Managed service providers (MSPs) can seem like a dime a dozen. There's one around every corner, and it can be tricky for businesses to know which qualities to look for. Some look to distinguish themselves on price, or on the services offered, but UTG is out to distinguish itself down to its very DNA. We discovered, through our own growth, that IT departments could truly become growth centers for their businesses. Our story started with our own need for improvement.
Asking for help
UTG wasn't always the close-fitting match for its customers it is today. Back in 2015, we set up plans to start growing as an MSP, and turned to Service Leadership for consultation on how to improve our business and better fit our customers' needs.
Since Service Leadership is specifically geared toward improving MSP performance—it even has its own test, SLIQ, to assess an MSP's current operations—it was especially well-suited to giving us the hand up we needed to become a leader in the field. Our co-founders, Eric Dykes and Brian Miller, put particular focus into Service Leadership's teachings on Operational Maturity Levels (OMLs), and discovered that there was a lot of data connecting OMLs to our own current operating behaviors as an MSP, but also the behaviors of IT departments.
In fact, Dykes and Miller ultimately realized that MSPs were a lot like corporate IT departments. Thus, UTG developed its internal mission: to leverage OMLs and technology to help IT departments—and by extension the businesses that contain them—improve bottom line growth.
Closing the Perception / Expectation Gap
In order to understand more of the IT departments that we work with, we had to adjust our own operations. In doing so, we knew we'd produce outcomes that were closer to those that IT departments needed. One of the major issues we spotted with IT departments is the gap between the executive level and the IT level itself. The C-level has expectations and perceptions of the IT department that simply aren't realistic much of the time.
Modify perception of gaps.
There are always gaps in perceptions, particularly when it comes to issues of cost and growth. Gaps between executive teams and IT departments are no different, especially as the tightly-focused IT department needs to relate to the broader-focused executive team. By addressing these gaps in perception, we are able to better relate the needs of the IT departments to the expectations of the executive team.
Find a relationship between gaps and OML.
As we learned more about OMLs and how they worked, not just in our own business but in those of others, we saw a correlation: The lower the OML, the larger the gap was between perception and expectation. Improving OML, therefore, allows a narrowing of the gap to the point where cohesiveness between the executive and IT arms is easier.
Making Our Difference Clear
In realizing the connection between OMLs and IT departments, we can provide several major benefits that other MSPs can't.
By focusing on OMLs, we can help IT departments become profit centers rather than cost centers. By being better equipped to show their value, IT departments stop being “money pits” and start being the key to productivity and profitability.
Making IT a strategic resource.
We all know that IT departments are valuable assets to their companies, but it's not always easy to show return on investment. IT functions are vital, but are really only contributory; IT keeps all the computers running, but how much of that is valid on any one day? We can help underscore IT's importance as a strategic resources by demonstrating how IT's objectives mesh with the overall company's.
The Ultimate UTG Difference In MSP Operations
Some here might think that what's been done is really nothing more than a Quarterly Business Review. These are fairly common practice among IT departments, but our difference goes well beyond the quarterly review.
A broader focus.
We generate what's called a Strategic Business Plan (SBP), which helps illustrate not only the larger company's plan, but how IT departments help make that plan come about. The SBP addresses the initial goals for the IT department, but also the overall business objectives, as well as the culture in which that business operates.
A thought for tomorrow.
Our SBPs are also forward-thinking. While they include a look at the previous quarter, this is used mainly to establish a baseline for jumping off into what next quarter, the rest of the fiscal year, and even beyond should look like.
A focus on OML.
We've already seen here how OMLs have shaped our approach to providing services, but it actually goes deeper than that. By focusing on OMLs, UTG can demonstrate how an IT department's productivity increases, how that relates to “Soft Skill ROI,” and how that connects to the organization's overall mission and operations. UTG's OML focus takes IT from being a cost of doing business to a valuable, profitable arm of the overall business.
How You Can Get Started Working With UTG
UTG is different from the rest of the market, and from the ground up. Whether it's our overall mission, our lineup of services, or our deep understanding of your needs as an IT department, we've specifically built our operation to address your needs. When you're ready to work with an MSP that understands you so well that it spent three years specifically tooling its operation to be exactly what you needed, then you're ready to drop us a line and get started.