As noted last week, over the next few days I will share some background behind what happened between the release of SM2 (January ‘12) and SM3 which will come out in a few days. Please tune in to the webinar, this Thursday at noon.
If you haven’t had a chance to read everything I’ve written so far, in short: We had a great release with Shockey Monkey 2 and it attracted thousands of partners to us. We made a lot of money with it but to take it to the next level it just needed an incredible push of a solid support and sales organization. Not something I was keen to build so I listened to all the IT companies and VCs that were interested in it – but none of them quite lived up to what I expected.
All the while we were building new stuff behind ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey we interacted with the new partners that were pouring into our organization as a result of Shockey Monkey. We listened to the questions, feature requests, bugs and then something magical happened.. people started to get creative!
The world of small business is as simple as it is small minded – we wing everything we can and rely on third party recommendations as much as we rely on our gut. Combine that with tight budgets, overworked staff and limited time and you’ve got a wonderful mess on your hands.
Naturally, we only admit to this stupidity the minute we move beyond it and can’t believe the mistakes we made along the way. Yet we rely on advice of people – we let someone setup our networks, our books, our HR policies, we borrow someones marketing strategy/collateral/budgeting, we make stuff happen.
As I talked to literally thousands of MSPs over the past few years I kept on hearing the above.. over and over. Then I looked at our mess.
We had one app for contractors, another app for full time employees, third party payroll system, third party biometrics, third party security camera feed and our HR policies came from a local HR consulting agency many moons ago. We were literally using more than a dozen systems just to manage the fact that people showed up to work and expected a paycheck. Not because it was strategically relevant to us (we kill SPAM and take care of peoples email and documents) but because we needed to.
The more IT folks I talked to the more I realized that these problems were all the same and that they were the same across small IT shops and midmarket companies whose IT they managed.
Most importantly – many MSPs saw the writing on the wall, that they could no longer survive just by setting up infrastructure – they needed to have it show business results. If the IT solution provider was only there to solve IT, with the complexity of IT going down, there needed to be another way to solve the whole problem not just the little piece.
Most of this will make a lot of sense when you see Shockey Monkey 3 on Thursday.
The Big Elephant In The Room
I will make this simple.
You’re an IT Solution Provider, right?
Why? Why do you think people pay you to hook up their broadband to their routers to switches to PCs and printers and the cloud and mobile devices? To do their job is not the answer – because their job typically transcends just the operation of computer resources.
It involves tying people to a process to accountability and measuring their performance.
The more we looked at what we would add to the monkey, the more we saw our partners as small business mentors – both from the standpoint of experience but also from a standpoint of providing a framework (Shockey Monkey) and support (your IT guys, your bookkeepers, your facilities management companies, data destruction, cleaners, backup, signage, etc).
We looked at Shockey Monkey not as an IT guy tool. We looked at a type of business – can you name a business that doesn’t have a problem managing it’s clients, vendors, expenses, services, contracts, quotes, opportunities, employees, payroll, incentives, benefits, inventory, etc. I can’t. Everyone from an insurance company to a law company to a limo driver to a babysitter.. needs a system to organize the business around.
IT is just one small piece of it.
Selling more of it starts quite simply: “Let me show you how we do it.”
See ya Thursday!