One of the recurrent challenges facing small to very small MSPs, is what services to offer. Some services, e.g. providing on-site break/fix across 6 continents with a 1 hour turnaround to the Fortune 10, are obviously a stretch (although it can be done in an economical fashion with the use of subcontractors and/or partners). You can also get the best MSP marketing service through various online sources.
Other services such as providing MS Exchange email services, are obviously no brainer. So, how do we know what to offer?
One way is to look through the IT department in our own company, to see what services we provide to the enterprise. Many MSPs start out in a different line of business, such as an ASP, or a CRM/ERP software vendor.
Having the skills and resources needed to run these services internally, shrewd IT departments may decide to lower the internal cost structure of their operations by performing limited services for their existing clients, often at the behest of the client.
Later, further motivation to continue to expand these service offerings is demonstrated by a strategy of transforming IT from a cost center into a profit center.
As we look around, we notice common internal services that we may perform quite well, but actually are resource intensive. For instance:
1. Service Desk. In an ITIL compliant environment (you are ITIL compliant aren't you?), the Service Desk is the center of the universe. Most of your clients face almost insurmountable challenges in operating their Service/Help Desk smoothly, mostly due to internal politics and lack of maturing processes.
2. Desktop build and restore. As part of an organization directly responsible to external clients for providing a product such as software or advice, one of our competitive advantages is the flexibility of our personnel.