As management of a company’s information technology system has shifted to third parties, you might notice the IT guy slipping in and out every so often.
Today, if you have seen less and less of that guy in your office, it could be that your managed service provider is using Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) and/or Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools to keep an eye on your network from their office.
Fellow blogger Contel Bradford wrote a few years ago about these tools, but RMM and other tools like it enable an MSP to automate lots of processes, keep software up-to-date, and alert the client of any issues proactively.
There are also still some IT providers who like to do onsite maintenance because it gives them more control in some ways, and because it’s just good for PR. In addition, it’s a lot better for creating relationships with clients if you can have someone onsite to go over things. It’s not like some magic IT wizard hiding in the background, but rather, a human being who handles IT.
To talk about the pros and cons of using RMM over actually going onsite, I corresponded with Richard Tubb, an MSP consultant who works with IT business owners to help them become more efficient. He regularly writes his own articles aimed at putting IT consultants back in control, and had this to say:
“[RMM tools give MSPs] the flexibility to perform a variety of tasks remotely, when appropriate. For instance, there are times when a client has a niggling issue that they want solved immediately without having to wait for an engineer to travel to them. The ability to remotely troubleshoot the client’s PC and then remediate the issue is powerful.”
Tubb also notes that there are advantages to not using them.
“The downside to having the power of an RMM tool is that it can become too simple to try to fix everything remotely,” he said. “It’s worth remembering that just because you can fix something remotely doesn’t mean you should.
“Never forget the power of meeting somebody in person. There are times when, as a former MSP owner myself, I sent engineers to a site to fix issues that could be resolved remotely. Why? It enabled the client to receive personal service and feel important.”
When researching this topic, it’s difficult to find a case for why onsite is better. A lot of articles talk about how RMM is a strategy for helping MSPs boost their business.
And, if you have done a search for either RMM or onsite monitoring, you will find that most companies do both, ultimately catering to whichever the client is more comfortable with.
Deciding on which to do seems pretty subjective. If your company needs to feel in control of its IT, onsite management is the way to go. If IT is more of a second thought, RMM or PSA tools will accomplish what you need and give you updates if you want them.