Compete For Your Customers… or Someone Else Will!

It’s incredibly important to have a sense of competitive urgency when servicing your customers. Every day we should wake up with a focus on how we make our customers successful. There are many ways to support our customers and to better drive their business so they can meet their operational goals. One important avenue that is often overlooked is the business review process. 

Okay, so what does a business review process accomplish? At its core, a business review engages the customer and enables a strategic discussion regarding their business and how technology can be a competitive advantage for them. A typical business review will encompass:

Technology Audit 

A technology audit is exhaustive review of your customers’ technology environment with a specific focus on the health of the environment compared to industry best practices. 

Let’s take a look at an example. An operating system must be supported by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), licensed appropriately for the intended use, and there must be a clear line of sight around when the operating system will no longer be supported by the OEM. Running on a non-supported operating system opens unnecessary security risk into your customers’ business. 

Of course, this is just one example of many which are involved in a comprehensive audit. Visual Edge IT compares our customers’ environments against over 150 best-practice questions and provides a health report alongside appropriate actions in order to improve the health of the environment.

Asset Lifecycle Review 

An asset lifecycle review is a complete list of all technology assets, their warranty status, and where they are in the customers budget lifecycle. Running your business on aging equipment introduces a multitude of challenges. Just like an automobile needs a tune-up to run optimally, computers must also be “tuned” to most effectively process workload. As low processors, unnecessary files, malware, as well as unsupported drivers and operating systems all impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your employee’s ability to perform their job. The Asset Lifecycle Review is a critical tool for budget development and should not be ignored.

Technology Roadmap

A business review is a key tool in developing the long-term strategy for your customer. Part of a long-term strategy is developing a technology roadmap which will cover your company for the next three years. During the business review the customer and provider should discuss several key items, including:

  1.  Business strategy 
  2. Primary goals/objectives 
  3. A detailed plan for achieving those goals

 Some examples of key business strategy items may include questions such as:

  •  How does “cloud computing” factor into their business model? 
  • Is accessing their data and applications at any time and from anywhere important to the company?
  •  How secure is their environment? (They may know they are protected but how do they truly know they are? Where are the checks and balances? How about backups? Are they successful? Have you tested the restore ability?)
  •  Do they have a disaster recovery plan? 

Long story short: all companies should have a roadmap, adjust as business goals change or new technology makes it more efficient or a better return on investment (ROI)

Budget Development

 – The business review is a perfect time to discuss the customer’s budget. An open discussion between the customer and provider allows for both parties to have input into the budget with the technology roadmap as guide. Typically, the managed services provider (MSP) is the technology department for the customer and should have a voice at the table when driving the business forward. 

Data Analytics

 The managed services provider needs to offer insight around their performance. Of course, this needs to be compared with the contractual key performance indicators. A truly effective MSP should be able to account for all time spent, highlight efforts to drive efficiencies, as well as pinpoint opportunities for improvement (on both sides of the house) and training opportunities for increased efficiency and safety Bottom line: an MSP should routinely be able to identify risks, gaps, and solutions to help protect their customers from bad actors. As any good MSP will tell you, you can’t just shut the screen door, lock it, and feel like you’ve done your job. A lock only keeps an honest person honest. 

In summary, the business review is an often-overlooked tool that possesses value to the customer and the managed services provider. The business review allows you to transform a pricing discussion to a discussion centered around value. Don’t mistake one for the other, and don’t miss the opportunity to compete for your customers — because if you don’t care of them…someone else will!