Sometimes it makes sense to switch your RMM vendor. For example, if your services have evolved to new requirements or you know there’s a good vendor who can really help your business.
But I often see MSPs consider it for the wrong reasons. They think they’ll find a silver bullet in the next technology solution, not realizing their technology issue may actually be a deeper business issue.
This is where having an MSP vendor who truly treats you as a partner can matter. If your business feels stuck in neutral, a good solutions provider won’t just focus on a new feature—they should offer you sound advice and resources.
Today, I want to talk about that—and hope you start demanding more from your technology partners.
The measure of an MSP vendor
Ultimately, your software vendors need to think of you as partners. When they make decisions, it has to be mutually beneficial. I think any vendor worth their salt should at least do the following four things:
1. Provide updates based on market trends
The IT world changes frequently. Whether it’s with businesses shifting to the cloud or it’s more sophisticated cyberattacks, having a vendor who sees these trends and arms you with tools to capitalize is extremely important. They can do this via acquiring other companies, partnering with third-party solutions, or offering integrations as part of an open ecosystem. While it’s important to look at these features now, it’s more important to see that they make these investments consistently.
For example, N-able knew that the shift toward cloud management would only continue to grow. To get ahead of that trend, we partnered with Microsoft to offer a deep integration between N-able™ N-central® and Microsoft Intune. However, this isn’t the only change—we frequently partner with third-party vendors like SentinelOne and DNSFilter to offer stronger integrations on security.
2. Invest in their own security
MSPs have become prime targets for cybercriminals due to their access to sensitive, lucrative data for multiple businesses. It’s important for any MSP vendor to realize that their security is also yours. Investing in secure development processes, incident response teams, secure infrastructure, and regular penetration tests should be essential. Beyond that, they should be willing to be transparent about their standards, understanding no company will ever disclose all their security practices. If you’re not sure, ask them. And pay attention to how they handle both vulnerabilities and larger incidents—keeping you in the loop and quickly addressing issues with hotfixes should be paramount.
3. Offer resources to help you succeed
As I mentioned in the intro, there’s always the temptation to switch RMM tools to solve business problems. But a good vendor will actually help you with issues and your business model.
Yes, I’m tooting our own horn again, but N-able puts a lot of effort into offering multiple ways to help you grow and improve. For starters, we offer our partners a dedicated success representative who spends time going over their business model and walking them through ways they can improve and how we can support that growth. We also offer extensive on-demand training in the MSP Institute on marketing, sales, business development, and technical topics. Beyond that, we have a dedicated team of Head Nerds who offer frequent office hours and boot camps in their areas of expertise, including automation, security, backup, Mac, and sales and marketing. The bottom line is this: your vendor really needs to do more than just provide the software tools; they should be supporting your business goals as well. After all, you support your customers business goals—your vendor should do the same.
4. Act on what they’ve learned?
I want to end on a broader point. MSP vendors gain a lot of insight into the market by talking to so many MSPs. They also gain perspective by viewing their own data. This should inform their own efforts, but should also filter into the content they produce and actions they take. For example, the MSP channel has seen a move toward mergers and acquisitions both in terms of offering exits for MSP owners and to pump investments into the market to expand into, for example, cloud and security offerings. We partnered with several major firms in this market space to gain their perspectives so you, as an MSP partner, can gain their insight and access. We announced them at our recent Empower event and will be hearing more from them soon.
Ultimately, it’s not really about any of these individual points. It’s about the entire ecosystem of help and business support an individual vendor offers. They can’t view themselves just as vendors—they have to be true partners working to help you achieve your business goals, anticipate changes in the market, and gain a deep competitive advantage.
David Weeks is senior director of partner experience at N-able
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