Page 1

MARCH 2018

VOLUME 25 NO. 3

Connecting People, Ideas and Products in the Document Technology Industry since 1994

MANAGED IT MARKET

engage ‘n exchange COLLABRANCE USES EDUCATION AND A TURNKEY SOLUTION to Boil Managed IT Down to its Simplest Form

OFFERS UNLIMITED POTENTIAL FOR TURNKEY SOLUTION PROVIDERS

BUILDING PROFITABLE Managed IT Services

Troy Olson and James Olson

ECONOMIES OF SKILL AND KONICA MINOLTA RELATIONSHIP Drive All Covered Platform’s IT Success

A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps

THE MISSING LINK in Helping Protect Businesses from Cybersecurity Attacks

Les Olson Company

MANAGED IT SERVICES: The Profit is in Workforce Control

Moving Onward and Upward

ENX Magazine

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EXPAND YOUR PORTFOLIO AND YOUR CUSTOMER BASE like never before with the new Epson WorkForce Enterprise. Realize the potential of new customers with a Multi-Function Printer that makes printing in color more affordable and prints 100 pages of color in 60 seconds. And because they’re easy to maintain, you’ll spend less time servicing the machines, and more time profiting from them. It’s time to rethink your portfolio. It’s time to think about Epson. Learn more at Epson.com/WorkForceEnterpriseProfit

OF COLOR IN 100 PAGES 60 SECONDS

WORKFORCE ENTERPRISE EPSON, PrecisionCore and WorkForce are registered trademarks, EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark and Better Products for a Better Future and Epson Connect are trademarks of Seiko Epson Corporation. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks. Copyright 2017 Epson America, Inc. CPD-53423 2/17


Konica Minolta Selects CIT as Top Overall Partner Konica Minolta employees selected CIT as “Best in Class” with the highest Net Promoter Score among their primary financing providers.* We humbly thank Konica Minolta for the recognition and are proud to serve the office imaging industry through our customer-focused approach. Learn about our winning solutions for manufacturers and dealers at cit.com/equipment-finance * In 2017, Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, Inc. surveyed its sales representatives and lease administrators, and asked them to rate their four primary leasing providers on a number of factors. CIT earned top honors for: Top Overall Partner, Best in Class, Overall Performance, Best Customer Satisfaction, Best Sales Representatives, and Best Processes/Systems. ©2018 CIT Group Inc. All rights reserved. CIT and the CIT logo are registered trademarks of CIT Group Inc.


MARCH 2018

VOLUME 25 NO. 3

Connecting People, Ideas and Products in the Document Technology Industry since 1994

MANAGED IT MARKET OFFERS UNLIMITED POTENTIAL FOR TURNKEY SOLUTION PROVIDERS

engage ‘n exchange COLLABRANCE USES EDUCATION AND A TURNKEY SOLUTION to Boil Managed IT Down to its Simplest Form BUILDING PROFITABLE Managed IT Services

In This Issue

24

DEALER SPOTLIGHT ECONOMIES OF SKILL AND KONICA MINOLTA RELATIONSHIP Drive All Covered Platform’s IT Success

A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps

Les Olson Company

Moving Onward and Upward

THE MISSING LINK in Helping Protect Businesses from Cybersecurity Attacks MANAGED IT SERVICES: The Profit is in Workforce Control

A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps Les Olson Company Moving Onward and Upward By Erik Cagle

16

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

Lucrative Managed IT Market Offers Unlimited Potential for Turnkey Solution Providers By Erik Cagle

36

32

MANAGED SERVICES

36

BUSINESS PROFILE

Building Profitable Managed IT Services By Charles Lamb

Collabrance Uses Education and a Turnkey Solution to Boil Managed IT Down to its Simplest Form By Erik Cagle

42

SECURITY

The Missing Link in Helping Protect Businesses from Cybersecurity Attacks By Henry Washburn

44

CHANNEL INSIGHT

Economies of Skill and Konica Minolta Relationship Drive All Covered Platform’s IT Success By Erik Cagle

50

44

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Managed IT Services: The Profit is in Workforce Control By Ray Stasieczko

52 6

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

52 54

INDUSTRY EVENT

55 56

PRINTER TECH TIP By LaserPros

Conversation with Marc Spring on ITEX 2018 SERVICE MANAGEMENT

Managed IT and the Service Department By Ken Edmonds

DISPLAY ADVERTISERS INDEX We Saw It In ENX Magazine


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Contributors

Staff

KEN EDMONDS is currently employed as a District Service Manager for a major copier manufacturer. He has an extensive background in the imaging business, having owned a successful dealership, serving as service manager for multiple dealerships, and as a Document Solutions Specialist for Sharp Electronics. He has more than 40 years of experience in the electronics and computer fields. For further information email him at Ken.Edmonds@CKE-Enterprises.biz

Susan Neimes Publisher & Managing Editor

CHARLES LAMB is the President and CEO of Mps&it Sales Consulting. His firm delivers proven methodologies and processes that assist dealer principals seeking a successful transformation into the managed services space. He’s created complementary solutions including Funnelmaker, Gatekeeper, and Shield IT services. For more info, call 888.823.0006, e-mail him at clamb@mpsandit.com, or visit www.mpsandit.com. RAY STASIECZKO is a veteran of more than 25 years in the imaging industry. A longtime writer and speaker on the industry circuit, Stasieczko helps organizations navigate their way through change in a quest to transform the way they do business. The ways of delivery, sales approach, and marketing are redefining a decades-old deliverable. Managed print is just a small component of the greater deliverable of managed services. Today dealers must extract as much profitability from their print deliverable in order to invest in their diversification. BEI Services has the facts and statistics allowing its partners to benefit greatly in accomplishing that. He can be reached at ray.stasieczko@beiservices.com

Erik Cagle Editorial Director

HENRY WASHBURN is Datto’s Senior Competitive Intelligence Manger. Washburn coaches organizations on how to be trusted advisors to their clients when it comes to managed services; this includes data protection and security procedures. He has become a subject matter expert in ransomware with a specific focus on the growing threat to small- and mid-sized organizations around the world. Washburn spends a large portion of his time educating the industry on this emerging issue and best practices for threat prevention and remediation. He believes that education is key to reducing security risks and that it is every employee’s job to mitigate potential risks to the business. To that end, he continues to coach and train people to make sure they are part of the defensive strategy. He can be reached at hwashburn@datto.com.

Ronelle Ingram Contributing Editor

Christina Kim

Stay Connected Share Your Views

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www.enxmag.com | March 2018

ENX Magazine is published monthly by Affinity Business Communications, Inc. Any inquiries should be sent to: enx@pacbell.net or mailed to the corporate office. Copyright ©2018 by ENX Magazine printed in the U.S.A. All reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without written permission. Cover photo from depositphotos.com

We Saw It In ENX Magazine


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NBS / ENX | March 2018


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All supplies & Parts available for prompt delivery! ENX Magazine | www.enxmag.com

All prices, rebates, and availability are subject to change without notice. Please call us to confirm.

Nuworld is not responsible for typographical errors or inaccurate specifications. Registered trademarks are properties of their respective owners.


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NBS / ENX | March 2018


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NBS / ENX | March 2018


Erik Cagle

State of the Industry

Lucrative Managed IT Market Offers Unlimited Potential for Turnkey Solution Providers

A

ny conversation involving managed IT generally centers on the 8,000-pound gorilla in the room: security. Last summer, more than 143 million U.S. consumers saw their personal information (social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc.) exposed in the Equifax breach. And 2018 was ushered in with the revelation of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that tapped into most mainstream processors to expose user information. We’ve tapped a security expert, Datto’s own Henry Washburn, who penned a must-read companion piece on the nuances of platform security as a deep dive on the subject. For our purposes here, we’ve canvassed a number of larger office technology dealers, managed IT specialists and turnkey platform providers to explore the vast opportunities that still exist to provide guidance, measurement and service to the network galaxies of their customer base.

