The Most Significant Changes 30 MSPs Made To Their Business In 2021
We asked MSPs on this year’s Managed Service Provider 500 list to describe the biggest, most significant changes their companies made in 2020 to drive success in 2021. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Changing With The Times
As the COVID-19 pandemic and economic disruptions continued through 2021, managed service providers continued to adjust their business strategies and operations even as demand surged for managed applications, communications, and security services.
As part of the 2022 MSP 500 project, CRN asked managed service providers to describe the biggest, most significant changes their companies made in the last year to drive their success.
Many responded with details about acquisitions and new hires, new platforms, and new practices for delivering IT services. Some expanded into new lines of business while others decided to focus on core competencies and specific vertical markets. Some reorganized internally to become more efficient and streamline service delivery. And some implemented new ways to recruit new customers – or even fire clients that were no longer a good fit.
Here‘s a sampling of the responses that MSPs provided. Some have been edited for clarity.
Focusing more heavily on current clients and planning for their success. We found that focusing solely on the success of our current client base is the best resource for any new sale, through referrals and being able to provide tangible value to businesses that are in need of expertise, strategy and roadmaps to make IT work better for them.
Intras Cloud Services
Founder and CEO
We‘re retooled our service delivery to leverage both U.S.-based and off-shore resources to augment talent needs and ensure that we have the right talent focused on the right jobs. It has enabled us to deliver our legacy services with outstanding service levels 24X7 while re-deploying our most senior resources to support our ever-increasing security services operations.
President and CEO
The single biggest decision that drove our company‘s growth in the past year was the decision to obtain our SOC2 Type2 Compliance. This compliance is a report of internal controls capturing how a company safeguards company data and how well those controls are operating. By obtaining this compliance certification, we are able to work hand-in-hand with our clients to perfect their IT practices. This decision has provided us with the ability to deep-dive into the security and compliance world, gain a wealth of knowledge and open even more doors for future opportunities. [The company achieved SOC2 Type2 Compliance in January 2022.]
Envision Technology Advisors
Founder and CEO
We have built a cybersecurity practice, which includes high-level security assessment services delivered by ethical hackers and top security experts. These services complement our existing engineering, infrastructure, and managed services solutions and offer our client base a critically important security service that they have been unable to perform on their own due to the extreme shortage—and high cost – of cybersecurity talent in the market.
Chief Operating Officer
Our team has taken a hardline approach to rolling out multi-factor authentication for every client we have onboarded. We also do complete wipe and reloads of all devices on all client networks. This has prevented all of our clients from being breached since deploying this process.
Aspire Technology Partners
President and CEO
We strengthened our project management organization by expanding the team and installing our new director of service delivery to put emphasis on timely deployment and superior delivery of solutions and services to our customers. We shifted operational systems and processes to a single platform for better visibility and management, resulting in more streamlined and efficient operations with transactional transparency. We complemented our managed detection and response practice by adding more senior solutions architects and augmented the same with an inside sales/business development team to boost and accelerate business growth
Omega Computer Services
The pandemic allowed us to slow down. We were able to look closer at positions and people. Where did we have gaps, where did we have overlaps? We then moved some people and resources around to reduce those situations. We cut ticket times and SLA [service level agreement] times down almost 50 percent.
Ashton Technology Solutions
Moving out of the traditional MSP space by offering higher level, strategic consulting engagements. We‘ve accomplished this by emphasizing training and “player-coach” staffing that allows us to develop a much deeper bench of knowledge and skill.
Rebranding in storybook marketing format. We have always done good work but were not good at telling the story. BLOKWORX is veteran heavy, which means we complete the mission but don’t talk about it. Great in theory given what we do, but hard to grow a business if no one knows about you.
All Lines Technology
Chief Technology Officer
We increased our operational efficiencies by implementing a new ITSM and quoting platform to include automation, customer portals and self-service [capabilities], as well as enhanced digital delivery and execution of customer proposals.
Our success has been predicated in the ability to source talented employees. Instrumental to our ability to acquire talented employees has come from the organization’s shift from being based out of a physical location to a virtual one. We now have employees in 19 different U.S. geographies and in two foreign countries.
Vandis has developed automated and templated offers in the form of Quickstarts, which allow the customer to get their cloud infrastructure up and running quickly for the fastest time to value.
President and CEO
As we‘ve restructured our organization to better define our focus and core mission, we’ve introduced our new agency model. This model gives smaller MSPs an exit strategy by acquiring their companies with a lifetime annuity for the previous owners. This will drive high growth for our team beginning in 2022.
This year, we took a look at the industries we serve to identify the areas where we could provide the most value. We realized that we would be far more effective and efficient across all departments within the company if we sharpened our focus on targets within our three verticals. As a result, we very specifically focused our go-to-market initiatives on firms and practices between 50 to 250 employees, which has enabled us to more clearly articulate our value proposition and has had cascading effects in operational efficiency across support and technology operations.
