Ahead of the Curve

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Still glowing after our silver Channel Elite Awards for Best Managed Services, Best Service Organization, and Best Enterprise Solution, we made our way to Orlando, Florida.  We attended the ConnectWise Partner Summit this week. This 3 day conference is an annual gathering of Elite Managed Services Providers from around the world.  Mike Dabner our Director of Managed Services, Vanessa Garner, our Managed Services and Professional Services Administrator, and I spent 3 days, discussing the latest trends, tools, and business processes with 1200 top notch peers from around the world.

It was interesting to analyze the backgrounds of our peers.  It seems out of the 90 or so big players that I had deeper discussions with, the vast majority were break/fix or dispatch support companies that had evolved into managed service providers.  The remainders—including IT Weapons—were consulting companies that have added Managed Services to their portfolio.  This puts us in an immediate and increasingly advantageous position. Our focus on TCO over the past 10 years (and 20 for me) has kept us business-centric; understanding that every process (or lack thereof) costs money.

We found that a common issue for our peers in Orlando was cost control. They all seem to be learning the hard way about standards, process development after the fact, automation, tools, and utilities.  All these things require investment…  A lot of investment.  To cheap-out up front and set your MSP pricing based accordingly…You’re asking for 2 black eyes later when you come around to implementing these things and you end up raising your prices.

Measure twice, cut once, right?

Anyway, I also noted that plenty of our MSP peers started their Managed Services practice with desktop, helpdesk, and server support located at customer sites. Less than 10 of them seem to realize that this philosophy is going the way of the dodo bird. For me, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that centralized, offsite, outsourced, HaaS/SaaS/IaaS, or Cloud-based infrastructure is going to dominate the IT industry.  And for most of our peers, it’s going to be a VERY uphill battle to shift to a Cloud model.

When we were flying to Orlando, I was excited to hear about what the ‘big players’ were doing… But, after talking with them I realized we are very much in the top 10%, and we are definitely leaders in Canada.  Our job now is honing and optimizing.  It’s nice to be ahead of the curve.

This year will see IT Weapons adding a Data Recovery Centre, a 2nd Alternate Workspace, training and conference space, lab space, and a big helpdesk expansion.  With the new office in the works, we have room to spread our wings and realize all the ideas we have been holding back on.  It’s a very exciting year…

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