THE MANAGED IT FORECAST IS VERY BRIGHT IN TERMS OF DOLLAR SPEND AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES THAT THE IOT ARE GOING TO BRING TO THE SOLUTION PROVIDER CONTROLLING THE CUSTOMER’S NETWORK. Greg VanDeWalker, Collabrance/GreatAmerica Financial Services

Yes, the office technology channel has heard the incessant beating of this drum before, yet statistics bear out that this sector of managed services remains one of the most untapped sources for adding net-new business. Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president of IT Channel and Services for Collabrance and GreatAmerica Financial Services, notes a Computer Economics study from 2016 analyzing the print and IT spends for customers revealed 98 percent is ticketed toward IT and only 2 percent for print.

Controlling the Network

Indeed, the window of managed IT opportunity appears to be getting wider, thanks in no small degree to the networking growth offered by the 16

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

Internet of Things (IoT), according to VanDeWalker. “If you’re a managed IT organization currently handling the obvious IT infrastructure—desktops, servers, firewalls, BDR—eventually you’re going to have an opportunity to start layering in other things connected to the customer’s network, and potentially charge for monitoring and managing some of those high-yield devices,” he said. “The managed IT forecast is very bright in terms of dollar spend and future opportunities that the IoT are going to bring to the solution provider controlling the customer’s network.” As technology becomes more complex, companies are more reliant on vendors and resources beyond their own four walls to help them manage and support their network needs, according to Michael Amiri, senior director of Dealer Services at Continuum. From a dealer’s perspective, the financial gains offered through managed IT greatly outpace a dealer’s core deliverables. As dealers can reap net margins upwards of 35 percent, Amiri feels it is imperative for dealers to avail themselves of this lucrative growth platform. “Dealers have to adapt to what the marketplace is asking of their office technology vendors,” he said. “A one-stop-shop approach to managing an entire network is key to becoming more relevant to the everyday end client.”

Internal Source Overload

Perhaps the greatest target range for scaling managed IT lies within the SMB sector. Bob Maxwell, owner of South Charleston, WV-based KOMAX Business Systems, notes that many SMBs rely on a single person in-house or an external staff to navigate its IT department, yet can outgrow their resources in short order. This can result in system down time and a loss in productivity. It is not uncommon for businesses to unwittingly find themselves in need of a major overhaul when it comes to hardware or software. Whether they’re unaware or ill equipped to handle the needs, or lack the information necessary to make an informed decision, it creates an opening for dealers to perform a thorough analysis and execute a game plan that can lock in a client for the long haul.

We Saw It In ENX Magazine

continued on page 18


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Lucrative Managed IT Market Offers Unlimited Potential for Turnkey Solution Providers “This puts KOMAX in a perfect position to offer our expertise with IT and managed services,” Maxwell said. “Our goal has always been to offer the best product and service supported by the best people—our employees.” The demand for convenience and efficiency is driving the opportunities presented by managed IT, according to Kia Robinson, managed services sales manager for New York Citybased Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office. This challenges service providers to remain at the fore of trends and learn how new services can enhance the client experience. “The potential is limitless,” Robinson said. “Our goal is to help them utilize technology to expand their business, improve employee productivity and remain competitive within their respective industries. As long as a technological mind remains challenged to expand its creativity into the unknown, there will always be an opportunity for growth.”

I DO FEEL IF YOUR COMPANY ISN’T EQUIPPED TO HANDLE IT, THEN IN TIME IT WILL AFFECT OTHER PORTIONS OF YOUR BUSINESS. IT HELPS TO SHOW CLIENTS AND POTENTIAL CLIENTS THAT YOU AREN’T A ‘ME, TOO’ COPIER COMPANY AND THAT YOUR TEAM HAS TRUE DEPTH. Chris Falzett, Topp Business Solutions Market saturation is one factor that can temper enthusiasm. But Chris Falzett, president of Scranton, PA-based Topp Business Solutions and its Topp IT Services division, notes his dealership has gained organic traction with the value-added service. He finds having the IT technical staff an added bonus for handling the solutions support required on the copier side of the business. “We have been in the IT business for decades within the health care vertical, providing digital dictation, speech recognition and coding solutions, so expanding our team to provide down-thestreet IT services was a natural transition,” Falzett said. “I do feel if your company isn’t equipped to handle IT, then in time it will affect other portions of your business. It helps to show clients and potential clients that you aren’t a ‘me, too’ copier company and that your team has true depth. Having the ability to be a partner and not just a vendor is a good thing.”

One of the keys to profitability, according to George, is the continued cohesiveness that exists between the sales ranks and the MNS technical staff. He feels the account managers are the quarterbacks for their respective clients and it is incumbent upon them to drive MNS activity within those accounts.

THE COLLUSION OF BOTH SALES AND MNS TEAMS IS WHERE THE MAGIC IS. WE TRY TO AVOID HARDWARE-ONLY SALES. WE ARE LOOKING FOR LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS THAT ARE VALUABLE TO BOTH SIDES. Jim George, Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises “The collusion of both sales and MNS teams is where the magic is,” George said. “We try to avoid hardware-only sales. We are looking for long-term partnerships that are valuable to both sides. “We have a quarterly review process that allows the account manager to identify a MNS opportunity. Once identified and qualified, the rep will bring in a subject matter expert that will assist with the solution.” One of the primary staples in the quest for profitability lies in having a true understanding of how to maximize efficiencies, according to Calvin Wanner, the sales manager for Verticomm, the IT division for Denver-based All Copy Products. “People and employees are your product,” he said. “The better an MNS company can understand and satisfy the needs of a client, the greater the potential for revenue and profitability.” Striking a proper pricing balance commensurate with services goes a long way toward keeping clients and adding to your bottom line, KOMAX’s Maxwell observes. He has seen cases where short-sighted MSPs lose money over the long term by underpricing services in order to close the deal. KOMAX relies on All Covered to ensure proper market pricing for services, hardware and software. When the dealer sells projects through All Covered, it works with project managers to ensure everyone

PEOPLE AND EMPLOYEES ARE YOUR PRODUCT. THE BETTER AN MNS COMPANY CAN UNDERSTAND AND SATISFY THE NEEDS OF A CLIENT, THE GREATER THE POTENTIAL FOR REVENUE AND PROFITABILITY.

Paths to Profitability

Some dealerships predict an unlimited ceiling for managed IT to account for a lion’s share of its business, and Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises (DME) of Cincinnati is among them. DME President Jim George projects his managed network services business will account for more than 50 percent of overall business during the next five years. 18

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

Calvin Wanner, All Copy-Verticomm continued on page 20 We Saw It In ENX Magazine


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19


Lucrative Managed IT Market Offers Unlimited Potential for Turnkey Solution Providers A DEALER THAT HAS A FIXEDFEE IT LABOR PARTNER THAT ACHIEVES SCALE CAN DRASTICALLY DECREASE LABOR COSTS AND ENSURE AN ELASTIC SET OF RESOURCES THAT ALWAYS MEETS THE CHALLENGES OF INCREASING RESOURCE NEEDS AS THE NUMBERS OF USERS SUPPORTED GROWS OVER TIME. Michael Amiri, Continuum involved fully understands what is expected during and at the completion of the project.

T

“This allows us to provide an accurate statement of work with pricing to the client,” Maxwell said. “The pricing is always clear and we know exactly what we need to charge for all services before we sell them. When possible, KOMAX staff will implement part or all of a project. This helps increase margins and keep our staff sharp on all technologies.”

Employee Competencies

Continuum’s Amiri is a firm believer in the notion that how a dealer acquires its labor force is the most critical factor in determining profitability. IT labor has the dual-edge sword of being difficult to find and costly to maintain, yet it is the best avenue toward delivering high-quality customer support. “A dealer that has a fixed-fee IT labor partner that achieves scale can drastically decrease labor costs and ensure an elastic set of resources that always meets the challenges of increasing resource needs as the numbers of users supported grows over time,” Amiri said.

