Creating a Data-Driven Culture with Clients

dataAs MSPs explore ways to improve their services and internal operations through data analytics, it’s important to think about how to help clients do the same. Make no mistake: the future belongs to data-driven companies.

Business intelligence (BI) and data analytics are currently one of the most promising specializations that any MSP can consider as a business strategy. If you aren’t looking at it yet, it would behoove you to do some research into what types of services already exist in the market, how you can add them, and how they would benefit your customers.

Chances are many of your clients probably are curious about BI and whether they need it. Most likely, they already have heard about it because BI and analytics are one of those technologies currently taking a spin in the technology hype cycle. If you aren’t conversant in the benefits of BI and analytics, your clients will seek out somebody who is.

And that somebody is bound to profit handsomely. IDC predicts the big data and analytics market will expand at a 26 percent annual rate to $41.5 billion in 2018, about six times faster than the overall IT market.

Big Investment

Data analytics requires a serious investment by MSPs – if you plan to build a practice from scratch. For one thing, you need the right skills to interpret data and make proper recommendations to end users based on data findings. While business intelligence and analytics rely heavily on sophisticated solutions, human intervention is still required to act on the insights delivered by the data.

MSPs that own a data center are better equipped for data analytics because they can dedicate a piece of the data center to BI and analytics solutions. If you don’t have a data center, launching an analytics practice may require an added investment.

Further complicating things, BI/analytics is a fast-evolving discipline, thanks to the effect of big data and the Internet of Things, which makes keeping up with the technology an even bigger challenge. So you might understandably ask how a busy MSP trying to keep up with things like the cloud and cybersecurity can take on the challenge of data analytics. Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Partnering Opportunities

The quickest way to get into the analytics game is to partner with a vendor or provider with a subscription-based managed data analytics solution. While they aren’t as common as cloud storage providers, these specialized providers are out there. Do your research to find them and determine which has the solution that best fits your business model and your clients’ needs.

You’ll want a partner with the requisite technical expertise, customizable tools and support structure so you can help your customers collect business data and create reports to help them improve business operations and drive business goals.

If you decide to take on BI/analytics as a specialization and pull it off successfully, you’ll be doing your clients and yourself a big favor. Establishing a data-driven culture in any business these days is a key to unlocking future success. And if you’re the one turning that key for clients, you will earn their loyalty and cement your role as trusted advisor.

Pedro Periera

 

Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community. He can be reached at pedrocolumn@gmail.com.