LOOKING FOR THE HIDDEN CORE OF AN EFFECTIVE MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDER (MSP)

You must travel beyond the servers and beyond the clouds to find what lies behind a successful IT Services Provider. This is a story about finding the right MSP, and finding a way to grow your company in the process.

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Many companies avoid looking at new Managed Services Providers because switching requires time and hassle.  Almost any MSP can keep your technology up and running. They all have access to the same vendors and tools. Most can also respond quickly when you seek help. That’s why it’s tough to choose between them. 

The truth is you shouldn’t be looking at technology first, and you shouldn’t be looking at fastest response time. The best indicator of a quality MSP is something more organic.

 
If someone asks for help, you offer help. That's an attitude that benefitted a young Steven Freidkin, and an attitude that kickstarted his career in IT.

PART 1

THE KID IN THE RED SHIRT

"If you don't find the right MSP, you could fall behind the competition, or even shut down..."
 
STEVEN FREIDKIN

Teenage wunderkinds are always making breakthroughs in the internet age. Our story begins with a 13 year-old boy—but he’s not a prodigy, and he doesn’t have revolutionary ideas. Yet, he managed to create a stir in the IT world.

Steven Freidkin didn’t expect to find his first “customer” at CompUSA. He was just a kid looking at equipment for his own use, wearing a red collared shirt, and a businessman mistook him for an employee. But Steven understood the man needed help, so he gladly played along when asked for it. That’s just the kind of kid Steven was when he was young.

Steven didn’t have all the experience and tools required to provide the best IT services at the time, but the businessman hired him anyway based on his enthusiasm and knowledge.

"You need all those weird, jargony technology words that the salespeople are throwing at you. Or, at least, you need some of them..."
 
STEVEN FREIDKIN

Things are different in 2019. Technology has gotten more complex. You need guidance in addition to all the new tech jargon that's being thrown at you. You’re looking for something that sets one MSP apart from others. If you don’t find it, you could fall behind the competition, or even shut down.

Lindsey Business Group dealt with this when looking for an MSP. They told all the prospective MSPs what they wanted, looking for an estimate. Oddly, Steven was the only representative to suggest maybe there was an alternative…one that would drop features they didn’t need and cut costs in half.

They were looking for new technology, yes. But Lindsey Business Group ended up hiring Ntiva for a totally unrelated reason - guidance and trust, the cornerstone of a good IT consultant.

SIDE STORY

INTEGRITY: MORE THAN A VIRTUE

Harvard Economics Professor Michael Jensen and entrepreneur Werner Erhard know something about business. Their acclaimed paper, The Law of Integrity—one of the most downloaded reports on the SSRN database—suggests a fascinating factor leads to business success.

“Integrity” has two meanings, and both apply to their theory. Businesses must be “honest and having strong moral principles.” They must also be “whole and undivided.” They argue without integrity, maximum performance is not possible. Jensen compares it to a bicycle wheel: If one spoke breaks, the others work less efficiently to make up for the loss. Soon they all begin to snap and the wheel collapses.

Another key component of Jensen and Erhart’s theory is integrity represented by honoring one’s word. Mistakes happen, but responding honorably can make the company seem even more trustworthy.

There are too many occasions where a company creates a PR event out of a failing, however, and the result seems artificial. You cannot discover Integrity after a mistake. True integrity must exist from the beginning, and that will prevent damage from occurring to begin with. For example, it was easy for Congress to grant funds for the IRS to repair its systems after the Tax Day meltdown of 2018, when millions were prevented from filing their returns. But if they had seen fit to repair the systems in the previous three decades, the problem never would have occurred.

Integrity must start with the CEO and flow evenly among all employees. Or else? Jensen writes in The Law of Integrity: “If you attempt to violate the Law of Gravity without a parachute, you will suffer severe consequences.”

 

PART 2

"TRUST FALL" INTO TECH

Steven offered you something that made you switch to Ntiva. It wasn’t just advanced technology and their 24-hour dedicated help desk. It was trust.

Your last MSP didn’t work out, and you’re worried about moving on. How can you tell if the next one is any better? Perhaps it’s the vast technical offerings they promote. But your last MSP had vast technical offerings. Is it worth making the jump?

Finding an MSP is stressful. The Ntiva team understand prospects have been hit with so many sales pitches, it can be tough to trust any MSP. They throw tech jargon at you, and it’s intimidating.

