SkyKick Cloud Manager

Cloud automation and the MSP help desk

State of the Cloud

The rise of the Cloud has been great for SMB users. Choice, flexibility, cost savings – what is not to love! But if you are an IT services provider, the proliferation of new apps and services has created an unprecedented level of VOLUME and COMPLEXITY. More customers means more apps to manage, that one is obvious. Beyond volume, MSPs often lament the increased complexity of supporting customers in the cloud.

An average SMB could be using as many as 30 different SaaS apps, each with its own management interface and approach. Then there’s seemingly joined-up offerings like Office 365 that in reality involves as many as 12 different administrative portals. Against the backdrop of increased volume and complexity – and without enough cloud automation – MSPs find themselves stretched thin, as customer expectations and security threats rise.

Automating the MSP help desk

A small, 5-employee, MSP operation can spend over 2,000 hours a year on just reactive support. Even armed with a lofty toolkit of PSA, RMM, Documentation Checklists, vendor portal hopping, and more – technicians struggle to reduce escalations and improve customer experience.

In fact, industry research tells us that only 54% of incoming cloud support tickets are resolved at the Tier-1 level – resulting in costly escalations and unhappy customers half of the time. Some customers experience 3.5 hops in the help desk before reaching a resolution. As troubling as these observations are, they are just the symptoms of an even deeper problem MSPs face– a lack of adequate and appropriate cloud automation solutions.

Cloud Manager Automation Creating automation is hard – It is difficult to create workflow automation today. Fewer than 20% of MSP employees are proficient in PowerShell -and even those who are good at it find that PowerShell automation is generally limited to Microsoft. Which of course we know, customers today use tons of SaaS apps beyond Microsoft.
Cloud Manager Automation Using automation is hard – But by far, the biggest problem with automation today is that it misses the mark on truly helping Tier 1. When automation involves complex PowerShell scripts and command line parameters, the Help Desk CANNOT rely on these safely & consistently – which defeats the purpose automation.

The result, pressure builds across margins, security and customer experience. According to a SkyKick study of over 500 MSPs, the bottom 25% of Microsoft Cloud partners are making as little as 7% margins. There is NO room for error and inefficiency.

Cloud Manager – How it works

In our quest to make cloud automation helpful for MSPs, we felt that fitting the pieces of the puzzle together was similar to treating an organ in the human body – treating one organ affects the entire body. With that mindset and based on lots of Partner research, we arrived at 6 INTERCONNECTED features that MSPs need from a cloud automation solution, with in Cloud Manager.

Command Center COMMAND CENTER – At the center of Cloud Manager is an intuitive, user-friendly application called the Command Center -where your Tier-1 helpdesk can feel right at home managing customers, users and performing common Cloud Admin tasks independently. Users can perform any admin task for any customer, across various cloud services – all within in a single pane of glass. This is where the Help Desk crushes tickets, reduces escalations and delights customers with point-and-click simplicity. We worked with IT providers to identify 400+ of the most commonly repeated scenarios across Office 365, Teams, and more to make them available to use from the get go. No more endless browsers, creds and portal hops – just a faster path and happier customers. Click-click-done, all backed by a robust, automated tracking and audit logs to stay on top of what the team is working on.
 WorkBench WORKBENCH – With Cloud Manager, our goal was to radically simplify the CREATION of workflow automation – enter WorkBench. With a curated library of over 8000 (and growing) PowerShell template commands across Microsoft, Azure, Slack, GSuite and more, admins have a head start in creating automation. Whether building on these templates or on top of your own scripts, WorkBench offers admins a connected development environment to more efficiently turn PowerShell into a point-and-click application for their help desk team. A unique publication process takes complex PowerShell workflow automations and turns them into a graphical and forms-based “app” that goes right into the Command Center – which the help desk can reuse with confidence.
Security SECURITY – There is no doubt that MSPs are the new vector of attack in Cybersecurity. Cloud Manager eliminates the dangerous sharing of administrative credentials by using a secure token-based authentication model. Further, it offers strong audit and reporting capabilities that strengthen security and advance compliance. Finally, the product offers a suite of scripts and tools to easily offer security services like Assessments and Remediation to your customers, some of which can generate new revenues.
Reporting REPORTING & INSIGHTS – Strong logging and reporting is available, both natively in the tool and through a PowerBI extension. Get a unified view of your team, services, and customers to make informed, data-driven decisions.
CloudConnect CLOUDCONNECT – Providers tell us that 70-80% of their customers are moving to Hybrid and not just 100% cloud. We enable this with CloudConnect – a serverless IoT architecture that is more secure than RMM-style desk agents. based on old client-server technology. Seamlessly manage hybrid solutions within a single application.
Connector Engine CONNECTOR ENGINE – IT providers want to be able to manage all their Cloud Services – in Microsoft and other SaaS, within a single-pane of glass. Connector Engine is the glue that unifies all these services for centralized management and automation.

When you put the pieces together, early adopting partners report that Cloud Manager is the solution that helps them automate their Cloud Operations more effectively.

“That’s where Cloud Manager comes in. It enables us to empower the Help Desk with automation that is easily packaged for them to execute. And because the Help Desk doesn’t need to log in and out of portals and everything is automatically captured in the audit log, Cloud Manager significantly reduces the workload on the Help Desk and the number of escalations. And of course, all of this results in a better support experience for our customers.”

– Shane Monty, Bang Industries – a Present Company

For more video information, visit our Cloud Manager On-Demand Gallery. Here you’ll find several short, easy to consume, videos covering all you need to know about Cloud Manager.

Start your FREE trial of Cloud Manager

Interested in seeing how Cloud Manager can benefit your business? SkyKick is offering a free trial of Cloud Manager for registered SkyKick Partners. Take advantage by simply logging in to the SkyKick Partner Portal and navigating to Cloud Manager, then click on the ‘Activate Trial’ button.