How MSP eNerds Plays On Both Sides of the Channel
Operational efficiency. The elusive, mythical unicorn chased by many, successfully achieved by few. Jamie Warner, founder and chairman of managed services provider (MSP) eNerds and CEO of Invarosoft, recently managed to snag himself one in a rather unconventional way.
Warner launched his Sydney, Australia-based MSP, eNerds, back in 2000. Things hummed along for awhile, and then one day, Warner had one of those Newton “apple falling from the tree” moments.
After on-boarding a new customer, Warner realized that the options for connecting with incoming end users as their new IT services provider were completely inefficient.
“With email and calling, there is a lot of back and forth, and you often don’t get the exact information you need,” says Warner. “This, of course, wastes everyone’s time and thwarts productivity and operational efficiency — on both ends.”
Then came the lightbulb moment. Warner and his team realized that in the age of apps, it made sense to create something to make everyone’s life easier. Why not build an app to replace email support? Not using a web portal or logging tickets — an intuitive, branded solution.
So they did just that. The company built ITSupportPanel, a SaaS-delivered technology that places a custom branded window on each device being managed. With the one-click access tool, end users can submit and monitor support tickets, review the MSP’s services guide and easily engage with the IT staff.
The new software provided the MSP a competitive advantage almost overnight. With others in the market sticking to the same RMM and PSA, it was an untapped opportunity for eNerds to differentiate itself, to set its business apart.
“Having an app across all the devices, suddenly your value proposition is insanely attractive,” shares Warner. “Your visible value is there, every day, for everyone that is using your services.”
Warner goes on to say that if you don’t have an app, and you don’t have folks coming into your office, you are fundamentally just a phone number and a person at the end of that phone number. And that is not enough.
After several years of successfully using the tool in house, Warner decided to commercialize the technology.
“We really think that this is the future of what customer interactions should look like,” says Warner. “We should be doing everything we can to enhance the customer experience. By the same token, the tool has also helped us with our road map. In terms of growth and operational efficiency, we’re doing quite nicely.”
Today, with the explosion of IoT and big data, MSPs are being asked to support more end users, devices and more data than ever before — all with the same amount of resources. Which is why, in terms of operational efficiency, launching this commercial product was a prime opportunity.
Operational efficiency is massive. In this case, you’ve got to have all of your baseline tools, certainly, but when it comes down to it, you must be efficient in the way you interact with your customer.
“It blows my mind that all of these massive ticketing system operations have grown multibillion-dollar companies, and the only way end users generally interact with them is via phone, email or a web portal,” says Warner. “To me, this is a fundamental operational-efficiency problem here. Operational efficiency is about getting the right information the first time, reducing calls when they’re unnecessary and getting maximum value out of each interaction.”
Warner and his team were on the cutting edge with the ITSupportPanel, and it is now a trend that we’re starting to see more and more of in the industry — partners becoming vendors. It wasn’t all that long ago that the whole indirect sales channel was very siloed. Vendors were vendors, and they had all the power. There were two very different business models of system integrators.
“Now, with the explosion and rising importance of the IT channel, lines are becoming blurred,” says Warner. “We’re seeing partners have a lot more power than they used to, and vendors are actually starting to respond to partner feedback. It is a very interesting phenomenon.”