Maintaining strong customer relationships is never easy, no matter what business you are in. For IT solution providers navigating competitive market conditions along with increasing customer demands, it is critical to build in effective customer retention practices.
Many IT solution providers are in a unique position to strengthen end-user loyalty – and increase revenues and profit along the way – by offering clients infrastructure optimisation and lifecycle management services.
You probably provide some of those offerings. But in today’s constantly changing world of cloud computing, mobility, big data and IoT, it’s a good time to rethink, add and refresh existing, new and future optimization and management services.
IT solution providers already have a unique view into their client’s infrastructure, close relationships with key IT decision makers, and an intimate knowledge of the solutions needed to help customers achieve their business goals. Sometimes it just takes a few new strategies to rework services that will optimise a client’s infrastructure, create lasting efficiencies and take their business to the next level. Here are 5 key strategies to consider:
- Take Inventory: The goal of almost any infrastructure optimisation (IO) or lifecycle management (LM) offering is to improve the efficiencies of a client’s IT assets. The first step in the process, one that will guide many future IO and LM initiatives, is to take a full inventory of the client’s resources, especially if it has been more than a year since the last one. In this age of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), ubiquitous mobility, downloadable apps and crucial security issues, many businesses aren’t sure what hardware and software their employees are using and the types of risks they pose. A full inventory should include desktops, notebooks, mobile devices and servers, as well as apps and all cloud services.
- Keep or Replace: Use that inventory list to determine outdated assets. If a system or program is hindering employee performance, offer an upgrade. Each client, no matter how IT savvy, needs you to show them the latest solutions that will help reduce costs and complexities, and to help them achieve their business objectives.
- Consolidate Centres and Systems: Take a close look at consolidating data centres before refreshing hardware and software cycles. Adding more workloads to fewer servers helps to decrease power and cooling expenses, reduce maintenance costs and capital expenditures, improve overall system stability, and simplify patch management and other security services.
- Identity Management: Managing and protecting user identity has always been key to the security and operations of most business. But related tasks – such as provisioning, password management and synchronisation among mobile users, partners and customers – becomes even more crucial as the “gig economy” expands and companies hire more short-term contract and freelance workers.
- Patch Management: Choosing, managing and applying the dozens of patches issued each week is a complicated process that few end users, especially those in smaller companies, can successfully handle. For IT solution providers that have performed a full inventory, standardised systems and software as part of the data centre consolidation, and established identity management processes, patch management is a logical service offering that few clients can do without.
One blog can’t cover all of the steps and processes involved in establishing infrastructure optimisation and asset management services. But IT solution providers who follow the basics to create the services that today’s constantly evolving small to medium- sized businesses (SMB) and enterprise IT environments need can increase their value and rightfully own the customer relationships they’ve fought so hard to establish. For more on IT solution provider best business practices and marketing strategies, check out the resources on our Channel Partner Program.
Here are a few more articles related to the topic.