The latest news and insights from the HarmonyPSA team

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Harmony v4.14: Dynamic checklists

In the old days you could check everything yourself. Life was busy, but at least you had the confidence from knowing the quality of work was up to your standards, because you either did it yourself, or used staff you knew who could do this stuff in their sleep.

But as your business grows, you find it harder and harder to be on top of every action. You’re hiring the best staff you can find, their CVs look great, their technical tests are fine, but the nagging doubt remains. Will they remember to check everything before they throw the virtual switch or will that site visit end with an irate customer on the phone, threatening to cancel?

Delegation is especially tough when it’s your business - doubly so when you used to do so much of the technical stuff yourself. With a business owner breathing down their necks, people get rushed, they get distracted, they forget things. It's human nature after all but it’s also your business!

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What data breaches and hurricanes have in common 

If it keeps on rainin' levee's goin' to break – Led Zeppelin

If you are any size of IT provider or MSP and someone asked you what happened at the customer’s site last month, or what services were performed for that customer, how long would it take you to generate a report that had that information, plus the costs of those services and the billing done to the customer? 

That’s a question which pops up when you’re trying to manage an IT services business and it’s not usually a question that has a sense of urgency attached to it. There is a change coming. Driven by the EU/UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the question of GDPR compliance has a lot to do with what services an IT provider or MSP is delivering and the evidence of ongoing compliance effort.

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4 advantages of B2B online invoicing

Are you still collecting payments for your services the traditional way, with printed and mailed, 30-day invoices? If so, we bet you’ll be glad to hear this:

You can actually save time, and get paid faster, with online invoicing—even if your business doesn’t have a website.   

Thanks to a fully integrated e-payments solution provided by BlueSnap, all Harmony users now have the ability to receive payments electronically, whether you have a website or not. And it all happens seamlessly within the software, so you won’t sacrifice any of the simplicity you love about HarmonyPSA.

An electronic B2B billing system benefits companies of all sizes. Keep reading for four reasons why online invoicing is good for your business—and why it might be time for you to change the way you do invoicing!  

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Mac security in the workplace

Steve Timmiss, director of Kaizen IT and a Harmony PSA customer, gives his advice on Mac security in the workplace.

Macs and PCs occupied different areas of the business IT market for many years. Macs were at the forefront of the desktop publishing revolution and bettered their PC counterparts in terms of colour accuracy and typography and early adoption of Adobe postscript, which made them popular with designers.

The rise of the Mac

In a bid to increase its market share, Apple employed a specific strategy to switch core elements of its macOS software and hardware, (notably its file system and processor) to become more compatible with PCs. This, combined with the rise of revolutionary but complementary Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad and BYOD strategies, has led to a significant rise in the number of macOS devices purchased across all business sectors.

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What to consider before signing a new MSP customer

Beware of customers signing MSP contracts

As an MSP or IT provider the best news in the world is when a customer asks you to “take care of all my IT and security for your regular monthly price.” The problem: what lurks on the workstations, in the server and perhaps even in the walls can be the key to security success or abysmal revenue failure. We have all done it. In the quest to get to recurring revenue we let our hard and fast standards and rules slip. That may be ok if it’s a small customer and you can afford to remediate through support tickets, or it can be a revenue pit-trap if it’s your largest opportunity yet!

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Is the UK’s tech sector missing out on R&D tax relief?

Mark Westwood, software Technical Analyst at R&D tax relief specialists Jumpstart, explains why UK technology companies should investigate their eligibility for R&D tax relief. Jumpstart runs its business on Harmony.

The UK’s technology sector is widely acknowledged as one of the fastest growing areas of the economy, with Prime Minister Theresa May describing it earlier this year as a "great British success story".

Despite the spectre of Brexit and its potential impact, investment in digital businesses rose across Britain last year according to the 2017 Tech Nation report. The report also revealed that the UK leads the way in Europe, attracting £28bn in technology investment since 2011, compared with £11bn in France and £9.3bn in Germany. 

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How to model channel sales correctly

CRM, Order management and billing systems are generally designed for a direct sales model where the lead, opportunity, quote, order and invoice only involves two counterparties: a seller and a buyer. Simple.

But what happens if you sell via a reseller, or an agent who is on commission? What are the data modelling and contract implications? How do you track who is who, how do you model the end customer in a way that your service desk system understands this properly?

So, let’s dive into the detail around these two behaviour models to understand the control system needs as a guide to buying the right solution.

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The Professional Services Automation (PSA) for incident responders

Customer security incidents can happen many different ways: from a lost or stolen device, ransomware attack or a data breach notification from a trusted third party. Frequently, the first point of contact will be the IT service provider’s or MSP’s customer facing helpdesk or onsite resource - the “something’s wrong” call can happen at any time. 

For the IT service provider and MSP front-line staff the pressure to follow the right process can be considerable, especially when the customer is in near hysterics. Just like police or fire paramedics responding to a call, information needs to be rapidly acquired, documented and an assessment made as to the appropriate response. Over-reaction can cause additional stress and a misallocation of resources. Under-reaction, and the IT service provider’s or MSP’s staff may be accused of “not caring” about the customer. In most cases, the front-line staff have a short period of time to determine the right course of action. 

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Adding the second “S” into MSP

Increasing focus across the industry in Security as a Service is a massive opportunity to MSPs providing they can tool and skill up fast enough to take advantage of this wave.

This should be straightforward; they have the devices and data under management; they know the customers; and they probably already offer a certain degree of IT security services bundled up with their managed services contracts. However, that doesn’t make them an MSSP and so still leaves their customers vulnerable not only to attack but also poaching by security consultants who are approaching this market from the other direction. Also watch out for MSPs who have already managed this transition.

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The benefits of automation

How annoying is it when you find yourself re-keying something, or worse, making a mistake and having to do it a third time?

Just as annoying is being forced by your PSA system to do something unnecessary in order to achieve something necessary.

Why do people write software that contains pointless clicks?

Well, they do it to achieve high degrees of functional re-usability, to keep down the cost of production, reduce complexity in the code: there are many sensible reasons. None of which make it any better when you seem to be wasting your life feeding information into a system all day that it should know already.

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