Obstacles to Success: Avoiding the Tripping Points

he road to success for managed IT is often potholed, unwittingly, by managed service providers who don’t follow a linear process for sales, engagement, assessment, implementation and follow-up. While these observations may seem rather obvious, there are still too many firms who lack a repeatable and consistent sales process, according to Michael Amiri, senior director of Dealer Services at Continuum. “Selling managed IT services is different from selling imaging technology, so let’s ensure that the sales team is ready to pivot to something new,” he said. “The core sales team must be provided with the appropriate IT sales specialists, the right kind of IT sales vetting training and all of the relevant sales/marketing tools to propagate the story on how an office equipment dealer is the most suitable selection to become that one-stop-shop across a client’s network. If the sales team is not confident in the IT services offering or if they don’t have the proper resources to generate success, the venture is sure to fail.”

A Core Business

Dealerships who opt to buy into a managed IT company often fall short when it comes to providing that acquisition with the necessary resources to grow and become profitable under new leadership. And whether the path dealers take is acquiring a company or partnering with a Master MSP platform, it is essential for dealers to regard managed IT as a core business, notes Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president of IT Channel and Services at Collabrance.

Approaching managed IT with an “à la carte” mentality can be problematic and prevent dealers from realizing the highest margins the offering promises. “Some companies will sell a backup/disaster recovery solution just to do something in IT, but you can’t put enough of those out there at a high enough margin to really make that a successful business model,” VanDeWalker said. “You’re fixing one problem but leaving so many unanswered, and competitors will come in and address all of the customer’s technology issues with their managed IT solutions. You will become irrelevant in a short amount of time. Successful providers commit to a being a fully outsourced IT source for their customers, a trusted technology advisor and that’s where providers get the highest value.” Managed IT providers must be adept at performing technical as well as business assessments for their clients. VanDeWalker notes the technical assessment is the easy part. The business assessment—interviewing the key stakeholders within a client, understanding how they use technology, learning their pain points, discovering past problems and unearthing their limitations and goals—is more critical to the success of securing a managed service contract. “We see a lot of companies who don’t appreciate the sophisticated level of sale required to sell a managed service contract,” he said. “A managed IT sale takes more time and you have to be patient with the process, follow all the steps and do it the right way. Sometimes we see companies try to take shortcuts, and that usually doesn’t yield high margin contracts. Providers who follow a proven sales process close more sales and bigger margins that increase their business valuation with monthly recurring revenue. ” ♦ continued on page 22

20

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

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Lucrative Managed IT Market Offers Unlimited Potential for Turnkey Solution Providers OUR ENTIRE TEAM FEELS THAT THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE GROWTH OF THE DIVISION. SHARED SUCCESS CREATES A WIN-WIN CULTURE, NOT WINLOSS. Kia Robinson, Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office

Unlike the copier side of the business, VanDeWalker cautions that not every customer is an ideal fit for managed IT services. The managed service providers have a firm grasp on their ideal customer profile and tend not to deviate into businesses who are markedly bigger or smaller than the target range. It can be tough for dealers to stick to their guns, but given the complexity of IT, it behooves dealers to remain disciplined. Standardization is another area VanDeWalker sees as being critical to driving managed IT profits, as deviating from a standard technology stack can be problematic for several reasons. “You can’t become proficient with all the different types of technologies out there,” he said. “Having a standard stack of technology that you’re skillful at and getting your end users to adopt it is key. Some dealers take an approach where no matter what is in that customer environment, they bring it on. These dealers end up with a very noisy service desk with service tickets that take too long to resolve because it’s an older technology or an unfamiliar one. This can result in a frustrating experience for customers. In this case, you’re just burning money and resources in a very inefficient way. The more you can have your customers standardized on the same BDR, firewall and email platform, the ability to solve issues before they happen drastically increases. If there is an issue, it’s probably something you’ve seen dozens of times before and can now provide a faster resolution to help your customers.” Robinson of Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office outlined four critical steps to attaining profitability: investing in people, empowering them, exercising extreme ownership and creating an infectious environment that is obsessed with excellence. Taken as a whole, these four areas can ensure a dealership’s team is tending to client needs and using good business judgment without compromising customer service. “Our entire team feels that they have contributed to the growth of the division,” she said. “Shared success creates a winwin culture, not win-loss.”

Gateways to Success

Every victorious marathon runner emerges from a race with his/her share of blisters, and it is also true of the office dealer world that for every successful win in the MSP space, there are bumps and bruises that were accumulated along the way. One 22

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

of the keys to Topp’s success has been maintaining realistic expectation. Just because a dealer has managed to penetrate an account with copier business isn’t an automatic given that a managed IT contract is a fait accompli. Falzett notes his company has been able to leverage its strengths in hardware and document management in generating growth for the IT division. When customers realize a dealer like Topp has such wide-ranging value, it precludes the need to be the lowest-cost provider. From a lessons learned perspective, creating balance within the IT staff is critical to providing a strong solution. “I learned quickly from our leadership team that your IT services division is like a basketball team, and having all point guards or all centers doesn’t work,” Falzett said. “You need to strike a healthy balance of skill sets and then begin the internal cross-training from there. Have a true team with complementing skills that works together and gets your entry level technicians proficient in a hurry.”

PERIODICALLY DISCUSSING OUR OFFERINGS WITH POTENTIAL CLIENTS—AND ESPECIALLY CURRENT CLIENTS—IS KEY. Bob Maxwell, KOMAX

Verticomm’s Wanner believes much of his division’s success can be traced back to following processes and procedures. “There is always a moving target and a new product,” he said. “In order to continue to be successful, one must be current on technology, security, the cloud, etc., while not jeopardizing the client experience.” In the eyes of KOMAX’s Maxwell, the road to success begins with a carefully cultivated IT team of experienced professionals who understand the complexities of dealing with a varied customer core with unique needs, environments and personalities. KOMAX’s staff boasts a bevy of veterans with more than 15 years of IT experience under their belts, and 10plus years in the managed IT environment. Getting the word out regarding your dealership’s IT competencies can be an overlooked aspect. Too often, Maxwell has heard the phrase “you do that?” from clients who assumed the dealership only trafficked in printers and copiers. “Some businesses will not be ready for managed IT or switching providers,” he said. “Periodically discussing our offerings with potential clients—and especially current clients— is key. When they are ready to start or are in need of a change in IT services, we want them to think of KOMAX.” ♦ We Saw It In ENX Magazine


Erik Cagle

DealerBriefing Spotlight News

A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps Les Olson Company Moving Onward and Upward

L

ike millions of other Americans, Les Olson grew up during the Great Depression, a time in which family was just about the only thing many people could count on. And even there, Olson’s losses were heart-wrenching. An older brother passed away, and on Les’ first day of high school, his father died. That prompted him to leave school and help support the family. Sadly, it was not an uncommon tale for a generation that endured constant hardship and World War II. “Les was hard on us. He kicked our butts when we needed it,” observed his grandson, Troy. “His was a special generation.

Nothing is given. There’s no nepotism or sense of entitlement here.” Olson created the Les Olson Company in 1956, providing dictation machines, and all 12 of his children spent time working there. Now, under thirdgeneration leadership of Lisa Thaller, CFO and chairman, Troy Olson, president, and James Olson, CEO, the Salt Lake City-based dealership (which counts 19 family members as shareholders) has grown to a $50 million firm with eight locations in the state of Utah and another in Las Vegas. Les Olson Company is proud of its 42-year relationship with

Leading executives of Les Olson Co. and Sharp Electronics gather during the Les Olson Co. 2017 sales award banquet, held in January. Shown from the left are Lisa Thaller, Les Olson Co. CFO and Chairman of the Board, Pete Salmon, Sharp Electronics Vice President of Regional Sales and Service Operations, West; Rich Klug, Sharp Electronics Associate Director of Western Support; John Sheehan, Sharp Electronics Vice President of Sales; Steve Oda, Sharp Electronics Senior Vice President; Ted Kawamura, Sharp Electronics Chairman; Doug Albregts, Sharp Electronics of America President and CEO; James Olson, Les Olson Co. CEO; Mike Marusic, Sharp Electronics COO; Kirk Kahla, Sharp Electronics Senior DSS 24

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(from left) Troy Olson, President and James Olson, CEO

its top partner, Sharp, and is the OEM’s largest independent dealer in the United States. The dealer is also a gold partner with HP, counts software solution relationships with DocuWare and PaperCut (among others) and relies on Continuum, Sophos, and Datto for its IT solutions. The dealer serves virtually every business vertical in its markets, with health care and mortgage leading the way. From its legendary customer service to its catchy advertising jingle, Les Olson Company underscores the value of relationships not only with clients but within its “family” of nearly 250 employees. Cousins James and Troy offered a glimpse into how embracing technology while maintaining old-fashioned values and ethics has kept the 62-year-old firm as fresh and relevant as the day Les Olson himself first opened the doors. How was business in 2017? JAMES: It was a phenomenal year for Les Olson Company. We experienced tremendous growth continued on page 24


A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps Les Olson Company Moving Onward and Upward they’re heading and how their business is doing. That enables us to have a better impact on their business, and it sets Les Olson Company apart from the competition. Not many family-owned dealerships can boast a lineage that traces back more than 60 years. How do you maintain consistency in the face of changing products and technologies?

