Managed services News
Channel Superstar Jason Wright Buys Avatar, Aims To Build Next Generation MSP
“We are supplementing the bread and butter MSP business with a big focus on employee productivity in this new age of remote work,” said new Avatar CEO Jason Wright. “We’re an IT services firm with a hyper focus on employee engagement and retention. Employees want flexibility. Companies want accountability. We provide the platform that provides visibility.”
Jason Wright, a 20 year channel veteran with deep MSP roots, has acquired Avatar Computer Solutions, an MSP pioneer in Houston, Texas, with the aim of transforming the business into a next generation MSP.
Wright, who played a pivotal role at top MSP Techcess Group, MSP behemoth All Covered and renowned midmarket consultant RSM US LLP, said he acquired the assets of Avatar through a holding company, Maranatha Technologies, LLC, and is reinventing the 30 year old MSP for the hybrid work era.
“We are supplementing the bread and butter MSP business with a big focus on employee productivity in this new age of remote work,” said Wright, who as the new CEO of Avatar has forged a breakout deal with employee productivity software kingpin Prodoscore. “We’re an IT services firm with a hyper focus on employee engagement and retention. Employees want flexibility. Companies want accountability. We provide the platform that provides visibility. This is a new high growth model for the company.”
Avatar – a highly respected provider of cybersecurity and cloud services for local businesses - is now poised to act as a data insight provider with the aim of driving sales growth and business outcomes for clients, said Wright, who has been an advisor to Avatar for a number of years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“This is all about driving sales growth and cost efficiencies for businesses through broader technology adoption,” he said. “What we are doing is providing big data insights from all of our customer’s internal systems whether it’s Office 365, their telephone system, collaboration platforms, CRM and ERP systems. We run that data through an algorythm and we report a productivity score back to the business that shows the level of employee engagement. This is all about driving revenue growth by improving the productivity of our customers.”
Wright sees the data driven approach to increasing productivity as a game changer for businesses of all sizes looking to leverage data to drive sales growth. “There is real return on investment tied to this employee engagement data,” said Wright. “What we are doing is helping our customers drive business outcomes with metrics from all of their business systems.”
The problem with the current technology landscape is most CEOs of small and midsize businesses do not have the data to make changes necessary to drive growth, said Wright. “Most of these CEOs are operating the business in a data vacuum,” he said. “We are providing the metrics to make changes directly tied to driving sales growth and cost efficiencies. Businesses that have implemented these kinds of solutions generally see a 20 percent increase in productivity in the first 90 days of an implementation.”
The employee engagement model is also driving increased communications and collaboration and a marked improvement in customer relationship management systems aimed at closing deals in the field, said Wright. “Sometimes this comes down to simply training team members how to use the technology,” he said.
The new model is particularly well-suited to Avatar’s legal and financial customer base, which make up the majority of the business, said Wright. “These are the two biggest growth sectors for this employee engagement model,” he said. “Attorneys are billing customers, bankers are financing deals. They are directly tied to revenue. If they are less engaged than they should be then it’s impacting sales. This is about maximizing employee productivity in the new work from home culture that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic.”
Wright – who was an early proponent of the MSP model- stressed that the new focus will supplement and not replace the strong technology services expertise that has led to three decades of success for Avatar. He said the strong technology services team that Avatar founder and MSP pioneer Madelyn Feinberg put in place will remain. Furthermore, Feinberg, who is setting her sights on retirement, plans to remain at the company in an interim role to ensure a smooth transition.
“Avatar has long been a staple for reliable technology services and enterprise level support for businesses in Texas,” said Wright. “That is not going away. We are building on that and driving more business value for our customers.” He said the employee engagement model is already striking a chord with Avatar customers facing high attrition rates in the wake of the great resignation sparked by the pandemic.
“This is helping our clients significantly reduce employee turnover,” he said, noting attrition in some industries has hit 17 percent. “Think about the cost of bringing on new employees and multiply that by your average attrition rate.”
Wright – who was a co-owner of Techcess- said the acquisition is a “dream come true” to run his own show after working for two decades in the MSP business. “I’ve always wanted to the primary owner an MSP business,” he said. “This is an opportunity to take a crown jewel MSP and build it for the future. I couldn’t be more passionate about the Avatar team and the employee engagement opportunity ahead for us! We are building the ultimate MSP!”
Wright is at the vanguard of a new business model for MSPs, said Prodoscore President David Powell, a 25 year MSP veteran who has led the charge on multiple MSP market transitions.
“Jason is focusing on business outcomes rather than just selling technical solutions,” said Powell. “This is all about helping customers build a better business. A lot of MSPs are stuck in the technical world. They do a good job of solving technical problems but they don’t do a good job of tying technical solutions to business outcomes. Jason is driving business outcomes. He is helping his customers to build a better business.”
The Avatar transformation is aimed squarely at helping CEOs of small and midsize businesses be more successful, said Powell. “Jason is driving high value conversations with CEOs and the C suite to provide insights they did not have access to before this,” he said. “This high value model with business insight is pointing customers to ways to make their business better rather than just focusing on IT service tickets, spam or patching. This is a pivot to business value and business outcomes. This is the future for MSPs.”
Wright, for his part, sees the employee engagement focus as an epochal moment in the MSP industry. “This is all about making businesses great again in the work from home era,” he said. “We are providing data driven insights for companies to succeed. This is a multi-billion dollar market opportunity! It’s the start of another MSP revolution.”