How DevOps Integration Can Drive Remarkable Success for MSPs and Clients
The managed services provider (MSP) industry is rapidly evolving. MSPs need to keep up to stay competitive. They need to give great service too. MSPs should use new methods like DevOps.
Using DevOps can help MSPs in big ways. It can help them streamline their work. It can help them be more efficient. It can help them and their customers succeed more.
The Pressures Facing MSPs Today
MSPs face immense pressure to optimize service delivery as margins tighten. At the same time, end-user expectations continue to rise. Customers want predictability, transparency, and rapid response times when issues arise. Unfortunately, traditional service delivery models make it hard for MSPs to meet demands.
Legacy systems and processes of working cause teams to be separated. This makes it hard to work together. It also slows down service. Manually passing work between teams wastes time and leads to errors.
These problems lead to slow fixes. Customers can’t see what’s happening. This frustrates customers.
To satisfy customers and remain profitable, MSPs need new ways. This includes leveraging DevOps practices and updating their MSP software to eliminate impediments that hamper service efficiency. These changes are really important. They help teams work better together. They help improve ways of working. This helps meet what customers want as things change.
How DevOps Integration Helps MSPs Succeed
DevOps originated in software development circles, but the same principles apply to managed services. Integrating DevOps helps MSPs:
- Break down silos between teams like service desk, NOC, engineering, etc.
- Automate manual efforts to speed up service delivery.
- Standardize workflows using playbooks and documentation.
- Leverage event-driven automation versus schedule-based.
- Centralize data across tools and teams.
- Provide real-time insights into service performance.
- Quickly pinpoint the root cause of issues.
- Share progress updates with customers.
- Foster a culture of shared responsibility for service delivery.
- Develop consistent workflows across delivery teams.
- Encourage cross-functional skill development.
- Institute blameless retrospectives.
Enhance Client Experience
- Deliver consistent and predictable services.
- Resolve tickets and requests faster.
- Provide full transparency into services.
- Make it easy for clients to do business.
Data Source: Totemo
By integrating these DevOps practices, MSPs gain the agility, efficiency, and collaboration needed to simplify IT management for their customers.
DevOps Best Practices for MSPs
Adopting DevOps requires both technological and cultural changes. Here are some best practices MSPs should consider:
Leverage DevOps-centric Tools
- Platforms like ServiceNow, Jira, and GitHub to break down silos.
- Automation tools like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet to standardize configurations.
- Monitoring tools with event management workflows.
Promote Shared Ownership of Services
- Foster a culture of collective responsibility between teams.
- Develop consistent workflows across the service desk, NOC, engineering, etc.
Automate Manual Efforts
- Script repeatable processes like server builds, network configs, etc.
- Use workflow automation tools like Runbooks, Orchestrator, and PowerShell.
Standardize Document Processes
- Create knowledge-based articles and playbooks for tasks.
- Catalog configurations, manuals, and procedures.
- Make documentation easily accessible.
Take a Platform Approach
- Integrate tools into a centralized platform like a PSA.
- Eliminate fragmented data across disparate systems.
- Create a single source of truth.
Provide Full Transparency
- Give clients access to ticketing, monitoring, and reporting.
- Send proactive updates on issues and changes.
- Perform regular business reviews.
Adopt Agile Methodologies
- Utilize sprints, retrospectives, and daily standups.
- Gather continuous feedback from clients.
- Iterate processes frequently.
While these represent common focal points, each MSP’s DevOps integration will be unique. MSPs should start small, run pilot projects, and expand over time.
DevOps Success Stories From MSPs
Many forward-thinking MSPs have already embraced DevOps with stellar results:
- Kaseya reduced service disruptions by 90% using DevOps practices. Outages due to change fell from 4+ hours to just 20 minutes.
- Technologent cut deployment times from 4 weeks to 2 hours by implementing infrastructure-as-code and automation.
- Naverisk increased deployment frequency from monthly to multiple times per day by implementing CI/CD pipelines.
- ClearCenter rolled back recovery time from outages from 1 hour to under 5 minutes using DevOps workflows.
- Mindtree improved incident response efficiency by 45% and reduced deployment errors by 62% after integrating DevOps.
These examples showcase that DevOps delivers major operational improvements for MSPs of all sizes. By removing inefficiencies, MSPs can get services delivered faster and more reliably.
Getting Started With DevOps as an MSP
Transitioning fully to DevOps takes time but MSPs can achieve quick wins by starting with a few focus areas:
Pick a Starting Point
- Identify a bottleneck process causing delays or errors.
- Start small by applying DevOps to that localized issue.
Pilot with a Client
- Choose a willing long-term client to pilot new workflows.
- Gather feedback to improve processes.
- Refine before expanding to other clients.
Automate Manual Tasks
- Examine daily repetitive processes that are manual.
- Script and automate those tasks first.
- Catalog standards for configurations and operations.
- Create knowledge-based articles and playbooks.
- Make documentation readily available.
- Implement more robust monitoring and reporting.
- Provide transparency to clients with dashboards or self-service.
By using DevOps techniques, MSPs can remove roadblocks and transform service delivery. Clients will benefit through expanded transparency, improved reliability, and faster issue resolution.
What are the main benefits of DevOps for MSPs?
DevOps improves collaboration, standardizes processes, and increases automation. This streamlines service delivery drives efficiency, and enhances customer satisfaction.
Does DevOps require major investment in new tools?
DevOps is more about workflows and culture than specific tools. Start by improving processes with your existing toolset before acquiring new tools.
How long does a DevOps transformation take?
It’s an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. Results can be seen in weeks or months by starting small and expanding iteratively. Expect the evolution to continue for years.
What are signs that an MSP would benefit from DevOps?
Indicators like poor cross-team collaboration, slow service delivery, lack of documentation, and manual processes. There are also outages due to change.
How can MSPs convince hesitant clients to try DevOps workflows?
Start small with a pilot focused on improvements that reduce pain points for that client. Once they see the benefits firsthand, they will be more receptive.
Integrating DevOps helps MSPs improve how they deliver services. It helps them make customers happier and earn more money. DevOps lets MSPs work better as a team. It helps them use technology smarter. This makes things work more smoothly for customers. It also makes the MSP run better.
MSPs should look at what they do today. They need to find ways to make things better. Start small by fixing one problem at a time. Automate work that is done manually. Improve how tasks are documented. Give customers more visibility. Make sure teams collaborate better. If MSPs keep at it, DevOps will improve all parts of their business.
Examples show DevOps helps MSPs of all sizes. MSPs need DevOps to stay competitive. They should use it before others do. Customers will see the benefits. They will reward MSPs who use DevOps. MSPs who are ready to improve should use DevOps frameworks. Integrating DevOps leads to real success.