So what do you think?

Friends, IT Business
4 Comments

Every now and then I get emails that are so well thought through and written (unlike Vladville) that it’s a damn shame to keep them to myself. So with permission (and removing their company / name) I am reprinting the email to offer everyone additional perspective. No, this will not be the subject of a vartruth video and no, I’m not him.

I wonder where you stand. When you finish reading the post, vote here.

Vlad,

Just read your latest blog entry about “Have MSPs jumped the shark?” I have also read many of your earlier articles and you keep alluding to the fact that the MSP model is going to self-destruct in a few months and we are all going to be standing on the street corner with a tattered cardboard sign saying “Will remove spyware for food”

I respect your success and the fact that you have been able to pimp your products to hundreds of my peers (including me.) I further respect your release of S-M (was the acronym a mistake?) as a free service. Unfortunately, I am earlobe deep with Arnie, so it doesn’t make sense to change at this point.

What I don’t understand (and thus the request for the decoder ring) is what in the hell are you implying that we all should move to, but aren’t smart enough to move away from the oncoming light in order to get to?

Even in this shitty economy, I had my most profitable year last year and this year looks to be even better (in spite of (or because of) losing two $7k/mo clients. Am I a classic MSP? I don’t know. Every single solitary person I speak to in New Orleans or Atlanta or Orlando or Vegas or Philly or Nashville or any other conference I go to do things differently. Way differently in most cases. Different pricing model, different limits, different services… on and on.

XXXX is my own mix. I use Connectwise and Kaseya. Yep, drank the Kool-Aid. I have even started using Kaseya IT Services to do monitoring of some of my servers. My techs are good, and we can fix just about anything, but we really stick to the basics. We don’t do custom programming, strange server systems, thin verticals, etc. and we stay very busy.  We are not experts with Exchange but we can fix it. Same with SQL. I guess you could say we are General Practitioners.

Today I came up with these three things to describe our business:

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Over the past year or two, we have pushed out to third parties things like email filtering, anti-virus, backup, server monitoring to the point where most of our day is devoted to problems that are either a pain in the ass, someone’s hair is on fire, or we are doing projects.

I am doing my VCIO function based on my experience. Clients are calling about dumb things that mean the world to them (accounts locked out, mouse is moving around on its own, popups galore, printer won’t print, fax won’t fax, email won’t email), crashes (Exchange edb shit the bed, RAID failure [ironic isn’t it?], capacitors blowing out on motherboards, etc.) or we are upgrading and installing stuff.

Bclip_image004ut what is wrong with that? Should we be making reservations for dinner and a show for clients? Honestly, I think that the way we are working on the extremes of the spectrum is the way it will be for a while until the whole shooting match can be replaced by some Japanese robotic humanoid.  There are enough f’ed up people out there for the foreseeable future that will need help, that I don’t see the need changing significantly. One day, I will start getting people that want to spend $10/mailbox/month in perpetuity and also don’t mind running their business with programs scattered about the internet. I am not naïve enough to think it won’t happen, but this will probably be the people in your age cohort (or younger) that implement the business model.

So, yeah, change is coming and I am all for it, but maybe that light you see is really others with a flashlight searching for a clue…

XXXX

PS I still want to know what you think MSPs should be doing… cut to the chase and fill me in.

Vlad: So where is most of the marketplace at? Click here and let me know, I’ll publish results in a week: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8CW77CH

4 Responses to So what do you think?

  1. Ed F says:

    I completely agree, finally! Clients need similar services, how the services are provided changes & depends, and always has. We all, I hope, see the changes coming and are deploying it when and where appropriate.

    Even if 100MBs pipes, cloud SBS servers w/ virtual wkstns were available & affordable tomorrow 95% (99.995?) of our clients would come to us asking how to take advantage of it. Before you say “hey, that’s already here now”, that’s my point. It is here now and clients need help putting it all together.

    I’m not saying the change isn’t rapid, or even faster than we believe, but we aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and find that Google/Microsoft/Dell/Cisco/RIM/Apple/Rackspace/Comcast/OWN/ZenithSmartOffice/Intronis/Symantec/Sonicwall/ displaced us. It doesn’t all just work, someone has to put the pieces together and make it work and be the neck to choke when it doesn’t.

  2. Michael D. Alligood says:

    P.S.S. We are not from India.

  3. Jules says:

    My question with regard to the cloud is what do businesses with not fantastically fast Internet connections do?

    And what proportion of business out there have not fantastically fast Internet connections?

    Are they going to be left for IT Dead by vendors who abandon tin for cloud?

    Surely the cloud prevalence is going to be a geographic phenomenon for some time to come?

    Cheers!

  4. Michael D. Alligood says:

    Jules,

    First, I believe we need to define “fantastically fast Internet.” I personally would lump everything but dial-up and line of sight satellite into that category. And maybe cellular, but I digress. Every potential SLA client should be qualified by certain standards you and/or your company pre-define. Stable and fast access Internet should be on the list as a qualification. If not, sell them on that as well – if applicable for thier business. You are going to find that Internet, for whatever reason, doesn’t equate into some businesses – as crazy as that might sound. In such a case, fast access and cloud services would be off the table anyway. And trying to sell those options to a client that doesn’t need them is wrong.

    As for “cloud prevalence,” that started when the Internet went live. Understand, the term “cloud” is not new. People have been using cloud services for years and years – i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Messenging, p2p, et al. It has just been given a facelift and label by MSP and marketing providers looking to sell their same old collateral with a new catch phrase – see SMB, SBS, SBSer, Managed Services, MSP.

    Point being, get to know your clients, what it is they do, and what you can offer to assist them in 1.) business continuity, and 2.) working more efficiently with current and future technology.

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