Billing for Managed Service Providers in the Age of Transformation
In a 2018 report commenting on shifting technological norms, research and consulting firm Deloitte observed that a myriad of market forces have been leading companies to “focus on operational efficiency and effectiveness.”
Consequently, in a professional ecosystem that’s increasingly being defined by technological infrastructure, managed services are booming.
While managed services providers (MSPs) come in many different forms, they collectively represent an industry that’s worth nearly $200 billion, and that’s expected to approach $300 billion by 2023.
The Challenges of Change
To be sure, this is excellent news for MSPs. However, now more than ever, they face fierce competition as their sector becomes more crowded and the industry becomes more nuanced. Technology systems are becoming easier to use and customers are more tech-savvy, so the market price for technological services is decreasing.
Therefore, even as their industry continues to expand, MSPs are being forced to adapt to maintain profitability.
For example, the rapid transition to cloud-based services and the continually improving IoT infrastructure create new norms for the industry. Alexander Negrash, director of marketing for CloudBerry Lab, notes, “We are now living in the era of the cloud….so your staff needs to be ready for abrupt changes.”
The Consequences of Innovation
Today’s shifting marketplace requires MSPs to become more specialized. In practice, this means that MSPs need to offer a variety of high-value services, a superior customer experience, and a modern product line to remain competitive.
As a result, many MSPs are now providing cloud and hosting, data center, and other services from a single platform.
In a hyper-competitive digital environment, MSPs are looking for every edge they can get, and a comprehensive billing solution can be a differentiating feature that drives innovation and brings in new business.
Here are just some of the benefits for MSPs.
#1 Bandwidth Billing
MSPs can generate revenue with a billing software that’s capable of monitoring and tracking network usage rather than simply charging for services.
This active billing methodology can allow companies to offer need-based services to their clients, broadening their reach and allowing more people to take advantage of their offerings, regardless of project scope or budget.
#2 Usage-Based Billing
In some cases, bandwidth billing alone isn’t enough to adequately capitalize on the changing MSP market.
Because MSPs offer a variety of services that often aren’t compatible with a flat monthly charge, a flexible billing software that provides usage based billing can equip any company to derive revenue from more nuanced service offerings.
#3 Device Monitoring
Mobile device management is a big moneymaker for MSPs. Not only does it represent a recurring data stream, but it’s an additional value proposition for companies looking for a holistic solution to their IT infrastructure.
Billing software that can track and monitor device deployment while integrating that information into a usable invoicing workflow saves companies time and money while increasing their reach across a broad client pool.
#4 Automatic Order Processing
Efficiency is one of the primary components of maximizing profitability, and it is best achieved through automation. Automated order processing is a cost-effective way to create a better customer service experience while decreasing errors and streamlining sales.
The benefits include:
- Easy customer onboarding
- Accurate invoicing
- Timely revenue collection
- Quick customer service.
#5 Help Desk Ticketing
To improve customer satisfaction, choose a billing solution that offers easy help desk ticketing.
Using an email-based ticketing system creates an easy-to-use customer support process that is configurable and trackable — with detailed ticket event logs as well as ticket association with client, service, or device.
Automated ticket escalation and resolution puts your customers at ease while department workflow and management tools allow your agents to be as productive as possible., your customers want to be able to
In addition, support time metrics and ticket timers, subscriptions, and notifications enable you to evaluate your customer service in order to improve the efficiency of your support team.
#5 Infrastructure Management
Today’s client obligations are broad and diverse. While some require rudimentary services, others need entire infrastructure management. Comprehensive billing software can associate devices with clients, services, and other operative elements, improving the ability of MSPs to differentiate their services and to profit from their offerings.
#6 Order Management
Choose billing software that allows your company to manage the entire customer lifecycle – from signed quote to account setup and beyond.
Especially for MSPs, transparent and mutually understood contract obligations and service expectations are a key part of customer satisfaction.
Streamline these priorities with automated sales quoting and digital signature features that allow MSPs to easily support electronic customer signatures to confirm a contract, then automatically link to account setup, service provisioning, and the start of the billing cycle.
Another critical component of any comprehensive billing software is ensuring the system integrates with other prominent platforms.
Today’s market provides tremendous upside for MSPs, but they need to continue adapting to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded ecosystem.
A comprehensive, efficient, and flexible billing software that takes charge of the entire customer lifecycle empowers MSPs by allowing them to offer a superior customer experience, boost profitability, and scale their business.
It’s a software solution that can make a practical impact on all types of MSPs.