ScalePad Exec On How MSPs Can Automate To Profitability

With nearly one-third of MSPs struggling to attain profitability, automation in the form of an integrated set of tools could help MSPs better connect with clients and grow their practices, ScalePad’s channel chief said at XChange 2024.

Automation should be in every MSP’s tool bag as a way to boost profitability, or in many cases to actually bring an MSP to profitability.

That’s the word from Eric Torres, vice president of channels at ScalePad, a Vancouver, B.C.-based developer of asset lifecycle, business intelligence, security and compliance, and data protection technologies, who told MSPs attending this week’s XChange 2024 conference that, on the average, a good chunk of MSPs are not profitable.

“You look around this room,” he said. “Almost a third of this room is still kind of struggling. Maybe not this specific room, because you guys are here to invest in time and building your business and learning from the great folks that are here. But for average MSPs, 31 percent are not profitable.”

[Related: ServiceNow Expands Automation, AI Capabilities With New Vancouver Release]

ScalePad was founded in 2015 as Warranty Master, and has come so far since then, Torres said. After the acquisition of Backup Radar, a data backup monitoring tool, the company re-branded in 2020 as ScalePad, he said. It also rebranded its Warranty Master offering to Lifecycle Manager because it was so much more than just looking at warranties.

ScalePad in 2023 acquired an additional four companies, Torres said. “So now we have solutions that help MSPs across their whole journey to become the next IT superhero,” he said.

Those solutions help MSPs take advantage of four fundamentals that can help their businesses grow, Torres said.

The first is to automate as many tasks as possible, he said. “By automating the data collection within the monitoring of everything that you're doing, you can build clean, beautiful, easy-to-read reports,” he said.

The second is to standardize as much as possible, Torres said. “Standardize your service delivery,” he said. “Standardize cadence at which you are calling them, following up with them, sharing information that you have with them.”

The first two fundamentals leads to the third, which Torres said strengthening relationships with customers, strengthening the collaboration, and getting them on the same side of the table as the MSP.

Once an MSP does all three of those, the fourth just kind of falls in place, Torres said. “You'll increase your operational maturity, increase your efficiency, and ultimately you're going to increase your bottom line,” he said.

Those fundamentals will not mitigate the challenges of running an MSP business, Torres said. These include managing clients’ infrastructure, providing vCIO (virtual CIO) services, and preparing to take client conversations to a higher level, he said.

For this, ScalePad offers two applications, Lifecycle Management and Lifecycle Insights, that help MSPs automate their QBR, or quarterly business review, process, Torres said.

“I know that a lot of you are saying, ‘I simply don't have time to do a QBR for all my clients. A lot of them don't even need it. Some of them I can't bring to the table,’” he said. “What if I told you we can shrink that QBR prep friend time down to about a half hour? No more spreadsheets. No more different databases. No more having that one engineer that knows everything about that network. Now you've got a system that will automatically integrate your PSA, your RMM, your documentation to build clean, beautiful reports integrated with all of the tools, all of the OEM vendors out there touching your client data, and improving the overall reporting capabilities that you're offering your customers.”

That process can also follow ScalePad’s four fundamentals by automating as many of those tasks as possible, standardizing what types of reports your clients are seeing, strengthening those communications so they look forward to getting your email or phone call or visit to explain what exactly is going on, and then increasing the bottom line, he said.

By looking at ScalePad data, the company estimates that 64 percent of critical infrastructures to be refreshed, Torres said.

“If it's old, if it's out of warranty, that means something is bad with it,” he said. “And the inherent challenge of that is that it's costly and cumbersome to procure your warranty. Some people just simply don't believe in getting a warranty. But if I'm on the other side, I’m saying my engineers are out there, they're handling that equipment, and they're expected to keep it alive. It has to be under warranty. We're in this together and we're protecting ourselves and we're protecting you so that if something goes down, it’s for the shortest time possible.”

That is a staggering opportunity for the average ScalePad partner, which is sitting $172,000 in warranty opportunities, Torres said.

ScalePad sells warranties through its marketplace at a fraction of the cost of OEM warranties, and offers a four-hour SLA (service level agreement) or 24-hour SLA with instant replacement, he said. The company also offers workstation assurance so that if a client suffers an accident they can quickly get a brand new laptop, he said.

ScalePad last year also introduced IT Asset Disposal, Torres said.

“This is a completely free service,” he said. “It even includes shipping. We will dispose of your old assets, wipe them, and provide a certificate of data disposal adhering to all the compliance standards that you guys have to adhere to completely free. … For those of you that have a whole room full of old equipment, and I know there's plenty of people in this room that do, we'll even send somebody to your location to box all of that stuff up for you.”

Furthermore, he said, every device that ScalePad brings in for recycling that we are taking in and constructing and wiping and the data is kept it out of landfills, Torres said.

“Two percent of all the waste in landfills is IT equipment, and that represents just under 70 percent of all the waste inside our landfills,” he said. And with every asset that we dispose of, we're planting a tree.”

ScalePad also provides Backup Radar, a centralized backup console that integrates with 300 different backup vendors to help MSPs overcome the common issue of backup job failures, Torres said. Backup Radar lets MSPs check all backup logs, see what tickets are open and closed, and provides reports.

Another ScalePad offering, Quoter, which the company acquired late last year, automates the quoting process while decreasing potential errors, he said.

The year 2023 also saw ScalePad acquire ControlMap which allows MSPs to offer vCISO (virtual chief information security officer) services to clients, Torres said.

“ControlMap has all the templates and all of the documentation built right into it,” he said. “Fifty different compliance frameworks built into this. We ourselves went through the process with ControlMap to get SOC 2-certified. And then we said this is perfect for MSPs. Let's bring this to the masses, allowing you guys to sell compliance as a service with all the templates, all the documentation, the pre-built checks, all built in.”

ScalePad has multiple technologies that each provide an important piece of what MSPs need to help their clients, said Keith Schoolcraft, chief guru at A Couple Of Gurus, a Minneapolis-based MSP which already works with the vendor, and said he likes to see vendors integrate multiple offerings as much as possible.

For instance, Schoolcraft cited ScalePad’s Quoter tool, and wondered if it uses data from the company’s Lifecycle Manager to improve automatic quotations, and said he is looking at how ScalePad integrates data from other tools to improve its vCISO practice.

“I really value it when you have an ecosystem that's kind of integrated together, which looks like the direction ScalePad is taking this,” he told CRN. “And I always hate it when companies buy a vendor, and then their innovation dies. … We need to keep innovating because that's what our customers expect us to do.”