The largest move we have made was choosing to split the company into two distinct divisions and brands. The MSP has now been split under the brand TrueIT and the [Microsoft] Dynamics business under the brand TruNorth Dynamics. We also built out a partner program to help other MSPs that may not make the leap to do Dynamics on their own, but to partner with us to bring those solutions to their customers.
CBI (Creative Breakthroughs Inc.)
President and CEO
Strategic focus on core services. Instead of doing 60 things with average results, we‘ve narrowed it down to eight things we can consistently deliver with world-class results.
In 2021 Core BTS increased its depth and breadth of expertise through several strategic acquisitions including Skyline Technologies and Aptera, Inc. Each acquisition advanced our services, specifically in cloud services and application development, enhancing Core BTS‘ ability to meet the accelerating client demand for holistic solutions that drive digital transformation. More recently, Core BTS was acquired by Nomura Research Institute. As an NRI Group Company, Core BTS will have a long-term partner to accelerate digital transformation in the U.S. and continue to deliver world-class consulting and managed services to clients confronting their most complex technology challenges
Universal E-Business Solutions
An increased focus on managed (and centralized) infrastructure telemetry, analytics, and performance indicator dashboards. Cloud workload mobility, hybrid datacenter/cloud implementations, distributed SaaS applications and vendor-specific tools have fully fragmented customers‘ view of application flows, performance metrics and IT interdependencies. We continue to orchestrate and unify [data center] and cloud telemetry in real time, providing customer insight into application flows, optimization, security, incident management, [disaster recovery] design and capacity planning.
Announcing our base salary will move up to $70,000 per employee over the next year
The single most significant change enVista made in the last year to drive success was implement [the] delivery of services based on business outcomes. This included implementing the ITIL process as a foundation to our delivery services and using an application management model in supporting cloud-based applications, such as PaaS and SaaS, for delivering IT and application management services, such as lifecycle management, to provide our clients support throughout the entire project.
True Digital Security
We have focused more on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has deepened the relationships and trust among team members who see the initiative as a priority need for all companies right now and helped team members from underrepresented populations in the tech industry feel more assured.
Our acquisition of Wintellect, a Microsoft national systems integrator focused on AppDev, [application] modernization, Azure professional services, advanced data services, AI/ML/IoT, and technical training. As an Azure Expert MSP, adding Wintellect‘s professional services capabilities now allow us to provide the full spectrum of Azure solutions. From solution enablement to solution management to solution training and upskilling: The focus is on the application, data, Azure, and solutions that drive positive business outcomes.
Networking Technologies + Support
President and CEO
Acquisition of Key Web Concepts, which expanded our offerings to include web design, SEO, and digital marketing. Included with this was another acquisition of a smaller version of ourselves which expanded our market.
In the past year, ECI has grown its business transformation services to fulfill the needs of our customers and the changing markets. ECI has also partnered with Snowflake to bring managed data and analytics to financial firms of all sizes. The creation of our managed data services was driven by financial firms seeking a cost-effective way to gain the same powerful capabilities larger competitors have through Snowflake. ECI rebranded from Eze Castle Integration to ECI to reflect its continued evolution and newly expanded capabilities. ECI also unveiled the biggest, broadest portfolio of managed services in the industry, including business transformation as-a-service.
GreenPages completed a recapitalization with Boston-based Abry Partners, a private equity firm with deep IT sector expertise and a successful history of investing in innovative companies that drive long-term value. The recapitalization will help GreenPages drive momentum through organic growth and acquisitions and accelerate the company‘s go-to-market strategy across its modern IT solutions portfolio with a focus on cloud enablement and operations (hybrid and multi-cloud); security, risk, and compliance; and managed IT services.
Syntax has made several strategic acquisitions, including Illumiti and Linke, this past year that have grown our resources and expanded our expertise in SAP and AWS specifically. Syntax‘s customers are now benefiting from each company’s unique offerings as we continue building our capabilities to support multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as SAP and Oracle on multiple clouds, such as Syntax‘s private cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we heard (and saw) that devices were piling up on operations, IT, and HR resources kitchen counters/dining tables/desks. We looked for advice from our peers on how they solved this problem. They didn‘t! So we did…or are still learning. End-to-end asset manage has been a HUGE value add to our fastest growing partners in the startup and technology segments.
GuideIT has embarked on a strategic realignment of services and delivery approach reflecting what we see as imperatives for customer success in 2022 and beyond. While continuing to deliver best-of-breed core services such as IT management, application services and service desk, we have made strategic investments in advancing next-generation solutions for cyber security, cloud transformation, digital workflow and analytics. Highlighting the importance of becoming data-driven, we enable companies to digitally transform operations and achieve desired business outcomes through disciplined processes and procedures, workflow and automation management, and actionable, analyst-curated analytics.
President and COO
Created tight partnerships with leading cybersecurity universities to fuel our talent pipeline and engage on fresh new ideas.
Keep our heads on straight through all the turmoil.