The software industry offers a comprehensive choice of customer relationship management (CRM) systems. However, buying in a standalone general-purpose CRM will cause you problems of data translation and won’t give you all of the specific needs of an MSAP’s customer management needs.
There is a lot of overlap in the customer management requirements with other essential PSA modules, including contracts management and billing. An integrated PSA can eradicate the need to duplicated stored data – linking through to a common data store in order to bring up the client’s contract information, for example.
An important feature that a PSA customer manager needs is a password vault. This contains all of the credentials needed to access the network, endpoints, servers, and protected software on the client’s site. Standard CRM systems don’t include this. The PSA’s password vault needs to be very tightly controlled. Not only should the password vault itself be protected by access credentials, but every access event needs to be logged.
Customer management platforms can be tied into the office (or cloud-based) digital phone system. This enables customer support technicians to raise tickets from incoming help desk calls. Such a configuration is also a great help for sales personnel who need to get all of the client’s vital information on the screen when they make an important call to them.
A self-service portal for the user community cuts down support calls and its confidentiality encourages users to seek advice on how to fix problems rather than trying to guess at a solution. The Portal ties together all problem-solving channels. This includes a knowledge base and communication methods for contacting a human support technician. Typical contact methods include a web form, a live chat window, email, and a telephone hotline.
Every PSA will include a reporting module. The transactional data held by the system needs to be stored over time and archived for system security auditing. The reports should be available to run on a schedule to provide daily or weekly summaries of activities. These periodic management reports support planning and budgeting. That same information used for management reporting can just as easily provide source material for auditing.
A remote access facility is the key element of a remote monitoring and management package. The remote access process requires two basic elements: an agent on the target device and a controller console on the monitoring system. The two parts of the system establish a secure connection across the internet and the private networks on either side.
The RMM system operates continually with the controller querying the devices on the client’s network for status reports. The information returned from this polling gets displayed as live performance data.
Network performance monitoring is usually based on the Simple Network Monitoring Protocol (SNMP). This is an industry-standard and all network devices, including switches and routers, are shipped from the vendor with an SNMP agent already installed. The system needs an SNMP manager to request status reports from agents. In a remote monitoring system, the manager relays commands and responses, communicating with the controlling software that is run by the MSP.
Apart from physical installation, the MSP can perform all of the functions required for IT asset management. This includes recording the age of each piece of equipment and comparing that to its expected service life. The network monitoring software in the RMM bundle will also be able to identify faulty equipment. While recording alerts from device agents., the monitor is able to tally the number of problems with a specific device. Once the frequency of those problems passes a threshold, it can be deemed that the device needs to be replaced.
The network discovery feature in the MSP toolbox provides source material for IT asset management and creates service reports that can be presented to the client as a bill attachment and during the monthly review. The network discovery facility should be able to log the brand, model, and age of each device. That enables the sales manager to advise where replacement equipment is needed.
The Atera PSA and RMM system is a huge cost saver and it also saves a lot of time in setup and maintenance. The system’s processors will set your MSP’s operating procedures and support all of the business’s activities. Atera is an easy-to-use MSP hacking tool that will save you time and money.
The best way to assess the suitability of Atera for your MSP is to take advantage of the free trial. Atera is a comprehensive MSP solution and you will recognize all of the functions that you have been looking through as you explore the system. It is only by getting access to the system that you can see for yourself that Atera includes all of the software that you will need to make your MSP successful.