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IT Managers should be able to check their service providers’ attainment against SLAs in real time.

Trust is a big factor when making the decision to invest in a service provider.  Often, giving up an element of control over their IT infrastructure is a client’s biggest worry, so anything that helps to gain their trust and build confidence is key to attracting and winning new customers.  Services are, by definition, intangible, which is part of the problem.  We all prefer to be able to see, touch and interact with the things we’re buying.  Building tangibility into a service provider’s proposition is a critical differentiator.   

 

Open communication

 

The relationship between client and service provider is a dynamic one where a spirit of openness and collaboration is essential.  The goal posts have been fixed: SLAs state clearly who has responsibility for what, and how the standards are to be measured. However, for the customer, it’s not just a case of handing responsibility over and hoping the MSP doesn’t fail – regular communication is critical.

With this in mind, real time reporting of service level attainment is an important tool to have – the more visibility the client has of the service they’re receiving, the better.  For this to have the desired impact, the information presented needs to be meaningful to the reader.  The data used by the MSP tech team day to day is unlikely to be suitable for consumption by the end customer.

Importantly, not all service providers have the means – a customer accessible portal or app – to deliver this level of reporting to their customers.

 

Easier renewals make more selling time

 

Self-service reporting means that the customer doesn’t have to wait for the end of the reporting period if he/she wants to check on a particular aspect of service.   If things are as they should be, they can see it.  If not, the customer is empowered to challenge or escalate concerns if needs be, supported by clear metrics. As a result, customers are less likely to put up unexpected objections during service review meetings and contract renewal conversions should be easier.

As well as the obvious customer-centric advantages to automated reporting, there are also cost and efficiency benefits for the service provider.  No manager wants to have their sales team building reports for days each month end when they could be out there selling additional services or winning new business.

 

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