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Editor’s Question: How can the channel help SMEs?

Editor’s Question: How can the channel help SMEs?

Thought LeadershipTop Stories

Gregg Lalle, SVP International Sales & Strategy, ConnectWise explains how the channel can help SMEs.

The reality of today’s environment means that customers will be looking to cut expenses where they can. Looking through the ‘glass half full’ lens, this creates a great opportunity for the channel to help those businesses make the right decisions. Part and parcel of this, of course, is that channel partners, or MSPs, double-down on building and retaining the strong relationships that make them indispensable to the continued operation of their customers’ businesses.

The last 12 months of lockdowns mean businesses of all sizes will have experienced their first exposure to work from home models; many of their users do not know what a secure VPN means, let alone how to use it to access their corporate network. This is where the channel can go the extra mile and ensure their customers are set up appropriately.

Offering to audit and evolve the current remote working set-up for a more permanent footing will demonstrate a willingness to ensure that customers can maintain peak performance.

Ensuring they have the right tools and equipment in place, however, is just the start. To effectively manage customer infrastructures, MSPs will need to have the right documentation in place – for everything from devices, applications and web services to passwords – to ensure their support teams can respond quickly and effectively. Similarly, proactively monitoring systems will result in customers experiencing fewer issues and crashes – which in turn will help reduce the number of service tickets that MSPs have to handle.

Many services that were offered in the past are now considered ‘table stakes’. One example is security. Simply providing AV or a firewall as your ‘advanced security solution’ won’t cut it. Our recent Vanson Bourne survey revealed that 91% of SMBs would consider using or switching to a new IT service provider if offered the right cybersecurity solution. Ensuring cybersecurity discussions take place and supporting customers in finding the right solution will be crucial in maintaining customers.

In these unpredictable times customers will need frequent reassurance that they can rely on their MSP to help them through any crisis. Helping SMEs to focus on the issues most relevant to them, and the solutions that will maximise protection, is key to building trust. Furthermore, initiating a programme of frequent communications that ensure customers know how to get in contact, how to submit a ticket and are kept abreast of any temporary SLA changes will be key to building relationships that last.

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