Les Olson Co. executive team members accept an honor during the 2017 Utah Best of State awards ceremony. Shown from the left are Troy Olson, President; Keith Adams, Vice President of IT; Matt Olson, Chief Technology Officer; and James Olson, CEO

in our managed IT and MPS, with both departments recording double-digital growth. We also had single-digit growth in image and print. As you look across the industry, that seems to be down, but we’re up. It was a solid year for Les Olson Company in every way. What does Les Olson Company pride itself on? TROY: We’re a tech company, and we pride ourselves on being the best service provider in any of our markets. Our founder, Les, had a phrase, “Good service isn’t expensive, it’s priceless,” and our business is built on that philosophy. We are a platinum-level service provider for Sharp, and that’s a select group. We’ve passed all of HPs certifications and were accepted into their PageWide XL program. All of our technicians at each of our branches have gone through extensive training, and James has been very instrumental in helping develop that program. Your company boasts many longstanding relationships with customers. What factors have enabled you to sustain a high level of customer retention? JAMES: Les Olson Company prides itself in serving the community where 26

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we work. It’s all about our people, who do a phenomenal job. We provide great products at competitive prices and we sell value. It goes back to the customer service we provide to our customers and having relationships that Troy, myself and others on the executive management team help develop. We do ride-alongs with sales people and we’re in the field meeting with clients, talking to customers about their needs, where

TROY: The history of our company goes back to a man who absolutely loved and embraced technology. He used to talk about the day we’d have self-driving cars and we thought he was kind of crazy. He saw things we didn’t. Ray Olson, former Chairman of Les Olson Company and my direct supervisor, was the first one at our company to put a computer on his desk, and people thought he was crazy to do that. We grew our IT business organically three years ago, but we’ve had our own internal IT staff for nearly 20 years. They built our whole infrastructure, even installing most of the cabling in our buildings. We already knew how to do it right. We just made a $650,000 investment in a new network operations center. The managed IT platform was something we started planning on about six years ago, and we continue to adapt to technology.

Members of the Olson family gather around company patriarch Les Olson (seated, holding child) continued on page 28 We Saw It In ENX Magazine


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A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps Les Olson Company Moving Onward and Upward inventing ourselves to stay competitive in today’s business landscape.

Les Olson Co.’s shareholders; the company is now in its third generation of family ownership

We have a philosophy that the world is going to change with or without you, so you might as well change with it and be one of the leaders. Recently, Doug Albregts and Mike Marusic from Sharp presented the concept of their new Smart Office technology. We can’t wait for the products and solutions that are going to come, because we want to take advantage of them. This love for technology comes from the top down at Les Olson Company.

INTELLOS security robots. We’re interested in seeing where they go with that technology. We continue to watch what all manufacturers are doing, even though we’re very loyal to Sharp. We’re excited about the Foxconn/Sharp relationship and we believe it’s going to add a lot of growth opportunities for us as an independent dealer. I serve on their dealer advisory council and it’s been a really good forum for us to have open dialog with the execs of Sharp.

What are some of your newer areas of business? Is it going the way you hoped? JAMES: With managed IT, we have been adapting to the landscape of the marketplace as things have changed in the IT space. We’re a company that is able to be nimble, and as we’re looking at that marketplace, we’ve made changes based on the feedback that we’re getting from the field. We’re finding out what the customer needs and we’re adapting to those needs to bring the best solution to compete. TROY: It took about two years to make a profit in managed IT. We’ve learned a lot in three years. We partnered with a company called Growth Achievement Partners, who did fantastic job consulting and helping us grow that business.

One of the measures your dealership relies upon is feedback from review sites. Can you provide insight into your growth of positive feedback, especially through Google? JAMES: In today’s marketplace, when choosing a vendor most of us like to see what others have to say. We look at what others feel about a particular company and how customers describe their experiences with that company. With our Google reviews, our branches are rated independently. Our customers speak volumes for what you can expect from Les Olson Company. TROY: These reviews on Google provide valuable insight into our business to our clients and to us. Our growth of positive feedback is thanks to great employees who faithfully serve our client base. Chris Weenig, our chief sales and marketing officer, is a visionary who is very progressive with our marketing & sales strategy. He is constantly looking over the horizon to ensure that we are re-

Is there a product or solution that you are looking to add in the near future? TROY: Currently, we’re looking at Sharp technologies such as their 28

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Your company has gained notoriety for its TV and radio advertising jingle, which has resonated with customers. Tell us about its development and strength as a point of differentiation. TROY: Larry, my father, felt that we needed a jingle because a lot of companies have memorable jingles. We have relationships with a lot of local TV and radio stations, and our CBS affiliate brought in a local recording artist. She learned a little bit about our history and wrote the jingle. When she sang it for the first time in front of the board, they looked at each other and said, ‘That’s it! No changes.’ They loved it. We’ve updated the jingle over the years to keep it current. Many people recognize us for our jingle. We’ve had jingle singing contests with clients where we’ve given prizes to the individuals who could sing it the best, word for word. One time at an event, a competitor came up to me and said we needed to get rid of the jingle. Apparently, he heard his daughter humming a song, and when he asked her what it was, she started to sing our jingle. He told her not to sing it. We had a good laugh about it. What do you look for in your employees? How do you recruit and retain good ones? JAMES: That first interaction you have with a candidate during the interview sets the tone. What their resume looks like matters, but we want to know about them as individuals. We’re hiring people to represent our company and they must have a customer service mindset. Whether they’re customerfacing or internal, they need good people skills. We recruit people in a number of ways—recruiters, local job listings, universities and community colleges. As far as retention, we have a profit sharing program. We match their 401Ks and provide a good, safe environment for people to work. We have people who’ve been employed here for more than 40 years, which is incredible. We support our people whenever they go through a

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A Passion for People, Service and Technology Keeps Les Olson Company Moving Onward and Upward

Sales and executive personnel from Les Olson Co., Clover Imaging Group and Las Vegas Motor Speedway take a moment to enjoy court side access prior to a Utah Jazz basketball game in 2017. Shown from left are Chris Weenig, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Les Olson Co.; Dave Augason, Les Olson Co. Salt Lake Sales Manager; Brandon Stoker, Les Olson Co. Senior Account Executive; Kevin Camper, Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Joshua DeBear, Clover Imaging Group; Naysan Gray, Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Troy Olson, Les Olson Co. President; Jesse Fisco, Les Olson Co. Account Executive

personal or family crisis. The Les Olson Company is built on love and loyalty. We are very passionate about the people. What was your biggest challenge in the past year? TROY: Dealing with the compressed margins and low pricing in the industry. It started on the hardware side a few years ago, and now the cost-per-page level is really under attack. We mainly compete with direct manufacturers and a couple of larger dealers in our market. It seems like it’s a race to the bottom, and while there’s still a lot of loyalty, there’s a segment of the SMB that’s price-driven. For them, they need to experience the poor level of service that comes with buying on price. But there’s also been some opportunity in the last few months with a couple of larger manufacturers changing their goto-market strategies. You can only afford to give it away and bleed for so long. As soon as you lay off people, the service goes downhill. We refuse to do that. It is what’s made Les Olson so successful. People buy from who they know, like and trust. If you have strong relationships and back them up with service, you will be successful. 30

