MSP Q&A: Approaching the Other Side of the Pandemic

Jul 17, 2020

MSP Q&A: Approaching the Other Side of the Pandemic

BY Courtney Heinbach

MSP Best Practices WFH

There is no better way to understand how the IT channel may be feeling than to ask managed service providers (MSPs) themselves. We reached out to Datto partners from around the globe to get a better sense of how MSPs are feeling about the current business climate as some aspects of life crawl toward normalcy.

David Thomas, Group Managing Director at Bluegrass Group, Exeter, UK

Q: How did the global pandemic affect your business operations over the last four months? Did it present growth opportunities? Or rather, a slowing of business growth?

A: Here at Bluegrass Group, we experienced a number of impacts during the initial COVID-19 period, a big one being internal. Having never needed to move all of our staff out of the office, we weren’t sure how it would go. Technology-wise we were obviously confident, but culture wise, it was complete unknown territory. Luckily for us, our staff proved to be even more committed from home than ever before, and it’s opened our eyes to how we can operate as a team in the future. Opportunity-wise, we witnessed a number of clients quickly diversifying their business to cope with this pandemic. We were really impressed with the way in which our clients handled this crisis, thinking fast on ways to keep their business running and actually thriving during this difficult time. Our clients became more open to technology services than ever before. COVID-19 has forced many businesses to think more digitally. Businesses across the globe are now placing more importance on their IT infrastructure, their IT budgets are bigger and their digital presence has accelerated. We also took a step back to assess our current offering and decide how we could shape it to be better suited for the ‘new normal’. We were determined to fight through the pandemic fog and come out stronger than ever before. We already feel our culture and our offering is the best it’s ever been.

Q: Has the global pandemic changed how you plan to operate your MSP moving forward? Is there anything that you now offer that you didn’t before? Or maybe your services are packaged differently. If you’ve made any long term changes, let us know!

A: Absolutely. We’ve actually made significant changes to our business over the last 4 months, more than we have in the last 12 months. The world has changed, and we have changed with it. Our support packages are now even more flexible; with affordable packages available for businesses of all shapes and sizes, whether fully remote or half and half. We’ve quickly learnt that clients want convenience and someone they can trust when things go wrong. Luckily for us, the latter is one of our key values, but now, by widening our services to include both telephony and connectivity services alongside IT support and consultancy, our clients can have great support across all their technologies. This has resulted in one bill, one point of contact, and a fully integrated experience.

Christian Fischer, Manager at Kutzschbach Innovations GmbH - Augsburg, Germany

Q: How did the global pandemic affect your business operations over the last four months? Did it present growth opportunities? Or rather, a slowing of business growth?

A: Due to the pandemic we had a very strong short-term demand for support to get employees into the home office. After that, collaboration, especially via Microsoft teams, was on the agenda of many customers and there was an increased demand for cloud solutions and the digitalisation of workflows. Overall, we see a slight decrease in traditional IT topics and a much stronger demand for cloud, collaboration, and digitisation of workflows.

Q: Has the global pandemic changed how you plan to operate your MSP moving forward? Is there anything that you now offer that you didn’t before? Or maybe your services are packaged differently. If you’ve made any long term changes, let us know!

A: We have aligned our business model more closely to the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and are investing in technical and sales training for Microsoft Azure. The Azure Windows virtual Desktop could become a game changer as it replaces many Terminal Server Infrastructures. In addition, we are evaluating a telephony solution that can be operated in the cloud and linked to Microsoft teams. We have learned that home office telephony was the biggest problem for many of our customers, so we would like to add this component to our modern workplace.

Mike Bloomfield, President Geek at Tekie Geek - Staten Island, NY, USA

Q: How did the global pandemic affect your business operations over the last four months? Did it present growth opportunities? Or rather, a slowing of business growth?

A: The global pandemic brought both challenges and opportunities to our business. Being in NYC, which was the original epicenter within the United States, we witnessed what was the strongest quarantine throughout the country. With businesses being forced to close their doors and no insight into when they would be able to open, we made a decision that we needed to stop selling. How can we actively promote and sell our services at a time of uncertainty for so many businesses? So our growth came to a halt, but we maintained our client base and focused on the future. During the quarantine, we hired a new Marketing Geek, and have moved towards a focus on video, both live and edited, which we see as the wave of the future for MSP marketing. We were also able to sit down and look at our website and have worked on designing a new site that will be going live later this summer. With the processes we put in place and the changes, we expect to ramp up our growth engine in the next few months as we hopefully return to normalcy.

Q: Has the global pandemic changed how you plan to operate your MSP moving forward? Is there anything that you now offer that you didn’t before? Or maybe your services are packaged differently. If you’ve made any long term changes, let us know!

A: The pandemic helped to show us that we have the correct technology stack in place both internally and for our clients. We were easily able to get ourselves and our clients up and running as they were forced out of their offices. Most importantly, we were able to do this while ensuring their security and not putting clients at risk like we witnessed many other companies doing just to get things going. So we are not offering any new services in our stack at this time, however, we are now working with businesses to fit their conference rooms with true conference room systems as the world moves to these virtual meetings on a regular basis.

To learn more about how you can prepare your business and your clients to head back into the office, see our Return to Work Checklist series.

Subscribe to the Blog