MSP’s. Stop with the “Break Fix” model

MSP’s and customers need to grow up.

In the age of collaboration, MSP’s and customers need to grow up.

Wait, before I get flamed, I will point out, that there are some very modern progressive Managed Service Providers in the world who provide amazing services to their customers. And likewise, some customers realise the limits of their employee’s IT knowledge and partner with MSP to help them achieve their business goals, more efficiently.

But honestly, if you are an MSP and are reliant on a “break fix” model you have a limited life span and a limited universe to operate within.

Problem with Break Fix

While you will make some money, your margins will be forever diminishing, as customers squeeze the contract value and thus your margin because break fix is a commodity. There are lots of companies offering it.

Break fix is highly competitive. There is always someone who will do it better and cheaper for your customers, thus reducing your margins and in the end forcing you deliver a less than stellar experience which ultimately makes you customers leave. So why focus on break fix.

Customers are rarely after just “break fix”. And if they say they are, they either don’t have much money or don’t understand how IT can help them achieve their business goals. They see IT as a cost centre rather than helping achieve business value. The other reason could be that you’re selling the value all wrong. Break fix is just one element.

Move on and spend your time with customers who want more than Break fix. Strive to understand their business, understand how you can help them be more competitive in their market. Then work with them to help them deliver a better service, the best customer experience, by harnessing technology. Providing solutions that are different to the norm, ensures customers are more sticky and give rise to multi year contracts, increased profit margins.

Customers, these days live in a SaaS world, whether they use SaaS solutions or not, they expect their technology stacks just to work. Platforms to be stood up and torn down in seconds. Infrastructure is seen as a commodity. Companies scale up or down as the business requires. Look at Google or Amazon. Their compute power just scales according to customer demand. That’s why it’s so popular. It’s just too easy.

And here’s the crunch. Its all about the business service that sits on top of the infrastructure.

If that business service degrades, the preverbal hits the fan. Why? Because it’s seen as directly impacting the bottom line. So MSP’s need to step up and provide that controlled commoditised compute power/datacentre as a given and focus more on managing the business service and ensuring that is meeting SLA’s.

Customers are far more willing to pay money against uptime and guaranteed performance of their business service than anti virus updates, backup monitoring and RMM and the utilisation of servers.

I have been to numerous monthly and quarterly service reviews showing the performance of servers, memory, network availability, and it’s all dull and meaningless. Managers eyes glaze over as I show how many closed tickets you managed this month.

Talk about the performance of their legal case management system and how you could decrease the wait time for operators by 50% and managers are all ears. It’s an impact to a major business service used across by the customer.

Also, customers are willing to pay for insight into their services. To see the overall health and performance and being able to drill down, seeing elements of the business service is crucial to line-of-business (LoB) owners. As an MSP, you can offer that value add service on a monthly basis. Using data analytics helps hugely in this area.

It’s all about the business outcome

It’s is all about the business outcome. Challenge yourself. Can you, in partnership with your customer provide a win win valuable service that helps your customer improve their business, NOT can you make sure their IT is working (yawn) and make a few bucks at the same time.

For more info on how you can make your MSP business more valuable to your customers visit

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