MSPs Can Create Recurring Revenue With Network Performance Monitoring Services

Matt McSweeneyBy Matt McSweeney

Changes to network infrastructure such as the addition of complex, IP-based services and critical applications delivered over new cloud infrastructures create efficiencies as well as challenges when managing performance. As new applications put bigger demands on the network, ongoing consistent performance of customers critical applications require a higher level of service delivery and quality assurance.

For a managed services provider (MSP), it is critical to assure this high level of application performance. In order to deliver this service assurance while developing new recurring revenue, they need deep insight into customers dynamic network infrastructure to resolve performance problems and easily answer key performance questions such as:

  • Is the customer getting what they’re paying for in bandwidth?
  • Are they over-/under-subscribed in bandwidth?
  • Who are their top talkers? Whos using the network for recreational purposes?
  • Is the client’s network prepared to handle the rollout of new voice, video and cloud services?

The ability to remotely and continuously monitor and troubleshoot a clients complex IP network not only keeps the customer happy, but it also provides the MSP with the opportunity for new, recurring revenue with each customer.

As MSPs build new services around performance monitoring, there are some key components to keep in mind:

  • They need to provide proactive monitoring of ongoing network performance; old-school, break-fix approaches to network management are no longer sufficient.
  • They need a tool to determine what is and isnt the MSPs responsibility when IP-based services crash, and ISPs, telcos and other providers start pointing fingers.
  • They need to monitor and validate meaningful service levels that reflect client end-user experience.

Below are four best practices for MSPs developing a robust and profitable new network performance monitoring service:

1. Baseline and Assess the Network. Before rolling out new applications on a customers network, verify network readiness. Proactive network assessments are a great way to highlight network issues, while showing customers the value of continuous network performance monitoring. For network health assessments, look for a solution that not only delivers comprehensive, point-in-time assessment reports, but also continuous assessments over a business cycle (e.g., seven to 14 days). This information can lead directly to a managed services discussion.

2. Continuously Monitor Network Performance. A 24/7 continuous monitoring service is important to assure ongoing performance and mitigate problems before they impact the customer and end users. Search out a performance management solution that makes it possible to give customers periodic (e.g., monthly) network usage reports that deliver valuable insight into who and what is consuming network bandwidth. Like a network assessment, this information can illuminate network issues while also presenting an ideal opportunity to discuss managed service options.

3. Validate and Report. A good way to guarantee continued revenue from customers is to show them when they arent getting their moneys worth from other suppliers. In order to do this, verify service level agreements (SLAs) for services such as bandwidth and manage demand on the customers network. A solution that benchmarks achievable, utilized, and availably capacity of the MSP’s network along with other metrics, such as data loss, latency and jitter, will allow them to advise customers on whether their SLAs are being met by other vendors.

4. Optimize and Proactively Troubleshoot. It is critical to conduct ongoing continuous monitoring to understand performance issues with proactive notifications. This will help pinpoint and correct ongoing and transient network issues before they have an impact on a customers business. To make this even easier on the MSP and their customer, a solution that regularly monitors and provides alerts on behavioral guidelines determined by the MSP should be used.

As customer networks continue to change, MSPs need to ensure they have a dynamic solution to quickly and effectively solve real problems in real-time, and identify ways to build recurring revenue around these services.

Matt McSweeney is vice president of sales at AppNeta, which provides SaaS solutions for delivery of business-critical applications.

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