Positive business transformation is going from your current state, taking what needs to be improved, setting a strategy to achieve those improvements, measuring along the way and evaluating the outcome.
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with channel growth expert Erick Simpson about business transformation, adapting to the COVID-19 reality, his upcoming sessions at Accelerate 2020 and why managed service providers (MSPs) should attend. Check it out below, and don’t forget to register for the virtual cloud event of the year.
Please note that this interview has been edited for clarity and readability.
You’re a pioneer in the managed services space—tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do
In the late ‘90s I decided to start my own IT practice, Intelligent Enterprise, and transformed it into one of the first pure-play MSPs in the industry in 2005. I then co-founded MSP University. As one of the thought leaders and influencers early on for managed services, I devoted the next 10 years or so to educating and training IT providers on how to become profitable service providers in their practices.
Today I consult with MSPs and IT providers that want to improve their businesses. I work with vendors and distributors in the channel to try to build better awareness and connection between IT providers and their channel programs. I love supporting and fueling the entrepreneurial spirit and helping business owners improve.
Why did you decide to share your expertise?
Because Intelligent Enterprise was one of the very first in the MSP space, we made all the mistakes early. We figured out how to perfect the marketing and sales aspects of presenting these services. It was tough! We had to educate clients that didn’t want to pay in advance. They would say something like: ‘You guys just show up when it breaks, and I pay you then. Why do you want me to pay you in advance?’ We had to go through that whole evolution of how to add enough value into our portfolio and deliverables to get clients to say, ‘OK, yeah, that makes sense.’
We figured it out early on–we made all the mistakes and figured out how to price, position, sell and then deliver services efficiently. This was only possible because trouble-ticketing systems started coming around that were cost-effective for smaller IT providers, like the PSA solutions and RMM tools we’ve started seeing now. I had worked in enterprise IT and was used to these tools there, but when you go and start your own practice, you can’t afford a $100,000 tool to start delivering service.
Building service desks and NOCs was in my DNA already. So, when these tools became cost effective in our practice, rather than using the application that I coded and programmed myself to do trouble tickets, now we could use tools that were purpose-built for this. I built our own service desk and NOC, and we were able to deliver that as a service and configure it using our knowledge of KPIs, metrics, utilization and realization, as well as how to do incident management and escalation within a real service desk. This really gave us a leg up for delivering these services to clients.
Long story short, I was at an event, and a VP for the RMM tool we were using sought me out and said, “Hey! What is it that you guys are doing that none of our other partners are doing? You’re far out-pacing anybody else.”
He followed me around for three days, and I shared how we
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