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Steal This: 7 Great Ideas from MSP 501 Winners

Stealing idea

… in trouble.

To run your business, you need a custom dashboard. Limit it to the metrics that matter most to you. Your sales pipeline. Your support ticket close rates. Your bench utilization and customer satisfaction. Whatever the combination, make it yours. That’s what i.t.Now has done. The Salt Lake City managed services provider has developed its own tools and methodologies that automate routine IT tasks. This includes tools for patches, updates, backups and more. Thanks to the effort, i.t.Now has the ability to zero in on the key metrics and indicators that are defining the world of cloud computing.

Say Something That Resonates

Did you know that when you Google the words “Virtual CIO,” more than 15 million responses come back? It’s true. Managed services? That search returns more 378 million listings. Network optimization? It returns 161 million responses. Try it for yourself. The point is simple: Standing out in the VAR and MSP channel takes some advanced thinking and clever ingenuity.

To stand out in his U.K. market, IT Lab CEO Peter Sweetbaum, penned a white paper that outlined his thought leadership and market differentiation. In “The Adaptive Technology Model,” Sweetbaum identifies the benefits of using an interchangeable portfolio of web-delivered apps and services. In particular, he outlines how the technological shift toward an app- and SaaS-centric service model changes the way IT services are sold, managed and maximized.

Then there’s Bob Coppedge, owner and CEO of Simplex-IT of Stow, Ohio. An industry veteran, Coppedge penned a book that captures his thought leadership. In “A CEO’s Survival Guide to Information Technology,” Coppedge says he wrote the book out of the frustration he experienced when talking about the challenges and problems that business owners have with IT.

“We IT folks have a reputation of being condescendingly arrogant, overbearing, and aloof with understanding the full atmosphere of the business,” he writes. If you’re a would-be customer, that kind of thought leadership resonates. It also tallies up new sales.

Grind It Out

What’s the key to profitability? New customers? Sales of emerging technologies? Recurring revenue? While all of these contribute to improved business results, there’s another side to the story of prosperity. It’s called operational efficiency and it’s not something everyone does well. One reason? The rapidly changing competitive landscape.

In a recent study produced by the trade association CompTIA, researchers found that nearly half of channel companies believe operating a channel business has become more complex than just two years ago. The key reasons are expansions into new business lines and models, the introduction of emerging technologies into their portfolios and new demands from customers, according to CompTIA. No wonder only 20 percent of surveyed firms consider their operations to be “very efficient.”

To combat this, some companies have set out to master the day-to-day grind. In fact, “grinding it out” has become a passion of some. Take Beyond Computer Solutions. Almost every client that signed on with the Atlanta-area company is still with it today. Through the years, Beyond has provided a superior level of service through the eras of break/fix, managed services, hosted Exchange and cloud. By constantly refining its processes, it continuously …

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