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What are your goals for 2018? JAMES: Our goal is to continue to grow our business. Our newest branch opened Jan. 2 this year in Manti, Utah, which is in the eastern part of the state. We’re seeing that with some of the less populated areas of the state, having that brick-and-mortar local resource makes a huge difference. Our managed IT is a key initiative, because it’s the future of where we’re all headed. Print has been reducing, but we believe that we can take away business from competition through the people that we hire, our strong business practices and best-in-class service. We’re really excited about 2018; our recent kickoff meeting was the best we’ve had to date. What do you enjoy most about your job? What are your least favorite aspects of it? TROY: Being out with our sales team in the field, helping cultivate relationships and close business is by far my favorite part. I’m a sales guy. I love watching the success of our people, whether it’s our customers or co-workers. We just had our sales award meeting and it’s very rewarding to see these team members who have worked really hard get recognized at the end of the year. I’d say

my least liked aspect is the time spent away from my immediate family; but that is what the job requires. JAMES: The finest aspect of my job is serving the co-workers. From the customer relations side, I love being with our people in the field when I can. I come from the service side, so my comfort level is a little different. The greatest joy you can get is serving them, being there for them even if it’s an outside-of-work issue. I feel that’s a responsibility that we should take on as an employer. If they’re having an issue, we can and should help them. If they’re happy at home, then they’re happy at work. My least favorite part would be the pressure that comes with running a large organization, looking at each of the peaks and valleys of where we’re headed next and what’s our strategy. It is fun, but it can also be stressful. We’re blessed to be in a wonderful business with fantastic people. Outside of work, what do you do for fun? JAMES: I’m an outdoorsman, a hunter. The most important thing is my family, being with my wife—we just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary—our two children and their spouses. I have two grandchildren who mean the world to me. TROY: I’m an outdoors guy as well. We’re blessed with incredible mountains in Utah, and you can get up to 12,000 feet in a hurry. We have trails for running, hiking, enjoying the back country. I have three granddaughters, two children and I’ve been married for more than 30 years. We’re two blessed guys; our sweet wives are our biggest fans and cheerleaders. JAMES: Troy definitely has mountain skills. We like to call him the human goat. Talk about getting to 12,000 feet very quickly…he can get there in a hurry because he climbs hills like a mountain goat. He competes in 100-mile ultramarathons. Troy has literally been running for decades. He’s an extreme athlete out in the wilderness. ♦

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Charles Lamb

Managed Services News Briefing

Building Profitable Managed IT Services

A

Adding products and services to any business doesn’t automatically mean the business will grow or be more profitable. It seems the process used most often is to shove the new products into the sales bag and push the reps out the door. When adding new products, one should always focus intensely to assure the best results possible.

nalyzing a sales team’s performance isn’t as simple as just reviewing top-line revenue. The assumption that one is successful because last year’s number was lower than this year’s number is wrong. I won’t argue that a higher number isn’t better necessarily; I will argue that it doesn’t mean your business is better off. I always want to know: where did the increase come from? Is your entire sales team successful or just a few? Is your market penetration strategy working? Achieving sustainable growth and profit levels especially when new products are introduced demands a well-balanced strategy and implementation process. Even if your business produces a healthy profit now, it doesn’t mean you’ll maintain that profit level once products are launched, so be careful. Any large distraction like adding managed IT services can take one’s eye off the ball. I can’t tell you how many times a business owner has told me, “I used to make a lot of money before we added IT services!” So, the question you should be asking yourself is: is your business ready to expand to add IT services and can you do it profitably? I believe that expertly managed sales organizations have an easier time achieving this position. The problem is they are few and far between. What do I mean by expertly managed? This would be a sales organization where 80 percent of the sales team is successful, and sales forecast is 70 percent accurate, consistently. IF THAT DOESN’T DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY, wait on adding managed 32

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IT services in your company. Raise your sales execution to an expert level, and then add your services. It’ll create a more solid growth opportunity. I remember years ago on the confidence course in boot camp, there were several obstacles that were more difficult than others and the drill sergeant would hover around those specific obstacles and yell and scream at anyone who couldn’t master them. For some, no amount of yelling and screaming made a difference. Some just couldn’t get through them. Like today, it doesn’t matter how much a vendor, manufacturer or NOC provider tells you; “You can sell IT services!” Some just can’t. So, if you are one of the companies that can sell managed IT services, how will you assure yourself that it’s a profitable venture? As the copier lifecycle is now mature, you must have some plan for the future and new products or services that will take its place. One of the first priorities in setting up managed IT is to watch it very closely. Set up your accounting so it tracks everything — all costs and income associated with managed IT services. Your advertising, business development, sales, admin and support personnel and all overhead costs need to be tracked. This sets up your ability to know if your managed IT program is a positive or negative addition. Make sure you protect your core business revenue. A long time ago, the auto insurance industry created the multi-car discount program that resulted in a major win-win situation. Customers with more than one vehicle got better rates and protection,

and the insurance company expanded their market-share exponentially. This program contributed greatly to the growth of the insurance titans. Taking this kind of approach for managed services seems to be a nobrainer. Most dealers raise their lease and maintenance agreement rates annually anyway, so in the next increase throw in a few “transformation” products (antivirus, security, firewall, help desk, etc.) giving your customers a small taste of your IT services and giving your sales team an entry point to discuss upgrading to more comprehensive coverage. One of the highest profit opportunities for managed IT providers is finding smaller businesses (clients or not) that have grown enough to where their network’s performance is becoming a problem and yet they haven’t begun to solve those problems. If you have an effective market penetration process, they should be easy to identify. Also ask your technicians who are in five businesses each day. They certainly notice clients who are growing. Managing networks is a very competitive environment so nurturing those smaller “growing” clients through their technology evolution is a great way to develop profitable engagements. Managing networks carries with it a major responsibility. Developing that type of reputation doesn’t come easy and certainly dictates that you hire the highest level of expertise in your market. And hiring can be a very expensive venture — one of the reasons why network providers often operate at a loss when starting out.

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continued on page 34


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Building Profitable Managed IT Services Back in Black?

Once your IT services are in the black, protecting contract renewals becomes a very important topic. Be careful; once your client’s network problems go away, it’s easy for them to lose sight of your value and whether they should renew. Knowing that renewals have a definite impact on your profitability, your communication with each network client must be paramount. Learn their business, their industry and the challenges they face. Helping them blueprint their network requirements for the future will drive your renewals and thus your profits. Show them extreme value and don’t let them forget! Where in your marketplace can you go to find prospects that “most likely” would see your managed IT as a value? There is an appropriate target size. When you zero in on that, it’s possible you can create a stronger pipeline sooner than you think. Let’s look at growth and profit drivers for managed IT services: • Consider your customer base for your first approach. Build IT services that your clients “need” that produce high value for them and multi-level profits for you. • When building your pipeline for your high-value managed IT deliverables, make sure your business development team has a strategy to find first-time managed IT prospects within your marketplace. • Your business development team for managed IT services should include a focused approach to both existing and new customers. • Turn on your service techs as an additional customer base vehicle. They’re a great team to walk managed IT deliverables into your existing customer base. They can create a wonderful addition to your pipeline. • You’re a full office technology provider— bundle your managed IT services into all copier proposals. Create packages that other IT service providers can’t. • Make sure your managed IT service agreements are easy to explain, sell 34

