Managed Services Provider Innovation of the Year
Virtuoso implemented an innovative self-service portal to engage their customers in a unique way, replacing their client-side ticketing application with a feature-rich, cloud hosted and centralised IT support resource bringing tangible benefits both to customers and their own Managed Service offering.
As a fresh thinking MSP we are always looking for innovative ways to deliver our services to our customers in a way that provides them with as much value as possible. Like other MSP’s we use management tools for various aspects of our service delivery, but we found that as we began developing our focus - placing the Microsoft Cloud at the centre of our value proposition - we found that our existing tools were lacking in the cohesiveness of the vision we wanted to deliver.
We wanted to engage our customers in a unique way, using our knowledge and experience to help them feel part of an integrated partnership, working together with us. Our existing client-side application allowed users to raise and track tickets as well as some other basic service requests, but it was very limited and provided a solution that had a function rather than adding value to the managed service being provided. We wanted to offer something that was a more intelligent solution. Our aim was to provide a portal that better integrated with the growing number of Office 365 users within our customer base and we have been able to develop a portal that achieved and subsequently exceeded our initial aims. We call this portal Hub 365.
We were attracted by the opportunity to develop a platform that could provide exactly what we wanted to deliver to our customers. This meant we have been able to have a great amount of input into shaping its development to achieve our initial aims and also plan future offerings to our customer service. It has enabled us to provide our customers with a suite of tools, fully integrated with Office 365, that helps them access more of their IT services in a more effective way. We believe it is a unique offering in MSP service delivery and is providing great value to the customer experience.
We can now provide our customers users with features such as a knowledge base, messaging portal, Office 365 status page, service catalogue and University, all customisable and available straight from within the Hub 365 interface. For Administrators there is even more functionality as we are able to provide them with a much richer offering that will give them clear and simple access to their IT infrastructure enabling them to manage and control their IT assets, keeping them informed about usage, application, and compliance or user issues that they may want to address.
Administrators can manage domains, endpoints, servers, and software, and are able to monitor adoption of Microsoft 365 products and provide licence and user management. They can view security information such as data breaches, backup status, email usage and login data. The Compliance area provides information on policies, service reports and training and the Account Management section is where administrators can track quotes and invoices. To have all of this information within easy reach makes managing IT on any level easy and simple for our customers. We can also tailor the level of information and features to match the level of technical interaction the customer wishes to have ensuring the interface is meeting their needs.
In terms of challenges to the implementation of this new solution, the main one we faced was the logistical aspect of replacing desktop agents on all our customers devices. This required organisation and interaction from the service desk to ensure this happened as smoothly as possible. It can be difficult for customers to recognise the benefits of a new solution from their provider and disrupting customers work can negatively impact what you are doing as a service provider. We knew it was important to minimise this and were able to do so with careful planning, engagement with our primary contacts and thorough education for the service desk. We were able to successfully remove the existing application and deploy Hub 365 to all our customers smoothly with no disruption to users’ devices.
As well as the benefits in offering a feature-rich custom portal to our customers Hub 365 allows us as a service provider to provide a route to educate users on their IT, minimising dependencies on the service desk for basic knowledge and provide a way to access services and software easily and intelligently. It allows us to have much more educated conversations with our customers during the Quarterly Business Review process, as this information is presented in a way they can understand. We can talk more technically about our service offerings while not burying it away in technical back ends and complicated language. As the Microsoft Cloud is fundamental to our proposition being able to integrate directly with Microsoft 365 puts information and control in the hands of our customers without bogging them down in complicated reports, admin portals or technical interfaces. We can provide users to different levels of content depending on their requirements and everything is all in one place.
One big benefit for us as a service provider has been to offer an online Service Catalogue through Hub 365. This again is customisable on a per customer basis and allows us to offer Microsoft 365 licencing, hardware, software and other services such as user onboarding with just one click. The portal provides a Service Catalogue storefront that automates the request and approval process. This is obviously a great benefit to our customers users but as a service provider it’s a great opportunity to maximise revenue potential from the services our customers need.
Another real tangible benefit for us as an organisation was the ability to implement Hub 365 as our company intranet. Alongside the aforementioned service portal there is provision for additional functionality such as cloud application access, a company directory and a knowledge base. Hub 365 therefore provides a central point for all our company services. We are also able to host product and internal training courses. Being able to host content such as Information Security Awareness Training enables us to save costs on separate Learning Platform provision. We have created a “How Do I?” section for frequently used processes and tasks and our Policies and Process documentation is now hosted and managed directly within the Hub 365 platform. All this information and services are now easily accessible and easily updated with clear visibility for the whole organisation and of course we can implement these features for our customers as well.
In replacing our existing client portal with Hub 365 we have moved from an application with just ticket management and service request functionality to a fully Microsoft 365 integrated portal offering a unique experience to our Managed Service customers. We can provide a complete suite of tools that are designed to help our customers work better, smarter and able to take full advantage of Office 365 and other cloud-based applications. Our customers can now have more input and control on the ways they use their IT assets enabling them to flag usage, application, compliance or user issues that they want addressed. Particularly important is the enhancement to security management that provides more insight into where data is stored, how it’s protected, who has access and what levels of security are in place for its protection. Also being able to centralise our internal platforms in one place along with all the service aspects mentioned above has brought a real cohesiveness to our internal organisation.
As an innovative company we have developed a unique solution to providing an enhanced managed service offering that brings our customers closer to our core niche of harnessing the power of the Microsoft Cloud.