IT By Design’s MSP Palooza: Sunny Kaila’s 7 Most Interesting Statements

‘Recession indicators are here, inflation to unemployment, declining GDP, declining business and consumer confidence,’ says IT By Design President Sunny Kaila. ‘MSPs have historically done well during a recession…technology is always required.’

Sunny Kaila, president of Jersey City, New Jersey-based master MSP IT By Design, went from “taxi to tech” after coming to the U.S. as a teenager in 1993 from a village in India, getting a job driving a cab and then finding his own niche in the tech industry.

He was able to put himself through college and took the opportunity of to continuously learn about tech, first starting an MSP with Wall Street clients and now running a master MSP with his wife Kam.

With more than 20 years of experience as a technology services provider—first as an MSP and then for MSPs, ITBD helps partners navigate the technical landscape through education and enablement through staffing, 24x7x365 network operations center (NOC) services, helpdesk solutions, RMM virtual admin, virtual CIO consulting, security and professional services.

During the company’s Build IT Live conference in Jersey City, New Jersey this week, ITBD announced two strategic partnerships with N-able and Vijilan Security that will expand security services and provide greater client value.

The partnership with software vendor N-able allows partners to use ITBD’s NOC services and N-able’s remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool. The partnership will give MSPs a comprehensive one-stop NOC service that includes full management of a client’s RMM. “This is the first time an MSP will be truly integrated in from the tool and service perspective,” said Kaila “That is going to save you a lot of time and to help you be more profitable.”

During his keynote speech, Kaila spoke to a room full of hundred of MSPs on an impending recession¬–and what MSPs should do to prepare, customer service and company culture.

Here are Kaila’s seven most interesting statements from Build IT Live.

On MSP Challenges

“There’s now vendor noise because of the money in cybersecurity,” Kaila said. “Everyone wants to name their company cybersecurity, and there’s just too much noise. It’s confusing.”

“Eight-five percent of SMBs have invested in more technology in the last year than ever before,” he said. “According to a report by Grand View Research (a U.S. and India-based market research and consulting company) MSPs are a $267 billion market in 2022 with projections to grow to $731 billion by 2030.”

“But 25 percent of MSPs are losing money or breaking even, because MSPs don‘t have clarity on their numbers,” he said. “Labor costs and kit costs have been growing, therefore shrinking margins.”

On An Impending Recession

“Recession indicators are here, inflation to unemployment, declining GDP, declining business and consumer confidence,” he said. “MSPs have historically done well during a recession…technology is always required.”

“And although MSPs may fair well in a recession, they still must prepare,” he said. “Maintain a list of controllables and list of non-controlling costs.”

“A recession is not in my control list,” he said. “But what I can do is take the leadership responsibility today to prepare my team and It By Design for a recession so that we can make IT By Design recession proof.”

“We are in the right place at the right time,” Kaila said. “SMBs are the fastest and largest growing market in the world. The key to success is being in the right place at the right time. But taking the right action is more important than anything else.”

On Building ‘Cash Confidence’

“If you are not saving money to build cash reserves you are not taking being responsibility,” he said. “As MSPs, if we are not thinking profit, we are not being responsible leaders.”

“That starts with knowing your numbers and bring profit first,” he said. “The time to expand your credit line is right now.

“Cash confidence gives you a lot of leverage to acquire new capabilities and diversify your portfolio as an entrepreneur,” he said.

On Customer Success

“When it’s hard to acquire new customers, the best strategy is to tune in to what you have, retaining the customer experience and that value creation for the customer,” he said.

Look at industries that are recession-proof including health care, education and manufacturing.

“Rather than depending on other countries we are building more manufacturing capabilities here,” he said. “There’s a lot of money in the manufacturing space, so you just have to be intentional about identifying what industries produce recession-proof and also looking at your customer base.”

On Innovation

“Even today with rising labor costs and tool costs we are challenged to do things faster, better and more efficient. Customers want more for less. They are resisting the price increase,” he said. “This is when MSPs should ask themselves the questions, ‘What is working? What is not working? What are the insights that we have? What actions are required to get better?’”

“If you can transform everything that you have and innovate, you can create that value profit for the customer spending less money,” he said.

On Talent

“You are not going to be able to attract talent, retain talent, align that talent, get the best out of people [or] the teamwork without culture,” he said.

“At IT By Design, on a quarterly basis a volunteer team is created to discuss where they want to add value to their other team members,” he said. “How do you decide when to build and when to borrow and having a talent strategy.

“When the learning gap is large and urgency is high, you don‘t have too much time to recruit,” he said. “If you cannot buy talent, the only thing that you can do is build your own,” he said. “The way you build your own is being proactive in that talent pipeline and investing in trainings and enrollment.”

On Culture

“Every first Monday on a monthly basis we do a state of the company [report],” he said. “This culture team will present the report card that we listened to you and we are doing XYZ to make a difference. They will share the whole project, the plan, the timeline, the impact so people know that when they are filling out the employee survey something is going to happen. It’s not like the philosophy and just nothing changes. We give that power to our team, because we have co-created that plan and they own that plan.”

“The outcome is to manage the employee experience and employee retention,” he said.

“We are very intentional about culture by design,” he said. “Culture will happen, it’s a matter of by default or by design. We have a culture by design plan.”