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and implement. If it takes an abacus and slide rule to create a proposal, that’s bad. If sales reps can’t say it, they can’t sell it. • Lead your marketplace; don’t be a follower. Flexible technology that grows and shrinks with the customer should be a strong consideration. Finally, a key driver for strong managed IT profits is your comp plan. If you’ve designed a highly competitive, affordable and flexible managed IT package, your sales team will sell it. I’ve been asked to address the comp plan that would accompany a managed IT agreement that can flex up or down as the client’s business changes. Please remember the old saying; don’t put all your eggs in the same basket, so keep a strong portion of your business on traditional models. Not every client can be attached to an agreement with no bottom. Flexible technology agreements seem to be a more popular topic than ever before. To deliver flex-tech you must be able to compensate for it. It’s a mindset and you must change your thinking from hardware profit to an invisible services profit model. Specifically, you as a company have to figure out how much profit is generated in each inbound “IT services” dollar and then build a compensation program around that profit. A compensation plan built on flex-tech services would have a total monthly consideration and an

Inbound Monthly Revenue

overall profit percentage consideration. This can get confusing so let me give an example. The Flex-Tech Sales Reps comp matrix below shares the inbound monthly revenue for a single sales rep, a monthly profit percentage result and the growth hit/bonus opportunity to assure continual growth. Use the lower table to obtain the payout multiplier percentages that feed the upper table. Obviously, the below rates and bonus percentages are placeholders to show how the math on this commission plan works. You might choose completely different rates and percentages for your company. The goal is to establish compensation that is not based on hardware profit, but rather based on a sales rep bringing in monthly contracted “profitable” revenue that accommodates the potential of a client flexing up or down inside of any agreement. The flex-tech sales compensation matrix pays off total monthly inbound revenue blended with a rolling profit percentage which changes their payout as each new month contributes new results. Reps must grow their monthly revenue to achieve their growth bonus. The shrink “hit” deduction is executed when a sales rep fails to grow their revenue-profit numbers. If built correctly they care about keeping those numbers as high and as profitable as they can, resulting in a win-win situation for all. ♦

JAN

FEB

MAR

8,000.00

9,000.00

7,800.00

Proft Percentage

35%

20%

42%

Commission Due

$800.00

$720.00

$1,560.00

Growth Hit/Bonus

$0.00

$450.00

$780.00

Commission Due

$800.00

$1,170.00

$780.00

FLEX-TECH COMPENSATION MATRIX Profit level Commission Rates Growth Bonus Shrink Hit

Low Comp

Medium Comp

High Comp

20% & Below

21%- 39%

40%& Up

8%

10%

20%

5%

5%

5%

-10%

-10%

-10%

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35


Erik Cagle

Business Profile

Collabrance Uses Education and a Turnkey Solution to Boil Managed IT Down to its Simplest Form At the onset of its creation, the founding principles for Collabrance walked hand-in-hand with the company’s mission: Helping our customers achieve greater success.

T

he task at hand wasn’t an easy one; the company wanted to take an industry as complex and convoluted as managed IT and bundle it into a single-source, turnkey solution its customer base could quickly and effectively sell to end users. Formed in 2009, the Cedar Rapids, IA-based wholly-owned subsidiary of GreatAmerica Financial Services has a deep appreciation for the knowledge and investment required to provide the full gamut of a true managed IT offering. Collabrance is also aware of the multitude of managed service providers (MSPs) and platform providers who offer varying degrees of managed IT competencies in piecemeal fashion. As it has developed its own offering, the Master MSP established a vision for what it wanted managed IT to look like based on a customer’s needs, according to Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president of IT Channel and Services for Collabrance and GreatAmerica Financial Services. “We are not an à la carte Master MSP,” VanDeWalker said. “You can’t come to us and just use our network operations center, our help desk or one or two little pieces—for that I’d refer you to one of our competitors. If you’re looking for a partner to really be a full-service turnkey outsourced managed IT option, we are the company for you.” At just shy of 50 employees, Collabrance shares the GreatAmerica facility in Cedar Rapids and offers a live-answer help desk that is 100 percent U.S.-based. The two companies work closely with one another, identifying lead opportunities and providing customers the benefit of managed IT and leasing services under 36

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Greg VanDeWalker

one roof. Traditionally, Collabrance primarily served the office technology dealer channel, but in 2017 expanded their offering to MSPs as well.

Remediation Efficiency

Collabrance serves dealers and MSPs of all sizes, from as small as three-employee operations, with the shared vision of turnkey solutions being the primary unifier. Part of the beauty behind the Collabrance value proposition is its private labeled help desk support. More than 95 percent of all tickets are remotely remediated by Collabrance, which is opaque to the end user. “One benefit to our partners is that we’re only kicking five percent of the help desk tickets back to them,” VanDeWalker explained. “Because of this efficiency, our partners don’t require the same number of technical engineers on staff that

a typical MSP must have. With some of our competitors, they’re clearing 60 to 70 percent of the tickets on a good day. Our customers can have fewer headcount and accomplish the same things. “We want partners who we can go all in with, because that’s where we can bring the most value. If they believe in selling the all-in managed IT solution to their customer, we’re going to be a great option.” What Collabrance brings to its partners is the ability to demonstrate the turnkey value to clients in a space that is buzzing with competition. The Master MSP provides its clients with the tools and education to help convey the full package value to end users as opposed to narrow solutions focused on just BDR, for example, or “trunk slammers,” whose primarily selling point is being the low-cost provider. A managed IT sale is not a technical conversation, it is the ability to have a business discussion. “We teach our partners how to solve a business problem,” he said. “If you can do this, reduce that end user’s risk or exposure, they are going to pay high dollar for that service. It really helps them to stand out and differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.” Collabrance prides itself on being a channel-only provider who does not offer its services directly to end users, as some of its competitors do. Another point of differentiation is Collabrance’s virtual sales managers, who help walk office

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The offices of Collabrance, based in Cedar Rapids, IA

technology dealers or MSPs through the nuances of the IT sales process. According to VanDeWalker, these managers will aid the partner’s sales reps in managing their funnel and perform walk-through role plays to help them craft a deal-sealing presentation. “The typical MSP is run by people whose strengths lean toward the technical side as opposed to sales,” he said. “Many times they don’t have the sales acumen needed, which is another reason MSPs are gravitating toward us. It’s a huge plus for Collabrance and our partners.”

Educational Arsenal

Perhaps the backbone of the Collabrance value proposition is the educational components it provides to both the office technology dealership and MSP channels. VanDeWalker outlined nine areas in which Collabrance enables its clients to gain the most value from its turnkey proposition. These are: • Weekly educational blogs on the Collabrance website that share industry best practices on many of the key talking points of managed IT. • Sales Simplicity Seminars. These quarterly managed IT sales trainings provide Collabrance partners with best practices for selling higher-valued managed service contracts. Collabrance measures their partners’ performance following the seminars, and the numbers bear out that customers are able to reduce the sales cycle,

increase sales and reap margins as high as 60 percent. • Quarterly overview webinars provide prospects the opportunity to learn more about Collabrance and its technology offerings. • Strategic business advisors who actively communicate with partners and provide overall strategy. • Quarterly Enhancement calls. These quarterly meetings help keep partners abreast of the technology changes in the overall Collabrance stack as well as updates from the technology providers who contribute to the turnkey solution. • Alignment meetings. Collabrance sits down with its partners each quarter to

review their performance during the previous period as well as sketch out goals for the ensuing quarter. • The Collabrance Online Partner Portal for account management provides a number of valuable tools and resources. • Starting this year, Collabrance will offer a new peer group for its partners that is professionally facilitated by Service Leadership Inc. They will meet quarterly—twice in person, twice by phone—to share best practices. Collabrance will benchmark them financially to measure areas of strengths and weaknesses, and partners will be able to see how they are performing against their peers. • Onboarding training. Last but certainly not least is the initial learning phase for new partners to become fully acclimated to the Collabrance tech stack and gain sales proficiency. “Education is critical to everyone’s success in managed services and we think this is a significant differentiator for Collabrance when compared to some of our competitors,” VanDeWalker noted.

