MSPs come in all sizes, but regardless of the number of employees, there are tools that can help extend your effectiveness and increase your efficiency. You have to find tools that you can afford, and master. Automation can not only help make you more efficient, they can help your clients too.

You could start helping your clients automate rote tasks with robotics process automation tools (or RPA for short). This is a hot area right now, and it’s helping companies automate highly repetitive sets of tasks.

If your computing experience dates back to the 1990s, you probably remember macro tools, which allowed you to string together a series of tedious tasks and execute them with a single command. It was a real time-saver and freed you from boring, repetitive tasks.

Today, that concept has been updated, and you can capture a series of tasks on a screen or in workflow tool and it executes them for you. That could be something simple like copying the cost of an item from an invoice, entering that item in a spreadsheet, generating the invoice, and then emailing a human that the work was completed — or that it ran into an issue that requires human intervention.

Getting more complex

As you move on to capturing more complex actions, and move content through more sophisticated workflows, you can use tools like Zapier, Workato, or Tray.io. While these tools can handle more complex tasks, they still tend to be in reach of business users.

At the top of the food chain, you’ll find companies like Mulesoft, which Salesforce bought last year for $6.5 billion, SnapLogic, Dell Boomi, and Informatica. These solutions tend to be much more complex implementations involving moving data from legacy systems and mixing and matching modern applications with older ones.

The setup and management of these systems requires IT-level intervention and these are not intended for non-technical end users. The type of automation tool you choose for you customers is going to depend on their technology requirements, budget, and who they want to use these tools.

As an MSP, automation can help you and your clients do more with less, reduce tedium, and smooth out workflows inside an organization. It will be up to you to help guide your clients to the tools that make the most sense for them, and what they are trying to achieve with their automation goals.

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Photo:  ktsdesign / Shutterstock.

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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