MSP 501 ‘MSP of the Year’ Finalist Pioneer-360 on Necessary Pivots and Evolving One’s Business Model
CEO and founder Joe McCartney talks about anticipating client needs and making difficult, but necessary, shifts.
The award for MSP of the Year works a little differently from the other special 501 awards. These shops demonstrate a willingness to take risks and pivot when necessary. They exhibit a deep familiarity with the MSP market and willingness to consider a business model evolution. These two characteristics are critical to channel companies looking to stay ahead of the curve, and Pioneer-360 has them in spades.
These special awards are part of the 2020 MSP 501. We narrowed the field of contenders down to three finalists that we feel represent the modern channel and display excellence in business efficiency and business model innovation.
This essentially means these folks have the nimbleness to pivot to meet industry trends, the guts to make risky moves today to position the business for tomorrow and the discipline to structure operations to achieve maximum efficiency in service delivery.
We sat down with CEO and founder Joe McCartney to chat about Pioneer-360’s business model evolution, and how the company has weathered the roller coaster that has been 2020.
For starters, the pioneering provider has a pretty robust business model. It’s a model it has grown and evolved to reflect industry dynamics, customer needs and emerging tech trends.
“In the last several years, we have seen a push for companies needing more security and more structural organization for IT compliances,” said McCartney. “Once we started to truly understand compliance, we realized that there was a gap of doing best practices versus security versus compliance. These are not always synonymous, but when orchestrated together and properly, efficiency and stability increase along with overall security.”
Compliance, My Dear Watson
Many of Pioneer-360’s clients are heavily steeped in regulatory compliance. Previous MSPs had somewhat glossed over this aspect. It was here that Pioneer-360 saw a wedge in the door.
“Many of our clients are compliance/regulated to the highest degree, which of course creates a bit of a headache,” said McCartney. “Many of the organizations we entered into a contract with — their previous MSPs were doing the IT, but kept clear of the regulatory and compliance aspect. That puts the true IT burden on the back of the client, which is not what you want. We recognized this as an opportunity and jumped on it.”
Pioneer-360 was able to anticipate its clients’ needs before the regulatory changes occurred, and was able to implement them before their audits. They did this by creating what Pioneer calls “The Calm.”
“Anyone can do the IT portion, but if you’re not tackling the other headaches that IT creates, you’re not advancing your organization forward,” McCartney continued. “We are currently working toward our Soc2 Type 2 certification, understanding that we are an extension of our clients. Based on recent breaches by large scale MSPs, the auditors are only a click away from knocking on our doors, so our goal is to get ahead of that.”
Business Model Evolution
It’s not always easy to see the writing on the wall when it comes to evolving one’s business model. Pioneer-360 saw the need to evolve about five years ago with the advent of cryptocurrency.
“About five years ago, our eyes were opened to the true evolution and growth of crypto and its devastating effects on business,” said McCartney. “We basically took the stance of, “if this happens to us (our clients) we would not survive the fallout.” So we dug in, fortified our stack, re-engineered our internal infrastructure and took best practices to heart. Those practices led us to create an internal team called SAT, Pioneer-360’s situational awareness team. SAT’s sole mission is to organize, gather, create, distribute and train clients on how to be safe from cybercrimes — not only in the office, but personally.”
Pioneer-360 even buys and …