This article is part two of a four-part blog series that expands upon our recently released MSP’s Guide to IT Centralization eBook. Get your free copy today.
IT tool sprawl is an all-too-common issue for MSPs, particularly those who had to evolve their systems quickly to support clients through the pandemic. But in order to give your clients the most streamlined, efficient user experience possible, you need to be utilizing a top-of-the-line, all-in-one tech stack. IT centralization is the path to those efficiencies.
That may make sense in practice, but the actual act of centralization can feel daunting. That’s why we put together this series to explain the four steps to IT centralization. Last week, we covered step 1: identification. So now, let’s move on to step 2: incorporation.
What Is Incorporation?
In step 1, identification, we walked you through how to understand your current tech stack’s gaps, how to compare it to modern solutions, and how to compare solutions to one another. Now that you’ve decided on a new core, incorporation is all about integrating that core into your existing tech stack.
To clarify, assimilating your new core with your current stack’s gaps is actually a two-part process that takes up two steps in the centralization effort. Step 2, incorporation, is about using your new core to fill in your current gaps or address the most critical issues within your tech stack. In step 3, integration, you’ll expand the new core’s capabilities to also work alongside those systems around, but not directly within, your stack (like billing or people management platforms).
Incorporate Your Core to Fill in Gaps in 3 Easy Steps
Incorporation is perhaps the most satisfying part of centralization, because it’s when you get to see all your research and work begin to fortify your existing tech stack. Use these three simple steps to make sure your incorporation stage goes off without a hitch.
1: Train on the New Core and Incorporation
To ensure your MSP team is fully up-to-speed and confident working with the new core and solutions, first release it to a small test group. Have several team members pilot the new software and offer feedback and potential roadblocks or questions they encountered. This way, you can create training for your larger employee base that addresses those issues, and your team can be better prepared to serve your clients when they come with the same questions.
- Unroll the new product(s) to a small group of MSP employees. Use this group to gauge the overall mood of the changes and to see in real-time how much (or little) the new software will affect the end-user experience.
- Solicit feedback from the test group. Have your test group give their opinions on the usability of the new products, how much downtime clients should expect from the changes, and common questions that arose for them (both as admins and “clients”) during the transition.
- Use the test group results to proactively train your support teams. Compile the test group feedback into training materials and FAQs for your admins and customer success teams. Make sure they are proactively prepared to first, use the new software themselves, and second, answer the most common questions that arose during incorporation. Coming to the transition prepared will increase clients’ trust, and make for an easier experience for your employees, too.
2: Go “Live” with the New Core Internally
Once you’ve utilized your test group feedback to create internal training programs and materials, it’s time to go live with your new core within your organization. Expect this transition to take a few weeks for everyone to get used to using the new platforms and to get up to speed on its functionality.
Note that (while it’d be nice!) it’s not realistic to assume all employees will accept the transition easily or quickly. As your team gets onboarded, expect some team members to need more training or assistance to get comfortable (especially if they worked with the legacy tech stack for a long time).
After the set adoption period (and before you roll your new software out to your clients), solicit another round of questions and troubleshooting from your broader team. This gives you one more chance to plan for FAQs and contingencies, and be proactive about any potential stumbling blocks in the adoption.
3: Release the Updates to Clients
Depending on how you centralized your tech stack and what products you changed, your clients’ user experience may or may not change with the new release.
- If clients will have action items or new views: If your new core requires action on your clients’ end, it probably won’t be much. But they should still be informed in advance so they aren’t blind sighted by new login requests or push notifications.
Prepare them for minor inconveniences like having to re-enter their usernames and passwords by sending out proactive, educational emails explaining the exciting new upgrades to come. Ensure that you have extra support staff available for any troubleshooting that may need to occur so you can reduce downtime these upgrades may cause and keep the experience positive.
- If the client experience will not change: It’s still a good idea to send out a promotional type email, informing them that your tech stack is being modernized. First, this is a proactive approach in the event that they experience a new view or have to login to a new platform down the road. Second? It’s a great marketing opportunity for your MSP.
Position your IT centralization to clients as an upgrade that’ll increase your efficiencies so you can work harder for them. And If your strategy included upgrading to an open directory platform like JumpCloud, make sure you share the additional benefits your clients will enjoy with this change. Cloud-native platforms not only increase security, but make for painless future updates, since they can be remotely pushed to user devices.
Centralize Your Tech Stack with JumpCloud
Modern cloud directory platforms combine directory services, privileged account management, directory extensions, web app single sign-on (SSO), and multi-factor authentication (MFA) into one streamlined solution. They offer centralized privileged identities instantly mapped to IT resources like devices, applications, and networks, regardless of platform, provider, location, or protocol. They also leverage multiple protocols such as LDAP, RADIUS, SAML, and SCIM so IT admins can seamlessly provision and deprovision, while users have secure, frictionless access to their resources.
If you’re interested in learning more about implementing JumpCloud as part of your IT consolidation strategy, drop us a note. We’d love to chat about how you can use JumpCloud. Or, you can try it yourself by signing up for a free account. Your first 10 users and 10 systems are free. If you have any questions, access our in-app chat 24×7 during the first 10 days and a customer success engineer will be there to help.