MSP 501 Flashback: Business System Solutions Lands on Its Feet Again

A few business ups and downs don't throw BSS off kilter.

Lynn Haber

July 31, 2020

4 Min Read
501 Flashback

Our 2019 MSP 501 Comeback Kid special award winner, Business System Solutions (BSS), knows adversity. So when the global COVID-19 pandemic struck the partner business in March, president Bill Ooms got into gear. He managed BSS and his clients’ businesses through the uncertainty, and less than three months later is back on track.


Business System Solutions’ Bill Ooms

The degenerative eye condition that forced Ooms to rethink and turn around his business in 2012 also forced him to put his business management background in the forefront. That meant not being the IT expert that worked in dark rooms and under desks. Instead, he is 100% focused on working on the business instead of in the business. That career change for Ooms once again helped save his business; this time, when the pandemic hit.

“We easily moved to working from home. Our staff basically picked up their laptops and the next day started supporting our clients remotely,” Ooms told Channel Futures. “Certainly, the first two months were almost 100% remote. So no projects and delays in onsite customer work. That cut down on revenue for a couple of months.”

Also, the normal PC replacement schedule was delayed.

BSS Takes Action

With that, BSS cut expenses.

“We took a good business approach to lowering expenses because revenue was not going to come in,” said Ooms. “It was a concern during the first month or two. April was our worst month.”

Things started to pick up in June. “Now, all of sudden, we’re very busy with projects,” he said.

That’s with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other pandemic safety precautions in place.

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

Business as usual for BSS came to an abrupt stop in March when Indiana issued its first stay-at-home order. None of the partner’s employees worked from home prior to the order; however, six months before COVID-19 rocked everyone’s world, BSS moved to Microsoft SharePoint. The firm’s RMM and PSA tools were already in the cloud, and users were on Azure. Security was in place, including multifactor authentication.

“There was nothing that tied our employees to the office, technically,” said Ooms.

During this time, one employee left the company for a great opportunity. Another employee was let go for performance reasons. Ooms opted not to fill the positions at that time as part of his expense precautions. This week, he filled the two positions and BSS is hiring an additional employee.

“So we’ll be up to 16 employees by the middle of August,” he said.

Customers Stay Put

The good news for the partner business is that the pandemic did not scare away customers. But a few cut their staff dramatically and significantly reduced their monthly managed services plan with BSS.

During the pandemic, customer requests came in to help them work from home, set up or use an existing VPN and train employees to connect to the VPN or remotely to their desktops. BSS technicians responded to everyday IT support issues.

BSS did a couple of things to help customers. First, the partner offered …

… free cybersecurity awareness training for a three-month period. BSS also gave all customers a 10% discount during the first two months of the pandemic.

“That created a lot of customer loyalty. It also helped customers remain cus.tomers,” said Ooms.

Ooms took advantage of a couple of vendor and distributor COVID-19-related offerings. ID Agent for dark web monitoring provided the customer cybersecurity training. Datto offered BSS discounts and revised payment plan options.

“Many of the other vendors had offers to delay payment but that would just kick the can down the road,” he said. “So we didn’t take advantage or need to take advantage of any of those offers. And that’s why I didn’t offer a similar thing to my customers and instead offered the 10% discount.”

Digital Transformation Underway

Today, several BSS customers are fast-tracking their digital transformation projects. They recognize the cloud as the “new normal” and a way to accommodate staff who want to continue to work from home.

Other BSS are projects are back on track. More customers are moving to Teams for collaboration, including Teams calling or another VoIP unified communication option such as one from Star2Star.

The MSP 501 winner for 2019 also is onboarding a few new clients, installing servers at some client locations, and is back doing PC replacements.

Going forward, BSS is adding conference room systems for its two offices.

“We’re doing this to show prospects what it looks like and how it works,” said Ooms. “Most of our quarterly business review meetings will probably be done virtually on Teams. We can share documents and go over reports. It may even make it [the quarterly business meetings] go a little bit better.”

Pandemic and all, Ooms is optimistic about where BSS is today, and the opportunities ahead.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like