How IT Automation Can Extend to End-User Training

Posted by Dan St. Hilaire  /  March 29, 2016  /  MSP   —   No Comments ↓

IT automation works for user training, tooAs an IT professional, you're probably up-to-speed on the idea of automation. Automation of repetitive tasks simplifies processes providing efficiencies and saves you and your team time.

For example, Network Administrators will often use custom PowerShell Scripts to deploy software to end-user workstations. It provides options to fully automate processes like installs, letting Admins skip the bagillion clicks of the "Next" button. While using PowerShell is clearly not a set-and-forget process, the magic of the scripting works to complete a set of objectives and saves the Administrator time while standardizing a process.

Like remote monitoring and professional services automation, there are other set-and-forget monthly recurring revenue solutions that can extend your reach within the organization and help you to further monetize client relationships.

When I talk to Managed Service Providers I often hear how they sometimes provide a base level training service to their clients when deploying new technologies like Office 365. The amazing part is they usually do it on the fly and do it for free! How quickly we forget how our industry has moved from a hardware to a service model.

Training as a Service

The MSP should be thinking of Training as a Service (TaaS). While almost every MSP I speak with is aware of the rise of the cloud and understands the opportunity, the next generation MSP is starting to see the opportunity with automating software training as part of their service mix. So, let’s say it together, "My MSP services aren't complete without training."

The MSP stands to benefit by providing a TaaS solution to their clients. Providing training options to your client helps retain the client, strengthens your relationship with the customer and expands your service offering.

If you are doing your expert job, you’re not only assisting your client with the deployment of software but assuring the successful adoption of the technology you’re deploying. The magic here, the MSP earns revenue and their clients are happy to pay as part of their service plan. It's an opportunity to monetize.

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Whose job is it?

If we can agree that training is important, whose job is it?  I previously wrote about bringing your software training online. I mentioned many of the things that should be considered when a company wants to bring training online for their organization.

As an MSP, you've got a full list of options and services available to your clients. Adding internal training resources could be a drain on efficiency for your business.  For that reason, consider partnering with a reputable training provider. Leveraging TaaS ensures that you are providing a learning experience to your clients that is current while your staff supports network infrastructure design, support, and maintenance.

Finding the right training partner

When looking for a resalable TaaS solution for your clients, consider a partner that can provide your clients with great learning experiences. The training solution you offer clients should include a mix of learning modalities that include video-based material and live instruction. Your partner's solution should be an easy addition to your service book.

Make sure that your TaaS partner will help you close the deal and ask them about their IT automation for user engagement. Lastly, ask if they are already working with the MSP channel and if they are a member or partner of an MSP alliance group. Their experience with the channel will work to your benefit and they'll likely be able to help you with a custom solution for each of your customers.

It's in the numbers

Make sure to choose a TaaS partner that provides learning metrics that are of relevance to the MSP as well as the client.

Knowing that your client is receiving a return on their training investment makes the renewal easy for them. Knowing what your client is learning is helpful for the MSP.

In the end, it's not magic that will increase bottom line recurring revenue, it's extending Training as a Service to your client. Think beyond what your competitors are doing, differentiate yourself by offering training, and just build it into the equation as part of your overall IT automation strategy.

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Topics: MSP