Top 10 Considerations for Selecting the Right RMM Solution

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2 Introduction The most successful IT service providers are those that find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition and consistently strive to retain loyal customers. In an increasingly crowded market, IT service providers must provide exceptional customer support that meets, and ideally exceeds, service level agreements to remain viable. Many may struggle with how they can meet this challenge while supporting multiple customers with limited technical specialists on staff. With costly customer site visits needed to resolve end-user issues, how can IT service providers operate more efficiently, increase margins, and make room for growth? One solution that can help increase the efficiency of the IT service provider s business and better manage its resources is remote monitoring and management (RMM). An RMM solution delivers an arsenal of IT management tools such as remote desktop monitoring, trouble ticket tracking, user information, support, and more with one comprehensive interface. And because RMM tools manage the entire technology infrastructure and enable service delivery, selecting an RMM tool has become an important first step in building a complete managed services offering. How can IT service providers select the best RMM solution? When it comes to choosing an RMM solution, it is important to understand the benefits before the selection process begins. First, RMM enables IT service providers to remotely and proactively monitor computer and network health. RMM also provides powerful maintenance and management capabilities. The ability to set up routine, scheduled maintenance tasks with RMM not only prevents problems, but it also significantly reduces the troubleshooting time. Powerful management tools are also available within RMM to simplify software deployment, troubleshooting and other important IT service functions. The benefits of utilizing RMM tools include increased customer service levels, time and money savings, and ultimately a more effective and profitable business. An RMM solution is integral to a complete managed services offering. Without RMM services, IT service providers can only react to customer issues instead of spotting problems before they affect the end-user or even preventing them in the first place. With the right RMM solution in place, IT service providers can become a true partner in the client s business. In order to choose the right RMM solution for your company, you must first consider your business strategy. 1 It is important to understand your client base, and the services that will be delivered in support of each client. Knowing this information ahead of time will ensure that product selection is based on your current and future business needs. 321 Perry Street Toledo, OH

3 Top 10 considerations for selecting the right RMM solution RMM services will significantly impact both the IT service provider and its clients. During the selection process, it is important to compare options and determine which product best meets the company s needs. IT service providers should consider the following 10 things when searching for the right RMM solution: 1. Price Cost is always an important factor when making any type of investment. When looking at RMM solutions, IT service providers should not only consider the base price, but also find out how cost-effective it is to scale up as the business grows and adds more clients. Look for a solution with a simple pricing and licensing model and make sure it does not force you to buy too much too soon. What should I look for in an RMM solution? RMM is an important part of a solid managed services offering and a successful business model. In order to select the right product for your business, you should: Define your business strategy Consider product features such as scripting, reporting and PSA integration Discover what extras are available including security and private labeling 2. Flexibility and power to provide exceptional customer service Get peer recommendations One business goal that all IT service providers will have in common is providing Test the product for yourself top-notch service levels to clients while operating more efficiently. RMM tools Source: 7 Tips for Buying Managed Services should have robust functionality that enables technicians to proactively monitor Software, ChannelPro SMB and fix client issues before they interrupt the customer s business. Choose a solution that has significant extensibility so you can collect and sort a wide variety of technical information and can create automatic remediation to kick off a scripted set of actions upon detection of a problem. The ability to quickly diagnose and solve problems results in less downtime for clients and more productivity for the technical team. IT service providers should ensure that their RMM solution can help them offer a superior service. 3. Strong integrations Because RMM tools are a part of an IT service provider s managed services offering, it is critical that the solution has tight integration with its other business solutions, especially the professional service automation (PSA) system. PSA systems are used to manage day-to-day business operations including time reporting and billing. 2 A strong integration between the RMM solution and PSA system will ensure automatic data sharing and improve productivity. Without integration, IT service providers risk having this important aspect of business end up in a data silo. Customers are no longer running us down to report problems; we are running them down to report preemptive resolutions! They love it. BARRY LANGLEY, CEO, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY CONSULTING 321 Perry Street Toledo, OH

