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MSP 501 Exec of the Year: CompuVision Systems' David BridgesMSP 501 Exec of the Year: CompuVision Systems' David Bridges

CompuVision Systems' president knew COVID-19 would be more serious than originally described.

Edward Gately

October 6, 2020

6 Min Read
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CompuVision Systems took action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 weeks ahead of the rest of the industry in Canada. That was largely thanks to the foresight of its president, David Bridges. He knew COVID-19 would be more serious than many of the so-called experts described it at the time.

His quick response earned him the 2020 MSP 501 Special Award for Executive of the Year. These award-winning MSPs demonstrate a willingness to take risks and a deep familiarity with the MSP market. Those are two characteristics that are critical to channel businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve.

CompuVision Systems is No. 254 on the 2020 MSP 501 list.

Bridges joined CompuVision Systems in 2008. He worked his way up from service delivery manager to vice president of operations, and from COO to president. The company has clients across Canada and the United States.

CompuVision's David Bridges

CompuVision’s David Bridges

“I’m here to enable others’ success in whatever way I can do that, whether that’s leadership and coaching, or training or helping to solve problems or providing resources, whatever people need to solve their challenges,” Bridges said.

Early Pandemic Knowledge

Bridges was able to gauge to seriousness of COVID-19 through networking with various peer groups.

The 2020 MSP 501 recognizes the top managed service providers in the world. See the full list. Then check out our brand-new Hot 101.

“And it just so happened that I had some friends that operated facilities in China and I was getting some early reports on things that were happening over there,” he said. “And also, luckily, I have a background in biology and mathematics. So I was able to get some really great information via friends and peer groups, and then I was able to understand that information and realize, oh, hey, this thing is real.”

When seeing a massive shift to work from home in Asia and then Europe, Bridges began thinking about what this would mean for his company and its clients. He pushed CompuVision Systems’ executive team to take COVID-19 seriously from the beginning. That allowed the company to set up a pandemic team in early March and be prepared for more significant measures like switching to remote work.

“We thought, OK, our clients are going to need to do that,” he said. “And if our clients are going to need to do that, we better be ahead of them. I don’t want to be moving to work from home in the midst of our own changes when our clients need us. So that’s really what made us put our team together, planning out early on what does a move like that look like for us? When should we do it by? How does it need to be organized? What type of communication do we need?”

CompuVision Systems moved to working from home before its clients began asking for help with remote working. It transferred about 5,000 of its clients’ employees to working from home within the first week of the pandemic response.

The MSP had an 86% rise in support ticket volume. It also had twice the amount of service desk calls and more than 13,000 service tickets.

Tough Transition

The pandemic has had a substantial impact on CompuVision Systems, Bridges said. Working remotely has been difficult for everyone.

“You don’t get the office connection that they usually get,” he said. “It’s a little more difficult to build that digitally. But also our clients, everybody is very reliant on technology and even more so when needing to work remotely. So our service volumes spiked just as every other service provider would have seen materially in the first in the first few weeks. And then trailing off to even today, we are operating at higher volumes than than we normally would see for for the typical client load.”

CompuVision Systems’ managed services business has grown amid the pandemic, so it’s been hiring a lot of people, Bridges said. And it’s signed new customers.

“While there’s been disruption in the business, we’ve also been fortunate to experience some good growth,” he said.

Some clients were better prepared than …

… others to respond to the pandemic, Bridges said. The MSP had to quickly switch from supporting 30 people at one office to supporting 30 people at essentially 30 different offices from a home office.

“How do we help somebody when we honestly have less control?” he said. “Better services is a lot about control and in this type of environment, we have less control. And so how do we, again, support and service our clients in this type of altered environment?”

‘Eye-Opening’ Impact

The change and uncertainty, and its impact on people, has been “quite eye opening,” Bridges said. When there’s uncertainty, people rally together and rally to overcome.

“But the sheer length of this disruption produces further uncertainty for people, and the efforts and programs required to continue to help people, both customers and our employees,” he said. “It’s things like coping with working remotely and the mental health aspect of it. We’ve we’ve provided a lot of additional support just for our own employees to deal with the separation and the reduced human contact that we’re all having to deal with. And as it drags on, I have a lot of concern for for people in general about how we’re going to be able to handle this. We have an employee assistance program and we’re really trying to support that. The mental health aspect is a big issue that maybe isn’t getting the attention that it needs at this point in time generally.”

Bridges feels lucky to be in technology as it’s increasingly relied upon personally and for businesses. Because of that, the need for the MSP’s services will continue to grow. That’s particularly true of its cybersecurity services as cybersecurity is “such an enormous thing in the in the world.”

What’s Ahead

CompuVision Systems’ staff are now free to return to the office if they want, he said. And while a number have returned, others are staying home.

“Before we dictate that everybody’s coming back in, we’re still just watching,” Bridges said. “We’re watching what the government is saying, what the health organizations are saying, what the status is and all the updates. And also when will the vaccine be not just created, but available, and things like border reopenings. For example, if a Canadian wants to go to the United States, you can, but you have to quarantine for 14 days on the way back.”

The pandemic is a “very complicated and fluid situation,” he said.

“But we have all these indicators out there that we’re watching to try and help us make an informed decision,” Bridges said. “But ultimately, what we’re looking at is safety for ourselves and our clients, and how do we do the best work. How do we support the best for both our clients and our employees.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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