Layered Security Approach

Security might accurately be defined as a state of mind as opposed to a state of being. It’s like asking how long a piece of string is; there are degrees of security, and it’s up to the individual (or group) to decide what measures they want to take to reach that optimal state of mind. For managed IT purposes, Collabrance offers

A Collabrance network operations center specialist provides phone support continued on page 38

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Collabrance Uses Education and a Turnkey Solution to Boil Managed IT Down to its Simplest Form a 19-layered security approach that is constantly evolving. “Security is not binary; an end user isn’t secure or not secure. It’s on a spectrum…how secure they want to be,” VanDeWalker said. “Those are decisions our customers need to make. It’s important for our partners do a good job of trying to educate customers. You can’t make ev-

erything 100 percent secure, it’s just not possible, because you still have employees who might click on something they shouldn’t. The question really is, to what extent do you want to be secure, and to what extent are you willing to pay for that security?” Collabrance employs a product development director who focuses solely on

vetting potential technology partners who can be weaved into the overall turnkey solution. The overarching goal is to become a master managed security provider, and VanDeWalker believes Collabrance is clearly on track to attain this status. The Internet of Things era is ushering in a new wave of technologies and devices that are being married into networks,

Collabrance Helps Reinvigorate COTG’s Solution

M

anaged IT has taken on new significance for Chicago Office Technology Group (COTG), one of 40 members of Xerox’s Global Imaging Systems network. Traditionally a copier and MFP provider (which accounts for 90 percent of its business) with specializations in software and audio-visual offerings, COTG first provided managed IT to a couple dozen clients during a three-year period but had a difficult time gaining traction, according to Mike Grabowski, director of sales. The offering became relegated to the back burner, but a change in leadership led to COTG redoubling its efforts and partnering with Collabrance. “In the past six months, we’ve really refocused and invested in our managed IT offering,” Grabowski explains. “I met with Collabrance last June, went there for a three-day seminar and talked to some MSP peers. The Collabrance seminar provided a lot of great information. Almost immediately after returning home, I’m walking into the meeting with this new customer.” The prospect was a not-for-profit health care provider which had not done any business with COTG prior to the meeting. Backed by the three-day sessions with Collabrance, Grabowski was able to gain interest in performing an

assessment for the prospect, which began a four-month sales cycle that led to a managed IT contract. COTG’s platform went live with the client Dec. 18, and the deal is producing Mike Grabowski, $10,000 in month- COTG ly recurring revenue (MRR).

Immediate Results

In the first seven weeks since going live, Collabrance remediated 96 percent of 136 help desk tickets, 67 percent firstcall resolution and only escalated six tickets back to COTG all while maintaining 100 percent measured customer satisfaction. In addition to the managed IT sales training, Collabrance aided COTG in selling the value of a paid network assessment, provided recommendations based on the size of the order and supplied service activation assistance in onboarding the not-for-profit. The deal was also financed through GreatAmerica Financial Services. “We had high expectations based on the SLAs they were hitting across their full customer base, along with feedback from MSPs who had partnered with them for a few years,” Grabowski said. “We’re now going into meetings with prospects using the 95 percent remote resolution, and Collabrance is exceeding that number. With first-call resolution, we’d normally tell a prospect 40 percent, just to be safe. So to be over 60 percent is really amazing.”

That the deal took four months to complete comes with an asterisk. The not-for-profit had relied on a different provider for the previous nine years, and the CEO of the MSP was on the client’s board of directors. COTG was also able to top three other proposals the client received during the engagement and also reap business with them on the MPS side.

Setting Lofty Goals

With the help of Collabrance, Grabowski notes that COTG is attacking the managed IT offering with a vengeance in 2018, adding head count while setting a goal of establishing 15-20 new customers during the next 18 months. MRR is the key, with a goal of $50,000 set for the period. That is a conservative estimate, given that COTG already has $27,000 lined up and was projected to close another three deals before the end of February. “The MRR goal is what we’re more focused on,” Grabowski said. “We want to make this a very profitable part of our business, especially with the somewhat commoditized nature of managed print and where it’s going. We see those margins getting eroded more and more. We’re hoping managed IT can be a huge windfall for the bottom line. “We have a highly dedicated tech stack, dictated by Collabrance, and we very much trust them. We’re not doing break/fix, not trying to pick up projects. We’re being disciplined on the Collabrance model. Now we’re focusing our energies on building our presence and awareness, getting customers who can fit within the tech stack and really leverage all that COTG locally—and Collabrance remotely—can offer.” ♦ continued on page 40

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LET US BE PART OF YOUR MANAGED IT GROWTH PLAN “People at Collabrance are knowledgeable, friendly and trustworthy. They go the extra mile to help us be better in all aspects of our business—sales, staffing and operations.” Gary Harouff President at AIS Las Vegas, NV

Partner with Collabrance, a Master MSP, to build a profitable Managed IT Services business faster and with fewer risks. • Issues resolved quickly with a US-based, live-answer Help Desk & NOC • Reliable and vetted technology stack • Plug-and-play with onboarding assistance • Improve closing ratios with our virtual sales managers • Access time-saving best practices & tools

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Collabrance Uses Education and a Turnkey Solution to Boil Managed IT Down to its Simplest Form and while it offers an exciting array of new possibilities, Collabrance is charged with mitigating potential security risks that accompany it. Voice searches, such as Amazon’s Alexa—which tie into a multitude of applications and devices—is one example. “We’re going to be asked to manage those things in the future and we’re being very thoughtful about it,” he said. “Vetting technologies is a monumental task. We have to look at their viability and longevity, and how they might work with the rest of the network in terms of compatibility. It’s multi-layered and gets complicated quickly.”

Poised for Growth

The symbiotic relationship between Collabrance and GreatAmerica has enabled Collabrance to build its base of prospects. VanDeWalker works closely with the GreatAmerica office equipment group, led by Jennie Fisher, senior vice president and general manager, to garner sales leads. On the MSP side, Collabrance relies on leads from the GreatAmerica communications and data group, which provides leasing for IT companies. In addition to attending IT events, inbound marketing is another critical key for Collabrance to garner market share. VanDeWalker notes the provider has already reaped early success in a process

Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president of IT Channel and Services for Collabrance and GreatAmerica Financial Services

WE WANT PARTNERS WHO WE CAN GO ALL IN WITH, BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE WE CAN BRING THE MOST VALUE. IF THEY BELIEVE IN SELLING THE ALL-IN MANAGED IT SOLUTION TO THEIR CUSTOMER, WE’RE GOING TO BE A GREAT OPTION. that tends to take time to develop. Collabrance is also working on expanding its online presence in the months to come. Looking ahead, Collabrance’s longterm goals are more geared toward find-

A critical element for Collabrance is its network operations center 40

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ing office dealer and MSP partners who share their vision for a turnkey, white glove managed IT solution. Like its parent company, Collabrance prides itself on delivering a high level of customer service, and being that single-source provider in a market laden with piecemeal solutions enables the firm to clearly define and differentiate itself while obtaining clients who appreciate and share the value proposition. As a turnkey provider, Collabrance seeks to go “deeper and wider” in its customer base, without the need to scale to thousands of accounts. In fact, VanDeWalker’s quota of two new partners per month will pave the Collabrance path to growth success. “Year over year, we’re at a 45 percent growth rate,” he concluded. “The execution piece has been spot on this year. We’re just keeping that constant drum beat, and if we can continue to add two new partners per month, we will be very happy with the results.” ♦

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Henry Washburn

Security News Briefing

The Missing Link in Helping Protect Businesses from Cybersecurity Attacks

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yber-attacks are continuing to grow and evolve, increasingly threatening organizations worldwide. Particularly vulnerable are the small-tomedium-sized businesses (SMBs) that may not have the in-house personnel to protect against cyber-threats like new and aggressive strains of ransomware. These businesses look to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) or remote information technology (IT) managers to ensure that their businesses continue running and that their data is secured in the event of an attack. It’s no surprise that recent statistics from B2B research firm Clutch, show that 69 percent of U.S. SMBs use at least one IT service provider, while only 31 percent of SMBs with 10 or fewer employees have an in-house IT staff. MSPs are the guardians of an SMBs IT infrastructure, delivering ongoing monitoring and

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management of client applications including their security apparatus. MSPs keep tabs on the health of their clients’ IT environments, change and update systems and protect their data. However, it’s important for MSPs to differentiate themselves when it comes to selling their services to SMBs, because not all MSPs are created equal. Business owners are becoming better educated when it comes to choosing the right MSP to launch and maintain a cyber-defense. Demonstrating how your security offering is differentiated in an increasingly complex digital landscape will be vital in showcasing your SMB’s cybersecurity strategy. As you’re developing the best way to showcase your expertise to a potential client, keep in mind the following considerations:

Pen Tests are a Must

Securing data on-site can be achieved by housing infrastructure in a room that is accessed by a select group of employees. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) or key cards are common ways to gain access. This approach can be coupled with software security as well. However, choosing to do so opens the door to vulnerabilities in a company’s security system. It’s important that MSPs explain to their customers that they penetration-test their security solutions on a regular basis. The goal is to test a network, its computer systems and web applications to spot vulnerabilities that cyber-attackers can exploit. Vendors can work with MSPs to provide a remedy when vulnerabilities are found, but it’s imWe Saw It In ENX Magazine

portant for MSPs to explain their proactive approaches to spotting vulnerabilities.

