People hate change. For one thing, people are often confronted with change abruptly and without warning. They are forced to cope with change with no preparation and often resent the new way of doing things. In the world of technology, change is constant and users need to deal with change frequently. As an MSP, you are responsible for helping your clients manage change and successfully transition them to new solutions when necessary.
The NFL knows how to properly manage change. There is a reason that the NFL draft happens in May and the season (now) starts in August. Drafted players must endure physical preparation, learn a new playbook and adjust to new teammates. Without the appropriate amount of time to transition to the pros, players’ weaknesses will show through and they very well could fail.
It takes three months for a newly drafted NFL player to transition smoothly and enter the league equipped and ready to win. While I am not suggesting that the transition between software solutions is as physically or mentally demanding as entering professional sports, one theme runs true – it will take a good plan and the right amount of time to securely transition your client to their new solution. Here are a few steps you can take to make for a seamless transition:
1. Communicate early with your client.
Communicating and coordinating this effort with your client is an essential piece of the transition. Be sure to outline the reasons for the new change and what that means to them. In most cases, they will not notice a change in their daily routine, which is great! Clients like to be informed, and communicating why this is important to their business further validates the services that you provide to them on a monthly basis.
2. Design the plan. Execute.
Part of the communication to the client should include a clear plan to execute the transition to the new solution. Work with the client to find the ideal transition time so as not to disrupt their business and include an outline of all technical requirements of the project, expected timeline and any pricing or cost change.
3. Minimize the transition timeline.
Most backup software (including Gillware’s) runs independently of other backup solutions, therefore, not disturbing either backup’s success. This could mean that the client would be paying for both solutions. Mapping out the time it will take to a 100% backup on the new product will help gauge how much, if any, extra cost to the client.
4. Report the successful transition.
Upon completion of the project, it is time to show your client that they are fully on board with the new backup solution and all of their data has been backed up properly. Lastly, be sure to communicate how you will report the success of their backups as a part of their managed service.
Changing your customers over to a solution that has a greater long term benefit for you as the managed service provider and for your clients is the right way to do business. Clear communication and execution strategy will allow for a transition that will be seamless for the customer and leave them thinking of you as the MVP of IT.
EDIT: As of September 2016, Gillware Online Backup has been acquired by StorageCraft. Click here to learn more about their backup solutions. Click here to learn more about becoming a StorageCraft Partner.