Cyber security, cloud infrastructure, SaaS, wide-area networking, automation, business impact analysis, VoIP, artificial intelligence, BYOD, data storage, VPN services. Acronyms for days.  Jargon that almost intimidates, rather than informs the customer.

Steven offered you something that made you switch to Ntiva. It wasn’t advanced technology, and it wasn’t their 24-hour dedicated help desk.

Ntiva appreciates how to overcome the intimidation, because they take the time to learn it. More than 25 years of education—a process that continues as technology advances every year. After all, that's the responsibility of an effective MSP, not the customer. A non-IT professional taking that on themselves is a recipe for disaster: by the time they feel something is wrong, it's already too late to fix the problem.

That’s what a leading National Association believed, to the point where they weren’t sure it was worth the hassle to switch to a new MSP. After all the time it took to bring on their first MSP, they were hesitant. But they realized their former IT provider’s inefficiency was costing them.

Their staff was working to make up for the inefficiencies, which meant they weren’t working toward improvement. But if switching MSPs backfired, their users could lose access, and their constituents could suffer. Their legitimacy could be on the line. Was switching really worth the potential costs?

The answer was “yes,” and there was one reason: Growth.

The Association thought about how they ended up so dissatisfied. They wanted a strategic on-boarding process developed for maximum efficiency, so that adapting to the new MSP would be as painless as possible. They wanted strategic IT consulting services that helped them stay ahead of the game. They wanted top of the line cyber security protection. And they wanted orientation for their existing IT team, so the final handover would run smoothly. Above all, they needed trust.

Ntiva offered something that made the Association switch. It wasn’t just advanced technology like Ntiva’s machine learning-based automated systems, and it wasn’t their 24-hour dedicated help desk. 

 
If you trust all of your team members to emulate your values with every client, you don't need to babysit. That integrity creates an efficient, effective workplace.

PART 3

GROWTH NEEDS MORE THAN TECHNOLOGY

"I know you could have made more money by giving me exactly what I asked for, and yet you countered with a solution that worked better for my company.”

No one will argue an MSP’s technology offerings have no bearing on their ability to assist, and that’s why Ntiva constantly works to grow our knowledge and offerings. However, those advancements are meaningless without a solid base.

Steven knows the biggest issue with MSPs isn’t the way they treat servers. It’s how they treat humans. He was fortunate. He began working in IT when he was 13, when all he could consider was doing things the right way, not how to run a cost-benefit analysis.

He made mistakes, and quickly learned if he admitted those mistakes and made them right, harm was minimized and trust grew. It is a lesson he’s carried to this day, and shares across all of Ntiva’s locations, and among their 200+ team members.

"I know you could have made more money by giving me exactly what I asked for, and yet you countered with a solution that worked better for my company.”

Steven received a call from the owner of the Lindsey Business Group. They remembered the moment they decided to work with Ntiva.

“That was the first interaction I ever had with you. And from that point on, I trusted you," the client said during the call. "I get calls from other MSPs every day, but it’s not a question I’ll move on. I never check a bill. I know you could have made more money by giving me exactly what I asked for, and yet you countered with a solution that worked better for my company.”

They trusted Ntiva to do their job...to do the right thing. A similar trust exists throughout Ntiva. The staff have autonomy, trusted to document mistakes, make quick fixes and do whatever it takes to make clients happy. Ntiva knows the importance of building trust with their clients; there is nothing worse than vendors trying to cover mistakes, claim ignorance, or maintain it wasn’t their responsibility. Trust is the most efficient way to move clients forward, and move Ntiva forward in the process.

Dedication to technology only makes an MSP. Dedication to trust, systems, and integrity make an MSP great. Take some time and consider how you can promote sharing common values at your company. That will be your greatest opportunity for growth.

When you can trust your MSP, it frees up time to think about the bigger things.

You should be thinking about your company’s growth, not its MSP.

If you’re ready to stop thinking about things such as your company’s cyber security and IT needs, and start thinking about increasing your revenue or acquiring the next big account, you’re off to a good start.

Ntiva can help. Talk to us about your challenges and we can make suggestions for the best solution for your needs. Maybe it will be what you had in mind, and maybe it won’t...all we can do is give our honest opinion.

The honest approach hasn’t failed us yet. In fact, it’s helped us grow into one of the top MSP.  Join us!

p.s. Check out our Managed IT Services Pricing.