From Custom to Turnkey – Turning Your Solution into an IP

Close-up of worker putting a box on conveyor belt for shipping

As a managed service provider (MSP), the task of creating a productized Intellectual Property (IP) solution seems daunting, but have you considered looking at solutions you’ve already built? More times than not, a problem you solved for one customer, may be the same problem another customer is facing. By looking back at past solutions, you can take it from a custom solution to a turnkey solution that you can offer.

Your IP can be a simple template or a few lines of code that automate a function your target market typically needs. If you don’t want to create your own IP, you can also look to the partner ecosystem for incremental solutions that can be bundled with current Microsoft offerings to round out your total solution.

Here are 4 simple steps to build an IP packaged offer that can differentiate you among your competitors and expedite customer engagement in the buying journey.

1. Start with a Foundation
The foundation of your IP package can be as simple as reselling Microsoft’s services that are pertinent to your customers’ needs and requirements. Think about your customers and the core services that you usually sell to them.

For example, if you are building a productivity package, your standard offer would start with Office 365 Business and other related Microsoft services, such as Office Pro Plus, Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams.

2. Package Your Offer
There are two different ways to package your offer: leverage your existing expertise in consultancy, onboarding services, and workflow automation OR find a partnership that allows you to white-label a new solution and bundle it with existing services.

For example, after choosing the core Microsoft products for your productivity package, you can round out your offer by adding more services:

  • Project-based offerings:
    • Cloud readiness assessment
    • Migration and configuration of mail and documents
    • Disaster recovery assessment
    • Back up assessment (critical and non-critical)
  • On-going managed services:
    • 24/7 end-user helpdesk for Office 365
    • Office 365 analytics
    • User management, compliance, and auditing

You might also look to the Microsoft partner ecosystem and find an incremental solution for the productivity suite you’re developing. A good match in this scenario would be combining Office 365 and SharePoint Online with a full desktop or line of business application solution.

3. Finish with a Specialization 
Once you have developed a full packaged offer, it is recommended that you specialize by vertical, functional process, or technology. Each specialization would require a different setup and a unique set of business applications and industry compliance.

Some examples of specialization include:

  • Vertical specialization: healthcare, manufacturing, restaurant, retail, banking
  • Functional process specialization: accounting, human resources, sales and marketing
  • Technology specialization: system management, analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP)

Establish your company as an expert or thought leader in certain areas. You can also focus on a specific technology or be known as an early adopter and technology leader. Then, adding IP to a vertical or business process makes that advantage even more powerful.

4. Move to Offer-Based Selling
Shopping for IT solutions has changed dramatically in the last few years. In the past, companies would come directly to the MSP with a specific need, and you would customize the solution based on their needs. Now, most customers are shopping for IT solutions online and making significant decisions before they even talk to you. Customers have started to educate themselves about a product before ever reaching out to the company. This means they are much further along in their buyer journey when they get to you.

To turn a lead into a qualified prospect, you must have a well-defined solution ready, or otherwise, the customer will keep searching and gravitate towards vendors that do provide an offer that meets his or her needs. Therefore, MSPs are facing a transition from demand-based approach to offer-based selling. By having your solution offer packaged in advance, you can meet your customers’ needs immediately or with minimal adjustment.

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