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Pax8 On MSP Partners Learning To ‘Survive And Thrive’ Amid Pandemic

‘The progressive MSPs are not seeing this as an opportunity to hold on,’ said Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer at Pax8. ‘The progressive ones are seeing this as survive and thrive. What they’re really doing is they’re preparing themselves for coming out of this curve.’

The strongest MSPs are using the coronavirus pandemic to change how they do business by focusing on cost optimization and finding efficiencies for their customers to boost their value as a trusted business partner, according to Pax8 executives who have been helping partners manage their business through historic times.

“The progressive MSPs are not seeing this as an opportunity to hold on,” said Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer at Pax8. “The progressive ones are seeing this as survive and thrive. What they’re really doing is they’re preparing themselves for coming out of this curve.”

Pax8 hosted a virtual breakout session during XChange+ 2020 Virtual Experience, being presented by CRN parent The Channel Company, that brought the company’s executives together with a Pax8 partner to discuss the ways top MSPs were moving ahead. With the nation’s small and midsize businesses going remote almost overnight in March, cloud adoption rates have soared. Businesses already in the cloud were looking to their MSP to go deeper, and businesses not yet there needed full implementation, leaving MSPs with a mountain of opportunity.

“What we’re finding is successful MSPs are looking at it in those terms, meaning, ‘I have to emphasize business continuity, I have to move into cost optimization and efficiency, and then I’m moving right into, How do I thrive? How do I help my customers be resilient and improve my experience with them?’” Walsh said.

Danny Perry, managing partner at Houston-based ITCubed, said in addition to running the business through the pandemic, he has been enabling remote transformation of his customers’ offices and managing their expectations about what remote work would look like.

“There have been a lot of challenges, but remote work is kind of in the DNA of most MSPs,” he said. “In this situation where all of our clients are were shifted to remote as well, that has put an increased workload on the team.”

The runaway hit to keep businesses running and keep IT pros talking has been Microsoft Teams, he said, which has seen a huge boost in its usage this year.

“It was put out there with Office 365 or Microsoft 365 previously, but the adoption rates have gone through the roof since COVID-19 started,” he said.

Quoting figures from Microsoft Inspire 2020, Pax8 Chief Revenue Officer Nick Heddy said in February of this year users spent an average of 900 million minutes per day on Teams. He said by June that number had skyrocketed to 4.1 billion minutes per day by 75 million active daily users.

“We’ve seen two years’ worth of transformation happen in just two months,” Heddy said, quoting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

However, that rapid push to remote work has come with a compromise.

“There was this big rush to enable remote work, and security was a little bit of an afterthought,” Heddy said. “Stop talking about solutions. Talk in terms your customers can understand. … In today’s climate, you must reduce risk. That is the value. That is that insurance policy that you are offering to your customers.”

[Editor’s Note: To attend the virtual event or view sessions on demand, visit the XChange+ registration page.]

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