Meet the 3 Finalists for MSP 501 MSP of the Year

The MSP501 MSP of the Year will be announced at Channel Partners Evolution.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

September 10, 2018

4 Min Read
Top 3

The award for MSP of the Year works a little differently from the other special 501 awards. We narrowed the field of contenders down to three finalists that we feel represent the modern channel and display excellence in business efficiency and business model innovation.

What does that mean? For starters, the nimbleness to pivot to meet industry trends, the guts to make risky moves today to position the business for tomorrow and the discipline to structure operations to achieve maximum efficiency in service delivery. These three finalists, in their own unique ways, exemplify this ideal. Our 2018 MSP of the Year will be announced at Channel Partners Evolution and spotlighted on Channel Futures, so stay tuned to find out if your favorite candidate took home the prize.


#44: Cal Net Technology Group

It’s all about consistency and repeatability over at Cal Net, which is based in Los Angeles and services the Southern California market. From its product offerings and solutions to its employee development and best practices, the MSP liberally leverages software solutions to drive operational efficiencies across the entire value chain. The result? Faster, more accurate development processes, better customer service and more trusting client relationships. Cal Net also recently productized its services and implemented full transparency into its pricing models, listing its prices right on its website. It’s an unconventional move for an MSP, but as Cal Net says, when today’s customers see no price, they think it’s got to be too expensive. Its sales cycles might be a bit longer, but the leads it’s bringing in are more qualified, and its offerings are now scalable to fit a fast-growing market. The same goes for its DevOps processes, which work exactly the same in each of its three locations. Cal Net’s determined pursuit of efficiency through a complete operational overhaul earned it the honor of being a finalist for the 2018 MSP of the Year Award.


#186: Premier Technology Solutions

At the end of 2016, Australia-based Premier Technology Solutions bit the bullet and implemented a huge change to its business model. It was wasting too much time and energy on clients that didn’t add enough to the bottom line and were hampering its transition to monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Premier knew it needed a bold move, so in January of 2017, it took a deep breath and reduced its client base from 330 customers to just 107, knowing full well that the gamble would reduce its monthly revenue by about $80,000 AUD. After shedding clients that were holding it back, Premier was able to streamline its processes, operations and sales focus. Over the course of 2017, the MSP grew its revenue by $1.5 million AUD. It’s about doubled …

… its MRR, average agreement size and average per-user price for new agreements.

The move tripled its profit margin because of internal efficiencies, too. Revenue per tech rocketed from $165,500 AUD to $313,500 AUD, resolution times dropped by 30 percent and service desk response times plummeted 70 percent. It takes business savvy to identify what’s holding an MSP back and a willingness to take risks to overcome those obstacles. Premier nabbed a finalist spot for MSP of the Year by demonstrating a perfect balance between the two, with the results to prove it.


 #501: SabinoCompTech LLC

You might think sliding into the 501st spot on a ranking list of 501 MSPs would render SabinoCompTech just a slightly above average managed service provider. You’d be wrong. Angel and Nancy Sabino started their shop in 2008 when they were just 22 years old, and their history demonstrates the modern channel’s transformation. The Sabinos experimented with different models and customer types to find the right fit for their Katy, Texas-based MSP. SabinoCompTech tried everything from break/fix for small businesses to retail residential services before finally transitioning to a recurring managed services model in 2016. The MSP also experimented with different pricing models before landing on an all-inclusive plan at a higher price point, which gives customers visibility into the services they’re paying for. To make that switch worth it, the Sabinos had to work hard and fast to create both internal and client-facing operational efficiencies so they didn’t hemorrhage profit. Today, SabinoCompTech’s business shows it’s landed on a formula that works. It’s created a vertical focus, which allows it to provide standard, repeatable offerings that can scale and allow quick time to resolution, since techs know just what to look for. As millennials of Hispanic descent, the Sabinos epitomize young, agile channel partners who aren’t afraid to pivot on the fly. It’s DevOps in action, and it put the small service provider in the running for MSP of the Year.


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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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