In the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in several webcast, peer group meetings, and automation panels. Some great discussions came from those events so I thought I’d write a series of articles to share the main points from those discussions. I hope you’ll find them helpful as you work on growing your business.
In the first of these, I’ll look at whether you should invest in an automation team, a full-time employee to work on automation, or simply dedicate a few hours per week or month for a technician to build automation policies.
To start, choosing how to invest in automation is not a one-size-fits-all process. I’ve seen very large managed services providers (MSPs) build a full-blown automation team almost overnight. I’ve also seen MSPs dedicate one hour per month toward automation to see if it’s worth investing more resources.
How do you determine if it’s worth it for you?
Putting some time in automation is always worth it. Investing one hour to self-heal a disk cleanup on laptops and workstations can remove several calls per week, saving you more than one hour per week in technician time. Alternatively, if you charge for all your services, you can automate the cleanup process when the customer calls—allowing you to provide reliable value to your customers without doing everything by hand every time.
So no matter your size, I typically recommend dedicating one of your technicians to automation for a few hours per week to start. Have them focus on automating some of the most common items you do on a recurring basis, such as checklist items, common customer requests, PC builds, user onboarding, etc. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see the value of automation and start investing more and more time.
Feel free to ask for help as you get started. If you’re a SolarWinds customer, you can ask questions during Automation Office Hours, join a bootcamp, or watch a recorded automation course at the MSP Institute. Alternatively, you can go on the Success Center Forums and ask for help there.
Once you start, don’t lose momentum. Invest more and more time. You’ll see how much time you can save and how much value it will give you.
If you’ve created an automation policy and would like to share it with the community, please feel free to email me at [email protected].
As always, don’t forget to look in the automation cookbook at www.solarwindsmsp.com/cookbook if you’re interested in other automation policies, script checks, and custom services.
Marc-Andre Tanguay is head automation nerd. You can follow him on Twitter at @automation_nerd.