions about what type of IT assets the client wants to utilize as they scale up.
When a client is considering moving to a new location, or making other changes to the way the business operates, MSPs need to prioritize communication. In Mercer’s experience, the client moved to a new office without telling them, and he and his team had to react to make sure their IT assets were still functioning properly.
When the MSP and client are in sync with both long and short-term goals, MSPs can be proactive with their service in order to make any transitions or changes as smooth and effective as possible. But it all comes down to one thing: communication.
Despite the MSPs best efforts, some clients can be tricky to work with. One of Mercer’s former clients, an outdoor concert venue, had a history of not communicating their decisions and would often disrupt the service their MSP provided.
Three weeks before a concert, Mercer was told they wanted wifi installed but didn’t know where the hardware they purchased was. Once the hardware was found, Mercer learned that the cables had been ripped out, and all the network jacks were broken. When a technician arrived on-site to check if the network was working, he found that the client had moved the hardware without telling them.
“I want to work with you guys,” Mercer told the clients. “Bring me in. I’m not going to charge you. Just bring me in on these conversations when you’re meeting for the next concert and any changes you make, that way we’ll know. We may even have suggestions that will save you money.”
Mercer places a lot of value in communicating with clients on the IT asset management process, which is one of the reasons his MSP has been successful. Not only is coordination helping operations improve, but it can help save money in both the short and long-term for clients as well as make the existing expenses provide greater value.
As hardware approaches its end of life and warranties are no longer an option, MSPs need to have a plan in place for the disposal of old assets. This final part of the IT asset management process is one of the most important as it requires a transition on the part of the client and MSP.
With a comprehensive asset management plan, MSPs will know all of the assets that are approaching end of life for the clients and can proactively work on their replacement early, avoiding unnecessary interruptions in the client’s business. Approaching the disposal of assets early also allows time to troubleshoot any technical issues that may come up with new hardware or software.
Disposing of old assets also allows MSPs and clients to look forward to new equipment and plan for what will best work for them moving forward. It’s an opportunity to look where the client wants their business to go in the future and to develop an asset plan to help them get there.
Essentially, a successful IT asset management process is one that not only provides high quality service to the client, but sets them up for a successful future. At the heart of every part of the process is a partnership between client and MSP that centers communication as the key factor.
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