Company Name: DP Solutions
Company MSP 501 Rank: 433
Director of Strategic Operations: Ben Schmerler
Headquartered: Columbia, Maryland
For nearly 50 years, DP Solutions has been putting clients first in solving IT problems. An OG in IT, the company started in 1971 as an IBM programming shop working out of the founder’s basement. Its mission was to provide corporations with high-quality technology services to improve their businesses processes.
Fast-forward a half-century. While the mission of DP Solutions remains the same, its scope has grown right along with the IT industry. They’ve evolved from providing server maintenance, application development and data processing to solving IT problems ranging from disaster recovery and cloud business to security and compliance.
Oh, and they’ve moved out of that basement and into three locations in the Washington, D.C., area.
Ben Schmerler, the company’s director of strategic operations, likes the fact that the IT channel is never boring. Almost as much as he likes knowing he’s providing a valuable service to clients.
Channel Futures: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?
Ben Schmerler: While we don’t want to paint with too broad of a brush, it would be much easier for us as an MSP if vendors focused on our experience dealing with our clients first, as opposed to their product. By that I mean many technology vendors don’t quite have the focus we would like to see. That’s when it comes to both the MSP’s day-to-day operations supporting these clients, as well as the client’s expectation that the MSP is on top of the technology landscape. Often, the vendors’ sales pitches and value propositions for their products (which are generally good) focus on the technology benefits as opposed to the outcome for deploying their products for the clients.
These clients work in industries like real estate, law and financial management. The truth is it matters much less to the layperson how fast a product runs, or the level of encryption it utilizes or even how stable the product is. They’re concerned with things like what compliance standards it addresses; also, how it solves business problems and ease of use for non-technical people. Certainly, the MSP needs to understand the underlying technology and how it works. But we would like more case studies and client-facing literature that discuss other measures of value besides technological superiority.
We find that the vendors who take this approach have better relationships with us as an MSP. They also experience greater product retention and end-user satisfaction.
CP: What new opportunities and challenges came with the global COVID-19 pandemic?
BS: Initially, we had a huge rush of end users asking us to either set up or make sure they were enabled to work remotely. This was right as restrictions and lockdowns started. We manage thousands of endpoints and users, so this instant demand represented both challenges and opportunities. For some who had not really built a working culture around the idea of staff members doing their tasks anytime/anywhere, it was primarily an engineering challenge. We were faced with coming up with suitable remote access solutions, perhaps to a local desktop in their office, or migrating legacy systems to public cloud infrastructures. Fortunately, the majority of our clients required much less significant pivots. And this increase in demand keeps our team busy and productive which is good for the bottom line.
As it became apparent that COVID-19 would create some changes to how people worked for an indefinite amount of time, clients began trying to establish their “new normal” when it comes to workflow. This includes their relationship with the technology we manage for them. Clients who built out remote working solutions quickly are now having to tweak them to better suit their work-from-home needs. Sometimes that means changing hardware infrastructure. Other times it may mean adding more security tools to address data compliance needs.
Fortunately for us, our challenges have been mostly logistical as opposed to core business challenges. Many businesses, especially those that are in…
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