Use Reference Architecture to Boost Profits Through Operational Maturity
Top-performing Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have built their Reference Architecture on a foundation of single design and seamless integration. The result is an elevated Operational Maturity Level (OML), which supports profitable growth through boosts in productivity and customer service. Discover the winning Reference Architecture you need to make a significant impact on your bottom line. But first, let’s examine what a Reference Architecture is.
What is a Reference Architecture?
An MSP’s Reference Architecture defines and sets the foundation for you to build your service methodology. Essentially, your Reference Architecture is a carefully designed set of principles, reusable patterns, and best practices giving MSPs a simple-to-follow frameworks for installing, configuring, maintaining, and repairing IT infrastructure in a manner that’s as streamlined and repeatable as technically possible.
Establishing a solid Reference Architecture means your services, hardware products, and software solutions are all deliberately chosen to ensure hassle-free interoperability across your technology stack. This benefits MSPs because it guarantees commonality from one client to the next. For example, if many clients are experiencing the same technical issue, a mature MSP has a single response to address the problem. On the other hand, a growing MSP may be forced to come up with a custom answer for each client due to vendor sprawl.
The following two components are required for a successful Reference Architecture:
- A single design that spans multiple layers of your technology stack, including the standard hardware and software products required to support your managed services.
- How these layers are integrated together and configured during installation and change management. The Reference Architecture further extends into the systems and service management toolset, and processes used by MSPs to efficiently manage infrastructure.
To put it all together, a single Reference Architecture informs an optimized service methodology. That methodology ensures a focused and differentiated go-to-market strategy, which in turn, leads to best-in-class profit. Never add any product to your business that does not satisfy the two components listed above. Doing so will reduce profit by requiring the management of additional overhead.
Increasing Operational Maturity with a Reference Architecture
Your OML describes where your business is in its ability to grow profits or EBITDA. As shown in the figure below, an MSP’s ability to increase operational maturity improves quality and growth.
This is important because the top performing 25% of MSPs see three times more profit than the median MSP, according to Service Leadership. Profits are incredibly important for your MSP’s financial freedom. Financial freedom means you control your destiny as a business owner. With greater resources, you have a greater ability to invest in customer service and new offerings to generate even more revenue, or to even acquire your competitors.
The Operational Maturity Model featured in the illustration above represents the different maturity levels MSPs can strive to achieve. But to reach new heights, you first need a sound Reference Architecture to use as your ladder.
Done-For-You Reference Architecture
Do you use multiple vendors for backup? According to Kaseya’s 2019 pricing survey, 82% of MSPs sell backup as part of their managed service offering. However, 78% of those MSPs are using more than one backup provider, and often, they’re using multiple BC/DR providers. It’s unfortunate because with each additional backup provider you add to your stack, you reduce your profit potential.
With each new provider, you’re inviting the symptoms of vendor sprawl to displace your Reference Architecture. Because each vendor requires different training, support processes, billing procedures, PSA/RMM integration and more, your business is pulled in multiple directions. The time necessary to learn these standards, the expertise required for each, and managing one vendor from another during a critical incident, all add overhead or cost to your MSP.
The Axcient x360 Platform enables MSPs to take full advantage of a Reference Architecture that leads to maximum profitability and customer service. With Axcient you can standardize not only on business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), but also for Microsoft 365 protection, and secure file sync and share with ransomware rollback. Additionally, as a 100% channel-only vendor, we also help add new customers with marketing and sales support – including email and social campaigns, brandable content assets, and marketing development funds (MDF) – all through the Axcient Marketing Portal.
Standardize on Axcient x360
Our Partners agree. Axcient x360 helps them support a consistent Reference Architecture by allowing them to standardize on backup to protect their customers with a single pane of glass. In fact, over one-third of Axcient partners who purchased Axcient have since stopped using all other BC/DR vendors – increasing profits and supporting a consistent service level for their customers. Another third of partners rationalize their backup vendors down to Axcient and just one other.
In the case of LANAIR Group, they had spread themselves too thin using 25 different vendors in their stack. By reducing and standardizing vendors, they were able to increase operational efficiency and profits.
The graph below is from a recent survey of Axcient partners. Results show the top three factors MSPs select and standardize on Axcient are: disaster recovery, reliability, and business continuity.
Axcient partners get a successful Reference Architecture that is built-into the x360 Platform. By eliminating vendor sprawl and relying on a single, standardized stack, our channel-only partners are set up to improve OML and maximize profitability and client success.
“Ancient continues to prove its commitment and mindfulness to the channel with the launch of Axcient x360,” said Robert Cioffi, Chief Operating Officer and co-founder at Progressive Computing. “It’s obvious to me they’ve listened to the partner community intently and walked that proverbial mile with us. Axcient x360 will undoubtedly save everyone here at Progressive Computing enormous time – managing products, locating resources, and getting answers are all now in one unified, cool-looking location. If you want to know how to be a true partner to an MSP, just ask Axcient.”
See what Robert is talking about with a free Axcient trial and join the Axcient Partner Community to grow your business and better serve your customers. Learn more about OMLs, Reference Architecture and profit building in the Axcient x360 Reference Architecture white paper.
About the Author:
Angus Robertson // CRO, Axcient
As the CRO for Axcient, Angus Robertson is responsible for marketing, sales and customer success at Axcient. Previously, Angus was EVP of Marketing at Convercent, the leading provider of ethics and compliance software in the cloud, and CMO at Hubble by insight software, a leader in Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software. When Angus isn’t leading the Axcient Revenue team and helping MSP partners, he loves playing squash, biking and spending time with his family.