By Joshua Skeens, Logically
With 58 percent of the American workforce now having the option to work from home, it’s clear that remote and hybrid work is here to stay. And, with more of our work lives online than ever, IT services are becoming increasingly vital.
Yet, at the same time, we’re facing a serious global talent shortage. According to McKinsey, 87 percent of companies are aware that they either already have a skills gap or will have one within the next few years. For companies in highly skilled, tech-driven sectors like MSPs, these challenges may be even more acute.
To MSP leadership, it may seem imperative to maximize the output of your existing team to fill in the gaps. However, it’s important not to stretch your current team too thin, which can lead to burnout – and, ironically – deepen your talent retention woes.
Against the backdrop of these challenges, many MSPs feel they have to choose between great client service and employee wellbeing – but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re concerned about burning out your current IT team or just want to ensure your organization moves as efficiently as possible in the current environment, the answer is simple: automation.
What Automation Can Do For Your MSP
Automation can be implemented and used virtually everywhere throughout your MSP – from the back office to sales, marketing, and more. But perhaps where it can be most valuable is when used to augment your frontline management service teams.
Just consider automation’s myriad applications. For example, IT professionals previously had to manually update the status of their projects at every step of the process – emailing clients when they had received a request, were working through a request, and when it was complete. But no longer: AI-powered tools can handle these types of administrative tasks, so your team doesn’t have to.
Automation also can handle more complex projects like regularly scanning clients’ networks to gather information about the infrastructure and health status of their equipment. This saves your staff hours of physically visiting each computer at your client's office. Put simply, the implementation of automation enables your staff to greatly streamline many of the basic workflow tasks that can eat up hours each week.
How Automation Benefits Your Team
When some employees hear the word “automation” bandied about as part of discussions about workplace augmentation, they may initially fear for their job security or worry about being “replaced” by AI.
But in truth, automation is a complement – not a substitute – to skilled work. By taking routine tasks off of employees’ plates, automation allows them to shift to higher-value work, something many employees will likely appreciate.
Take, for example, “alert fatigue.” IT employees are often bogged down with hundreds of alerts per day and as a result, may burn out quicker, fail to respond to tasks in priority order, or inadvertently miss requests due to the sheer number of alerts they receive day in and day out. With AI-driven automation tools, these alerts can be rounded up and sent alongside recommendations for prioritization and next steps, making it easier for IT professionals to serve their colleagues and clients without the constant alert overwhelm.
How Automation Benefits Client Relations
Leveraging automation doesn’t just provide value to your employees, but it provides value to your clients as well. Clients of MSPs with automation in place often receive quicker and more efficient updates – especially when interfacing with an automated service – and can access real-time updates on their projects.
However, like employees, some clients are hesitant when they learn that an organization utilizes automation as part of its operations. What if they need to speak to a real person over the course of doing business?
It’s a valid concern – but one that can be allayed through automation: when human intervention is necessary, clients will enjoy the benefit of speaking with someone who isn’t overworked and can take the time needed to provide stellar customer service. Automation frees up staff to slow down and take their time with client requests, providing better and more efficient service.
Automation is a fantastic tool for MSPs looking to stretch their organizational capabilities without burning out their IT professionals. Organizations that implement automation will enjoy more productivity, less burnout amongst employees, and – most importantly – an influx of time for employees to dedicate to client services. After all, automation alone cannot sustain the work MSPs do; it’s a way to uplevel your work, without sacrificing employee wellbeing.
About The Author
Joshua Skeens is Chief Operating Officer at Logically.