The office equipment space is in the middle of an evolution. Less printed pages, more digital everything. From tradeshow presentations to channel news sites, everyone is talking about convergence and how managed print providers need to expand into managed IT services.
The potential for profits is definitely there. Right now the average revenue for managed print services only is $27 per seat. With managed IT services added to that, you can charge more than $150 per seat. That’s over five times more revenue.
But where do you even start? Here is a guide on How to Manage More Than Print in 5 Steps to help you begin your journey to adding managed IT services to your business:
Step 1: Define the solution set
The first step is to determine what services you are wanting to offer. There are lots of services to choose from with managed IT, including:
- Cloud-based IT services (Workspace-as-a-Service)
- Cloud-based VoIP
- Cybersecurity and dark web monitoring
- Business continuity and disaster recovery
- Managed IT services (MSP)
Managed IT services should be the foundation of your expanded solution set. Another service that should be on your radar right away is cybersecurity and dark web monitoring, which create easy selling points with existing and new customers (more on selling that in Step 5).
Step 2: Implement a PSA software
Next, you need to find the right business automation software. In the IT industry, those solutions are called professional services automation (PSA) software. In the print world, you mostly call them enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms. Regardless of what it’s called, you need one that can efficiently manage your new stack of IT services and your existing managed print services in one single application.
A business automation software is the best tool to help you collect and analyze data, which allows you to calculate ROI and profitability in order to show your company’s growth.
Make sure your platform has the right features for managed IT services like integrations to the popular remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools, such as Kaseya and SolarWinds, as well as the ability to handle service ticketing, technician time tracking, service level agreements and inventory and asset management. And the best PSA software solutions offer every feature for one price that also includes no extra charge for integrations.
Step 3: Evaluate your IT talent
In order to start offering managed IT services quicker and more easily, you’re going to need the right staff, and that starts with evaluating your current employees. Do they have IT skills? If so, how sophisticated are they? It’s one thing to be able to manage work stations and another to tackle servers, routers and everything else that goes with it.
Also, make sure you have either a chief technology officer (CTO) or chief information officer (CIO) in place who can manage the IT and data side of your business. A CTO or CIO can then help choose the solutions you’re going to offer, manage the stack, work with vendors and train your sales team to sell them.
Step 4: Outsource
Finding the right — and affordable — partners to take on some of the burden of providing IT services can also go a long way. The idea is to let your staff take on the higher-level needs that require a site visit and outsource the lower level issues. Two of the best options to look into are a network operations center (NOC) or help desk.
A NOC is a 24/7 facility that is the first line of defense when service is needed, such as device alerts or security issues that need patches. So instead of hiring more employees to work overtime or have night shifts, you simply partner with a NOC like Continuum.
A help desk is similar to a NOC with more of a customer-service air to it. So when a customer is having an issue and wants to call and talk to someone and figure out smaller issues, such as where their icons went after a software update or they're running out of hard drive space, they call the help desk.
Eventually, when you start to grow your company, you can look at bringing everything in house and building a team, but NOCs and help desks are an easy way to start selling and making money with IT services.
Step 5: Create a selling model
Selling IT is different from selling managed print services. You must create a proven sales methodology. That could mean you keep your sales team separated, so you use your existing sales reps to keep selling print and hire a few new reps to tackle IT. Whatever works best for your business, just make sure you have a plan and follow it.
To build a foundation of success, pick your top 25 customers to sell your new IT services. Then break down the rest of your customer base into manageable segments. At the same time, remember to update your brand. Your marketing materials need to reflect all your new services, including updating your website, social media, brochures, etc.
A great way to showcase your IT services is to harness a network analysis tool like RapidFire Tools or ID Agent that allows you to identify security risks for a potential client and then use those reports during the first sales meeting. It’s hard to ignore someone, even a salesperson, who points out security holes on a network.
Read a success story
Alright, so now you know the steps you need to take in order to add managed IT services to your managed print business.
How about a success story to get you motivated?