The Liability of Break/Fix Clients
I’ve been getting a lot of new MSPs calling and asking about the tricks of the trade, general market conditions, and how best to avoid the pitfalls of past MSP mistakes. It got me thinking about what new MSPs are facing compared to 20 years ago.
Early MSP Years
For early MSPs, the challenge was convincing customers of the advantages of outsourcing IT management. Convincing clients they need to take care of IT assets is difficult, let alone getting the client to understand that outsourcing IT management to an MSP is better than doing it internally with limited resources and talent.
The early MSPs had a lot of difficulties overcoming the general lack of knowledge surrounding IT management. Twenty years ago, there was a much different perspective on the value of IT in a corporate environment.
The customer of today is very different from even ten years ago. Data breaches, regulation, and overall reliance on operational IT are all compelling motivators for managing IT assets.
We are faced with imminent threats to the IT environment. Customers now have few viable options for how to tend to their IT resources, with managed services an ever increasingly appealing option.
Modern Break/Fix Clients
For companies contemplating entering the managed services profession, I would have the following advice: what is the risk to your business of keeping break/fix customers? I would argue that there is a huge risk to your company and reputation due to the inherently unsafe manner in which break/fix customers operate their IT.
Now, I am making some assumptions here but follow my logic. If a client primarily relies on an MSP for their IT management, and that management is transacted mainly in a break/fix or reactive manner, then there is probably a lot going on in that customer environment that is not good. Just the nature of reactive IT management means that necessary and beneficial maintenance is not taking place promptly.
Data breaches, data not being backed up, patches not deployed, inefficiencies in the IT resources, devices not functioning correctly, these are just a few of the many and likely problems which can occur from a reactive or break/fix IT model.
If your concern is whether there is a future in managed services, we’ve dealt with that plenty on this website. I think the future of managed services is quite sound.
A separate and better question is whether your existing break/fix customers could be presenting your business with more risk than you realize. Ask yourself this question: is there a future in break/fix?