4 4. Robust, easy-to-use scripting engine An RMM solution that is equipped with a robust, easy-to-use scripting engine can improve staff productivity and helps IT service providers save time and reduce the need for additional headcount. System administrators can create scripts to handle routine maintenance tasks automatically. Scripts can run on computers, groups, or searches immediately or on a scheduled basis. Look for scripting features that allow the use of advanced logic to gather information and even troubleshoot problems before a technician is notified. It is also helpful if the RMM product offers a number of check conditions available within a single script, so that technicians do not have to write hundreds of scripts to accomplish a simple task. A solution that has built-in script commands, and the ability to share with other programs, can enable you to perform a multitude of maintenance tasks automatically. 5. Private labeling option Another important consideration is the option to private label the solution. Will the RMM vendor allow IT service providers to private label the service so that it can be presented to clients with its own brand? Look for a solution that offers flexible branding options including custom text, logos and themes. Having this option available will help you present a common look and feel to your clients and you ll be able to design interfaces that are more consistent with the way your business runs. 6. Intuitive and fully functional During the selection process, take time to test the product for yourself. Find out if you can launch the service and get it off the ground quickly. If the product is intuitive, technicians will be able to utilize RMM services right from the start. Make sure to ask these important questions: Will technicians and new employees be able to learn the system easily? and Is training available if needed? 7. Security Security is of the utmost importance when it affects your customers. It is critically important to select an RMM solution that offers multiple levels of security. Make sure the product offers tight security that does not allow The major piece of [RMM] is its extensibility. The way the scripting engine and the monitoring engine are built, I can directly go in a query, pull files from the customer s system, and write a script that will go parse that file. I can actually go do direct queries against the SQL back end. There s just stuff like that that really was the power I was looking for. JAMES RILEY, JNR NETWORKS 321 Perry Street Toledo, OH

5 hackers to initiate commands on the server. IT service providers should also ensure that every remote agent has a separate 16 character password that is never transmitted and includes SSL encryption. Agents should only be allowed to make outbound connections so firewalls do not have to be opened. 8. Real world experience In addition to evaluating product features, it is also important for you to do some research on potential RMM providers. An RMM product offered by a company who once did business as an IT service provider can have added benefits over others in the market. Find out if the vendor has ever walked in your shoes. They may have added custom features to their RMM product that not only come from knowing what is needed to do the job but also what can make the job easier. 9. Superior support When choosing an RMM solution, make sure the vendor has adequate resources to offer an exceptional level of support. Remember, in this case, you re the customer. Does the vendor offer support options? Do they have the right level of expertise and experience? Most importantly, do they deliver quality software releases? After discussing these questions with the vendor, ask if a list of references can be provided. Check for more information in software guides and blog spots to make sure there aren t any red flags in the vendor s track record. 10. Make sure your customers belong to you After exploring the vendor s experience and level of support they provide, IT service providers should check the fine print. Make sure your vendor will not attempt to market their software solution or other services directly to your customers or you ll risk being cut out of the stream of business. Anything we wanted to do in [our previous tool], we had to research for a week before we could learn how to do it. With [our current RMM solution], we log in, play around with it for a few minutes, and we ve figured out exactly what we need to do. With a Windows interface, everything looks like you d expect it to look, and is basically where you d expect it to be. SCOTT WALTERS, CISCOM 321 Perry Street Toledo, OH

6 Summary Remote monitoring and management (RMM) is a crucial part of your managed services offering. RMM tools enable service delivery and provide a number of benefits including increased customer service levels, time and money savings, and ultimately a more effective and profitable business. In order to select the right solution, you must first examine business strategy and how RMM services will fit into your ideal business model. With this knowledge, you can properly assess the most important features that are needed to meet current and future business needs. In addition to looking at the actual product, you should also learn about the company behind the product. An RMM vendor should have experience walking in your shoes in order to best understand how to meet the unique needs of an IT service provider. Taking the time to answer some simple questions about real world experience, customer support, and marketing practices before making a selection, will help you make the right choice for your business the first time. 1 Freeman, Rich, 7 Tips for Buying Managed Services Software, ChannelPro SMB, March 2008, 2 Ibid About LabTech Software LabTech is the only Managed Service tool for remote monitoring, management, and automation developed by a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for MSPs. Their affordable, agent-based solution so closely emulates what technicians do in the field that the techs can provide the same support remotely. Because LabTech understands how to manage a growing MSP business, they make it easier to procure their software and allow partners to add agents as they grow. For more information please visit Perry Street Toledo, OH

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