November 9, 2020
Company Name: Integrated IT
Company MSP 501 Rank: 281
Executive Vice President of Sales: Jay Patterson
Headquartered: Waltham, MA
Security and compliance
MSP 501 honoree Integrated IT Solutions has the Northeast covered. How? The IT partner does it with packaged managed services — NetManage, NetAdmin, NetWatch and NetBackup. Integrated IT also offers professional services, consulting and cloud migration services.
But, that’s not all. Sitting still isn’t something in Integrated IT’s DNA. Two years ago, the company built out an MSSP practice. Today, the partner offers an array of security and compliance services. The way the Integrated IT sees it, and many customers have come to realize, is that investing in security and compliance is the cost of doing business today.
What’s not obvious about Integrated IT is that this partner has competed 30 acquisitions since 1999. And just two years ago, a private equity firm bought it.
Integrated IT’s Jay Patterson
Jay Patterson, Integrated IT’s VP of sales, discusses the acquisitions, the company’s growth and conducting business in the age of the pandemic. The MSP also offers some food for thought for its technology partners.
Channel Futures: Is the influx of private equity and increase in M&A activity impacting your business? How?
Jay Patterson: In a different way than others, in all likelihood. We’ve completed about 30 acquisitions since 1999. We were also acquired by private equity (PE) about two years ago. The biggest impact to us, over the past couple of years, is the fact that there is far more competition out there looking for acquisition targets. PE tends to play in areas of tremendous growth potential and profitability. So that is a good indicator of the industry in general. It seems that every industry out there is trying to get into the monthly recurring revenue model to have more predictable numbers.
One potential downside of PE involvement is the client perception. Some clients worry about the idea of working with a “large firm” or may feel like there will be less of a personal touch with a company owned by private equity. There is also the stigma that profits are paramount and everything else is secondary — which is not only a PE directive. But the fact of the matter is what really makes an MSP profitable is providing white-glove services and being in it for the long haul. We’ve had clients with us for nearly 20 years and we work hard to keep them with us for another 20.
CF: What was the single biggest technology or business decision that drove your company’s growth in 2019? How did it do so?
JP: Compliance and managed security. Companies, for the most part, have come to realize that investing in security and maintaining compliance (where applicable) is just part of the cost of doing business. We’ve seen a surge in project revenue and MRR in the area of compliance and managed security as a result of this.
Two years ago, we went through the process to meet the compliance requirements of some of the most common frameworks found among our client; for example, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, NIST 800-171 and GDPR. We became intimately familiar with the process. We took the technology GAP analysis portion of the initial assessment to form the framework of our managed security offering. Subsequent clients who wanted to follow a similar path to compliance have been able to jump in with both feet (as we did) or start with the items that would show up on their GAP analysis — and engage us for an MSSP agreement. This allows for them to move in the right direction and begin securing the environment. And, when the time comes to complete the compliance program setup, their to-do list stemming from the GAP analysis is …
… significantly smaller. This approach is appreciated by those clients who want to get to a place of compliance but don’t have it budgeted in the current fiscal year.
CF: What new opportunities and challenges came with the global COVID-19 pandemic?
JP: Somewhat surprisingly, our revenue numbers were not down much as a result of COVID-19. The initial challenge came from an influx of clients who previously did not invest in remote access for all employees. Then they felt the need to get it in place in a day after learning states would be shutting down.
We were able to prioritize and deliver on that surge of project work. Clients remained effective and efficient. Some projects were initially deferred, but none completely canceled to date. Most clients were able to be considered “essential” and able to continue working remotely.
It was sad to see the impact on the clients that did not fall into this category — a private school not equipped for remote learning, a corporate catering company and a boutique hotel have all but had to close their doors as a result of the pandemic. Another surprising outcome was that some people who may have been thinking working from home would be great, found otherwise. Many were not equipped to have a private workspace at home. And, in some cases, they were exacerbated by the fact that day care and schools were closed, meaning kids were also unexpectedly at home at the same time.
CF: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?
JP: Some vendors do – and most don’t – but a focus on continued training and learning is crucial. Vendors that provide regular training and access to tools and information are always the most effective. Microsoft has great training available, but you really have to seek it out and it’s easy to get lost in the vast library. Smaller partners, particularly those with a narrow product/service offering, are able to be more agile and focused — but some still neglect this area of the partnership.
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