Keeping the Lights On is Vital

Business continuity is constantly challenged by security threats, including ransomware attacks. A recent survey from Datto found that employees are vulnerable to losing access to vital information via the cloud and when working remotely as SaaS applications like G-Suite, Office 365 and Dropbox and mobile phones and tablets continue to serve as a growing target for new and aggressive strains. More and more, SMBs are moving their information to a cloud based format, G-Suite, Office 365, Salesforce, Box, etc., and making sure that those users can access that data no matter where they are located is imperative. What good is moving data to the cloud when you can’t access it? Having a failover/ failback router is key to making sure there is no loss of productivity. Having two ISPs can be cost prohibitive, so at the very least, failover to LTE would be a minimum. Helping SMBs understand that you understand these challenges about their business and describing how you approach it, is something that will help you differentiate your approach.

Enlightening the End User

MSPs should offer tools and strategy to their clients so that they can educate their employees on the cybersecurity landscape to help thwart future attacks. This is especially important for SMBs that may not have the time or budget to educate themselves. For


DEMONSTRATING HOW YOUR SECURITY OFFERING IS DIFFERENTIATED IN AN INCREASINGLY COMPLEX DIGITAL LANDSCAPE WILL BE VITAL IN SHOWCASING YOUR SMB’S CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY. those businesses, MSPs can advise that all current and new employees should have to go through some level of basic cybersecurity training. An MSP would then help their client to develop a training framework that includes visual examples of what a cyber-attack looks like, such as a phishing or ransomware attack. In my experience, the number one cause for ransomware attacks is phishing emails. It’s very easy to Google a LinkedIn account, find an e-mail address and then spoof that e-mail address. Consequently, it’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish what a phishing email looks like. MSPs need to work harder

than ever to make sure that their clients employees know how to spot a malicious e-mail and know exactly what to do if they encounter a potential ransomware lure (i.e., don’t open attachments; if you see something, say something). This is an essential part of how MSPs should help SMBs (and their end users) protect against attacks and should be clearly defined as part of what you offer. MSPs should also keep their clients apprised of new forms of cyber-attacks so that they can defend themselves more effectively. This includes bring-your-own-device (BYOD) work cultures that can increase the Internet of

Things (IoT) threat to security. MSPs should anticipate an increase in shadow IoT devices that can pose a challenge to network security if left unsupervised.

Defending Pricing Through a Sound Security Strategy

While price certainly plays a factor in determining whether an SMB will secure your services, MSPs will be able to secure premium pricing, if they can demonstrate the value they provide in keeping data safe by explaining the costs involved if a business goes down for a day or a week. Should an SMB pay a fair price to prevent their business from being impacted by the next Cryptolock or WannaCry attack? If they understand the potential impact, they sure will. It’s like an IT insurance policy that can protect their business and help ensure that it doesn’t go out of business. ♦

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Erik Cagle

Channel Insight News Briefing

Economies of Skill and Konica Minolta Relationship Drive All Covered Platform’s IT Success

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odd Croteau does not claim to have all the answers. But the president of All Covered, the IT services division of Konica Minolta, is heartened by the knowledge that with more than 800 engineers in 35 locations across the United States, the answer to any IT-related issue— no matter how complicated, esoteric or vexing—is within reach. All Covered offers the complete spectrum of managed IT, application, cloud and security services, mobile solutions, consulting and project management. The platform provider utilizes a vertical approach to solving the needs of its customers, producing tailored solutions for the educational, finance, legal and health care markets. The acquisitions All Covered has made over the years has enabled it to amass what Croteau likes to call the “economies of skill,” an endless reservoir of business-specific competencies to go with its base of technological proficiency. The provider serves the end user environment through three outlets: the dealer channel, the Konica Minolta direct channel and via its own sales network. All Covered works with dealers that possess varying levels of IT proficiency or experience. We sat down with Croteau to discuss how All Covered continues to live up to its name’s credo, particularly in light of its 2017 acquisition of voice IP provider TLS.NET and a soon-to-be announced security specialist that will further enhance its comprehensive approach to full-service managed IT solutions.

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Tell us about your career path leading up to your current position at All Covered. CROTEAU: During college, I had a job with IBM selling computers to students and faculty. When I graduated, I was applying for an engineering position in Boston and I had the IBM work on my resume. They hired me at a time when networks were just starting to be put in place. So for the first couple of months at this old-school company, I got my hands dirty setting up the network and putting AutoCAD and new technologies in place. That provided exposure to some other companies. I met my future partner and we started an IT company in Boston focused on engineering firms. We grew that quickly, and in 2000, we were approached by what was then called All Bases Covered and decided to join forces. They already had sales and engineering managers, so I took a customer care position. My career has taken some twists and turns and I’ve experienced most positions within the company, including regional oversight, COO and CEO. All Covered was bought by Konica Minolta toward the end of 2010. I’ve never been bored; the combination of the technology and the growth we’ve experienced has kept it fresh for me. It’s probably been more entrepreneurial with Konica Minolta in terms of the desire for growth and expansion in services, along with the opportunity to have solutions for the direct and dealer channels, as well as our own customer acquisition activity. We Saw It In ENX Magazine

Todd Croteau, president of All Covered

Can you tell us about the evolution of All Covered since it was acquired by Konica Minolta nearly eight years ago? CROTEAU: My experience with Konica Minolta definitely exceeded expectations. Anytime you’re a CEO of a company, there’s a professional transition you want to ensure for the benefit of the customers. That’s foremost on my mind. We’ve gone from a 300-person company when we were acquired to 1,000. The sophistication of our offerings and the breadth and types of customers that we service in terms of their size and their industries have expanded. All those have created fun opportunities for employees to grow and the organization to evolve. What elements does a Konica Minolta bring to the table in adding heft and stability to the overall managed IT platform? CROTEAU: Being in Silicon Valley, home to the original dotcontinued on page 46


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Economies of Skill and Konica Minolta Relationship Drive All Covered Platform’s IT Success com boom, the focus is always on the next quarter or two, the near term. One of the biggest differences with Konica Minolta—because of the Japanese business mindset—is having a long-term plan that allows you to view the road farther out and make decisions that are based on the longer horizon. I think that’s played out well for us in different areas, whether in verticals, new offerings, security or voice, where we can think about 10 years from now. There’s a commitment to acquisitions and we have a large number of sales resources in the field. The dealer channel has trust in Konica Minolta. There’s a strong dealer community and a large customer base as well. It’s been a great platform for us to be able to grow with that long-term view and not a myopic focus on what’s going to happen during the next 90 days. When sitting in front of a customer or prospect, the Konica Minolta brand has a strong awareness and it’s a positive brand. The fact that the scale is there brings extra credibility to our endeavors. How would you characterize the strengths of All Covered’s overall value proposition? CROTEAU: The managed service provider industry is many times more fragmented than the BTA channel is; there’s thousands of managed service providers out there. I’ve always maintained that size has to bring some value to the cus-

tomer. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. Scale benefits our value proposition because we are an aggregation of knowledge. I like to refer to it as the Economies of Skill. We can have someone anywhere in the United States who has particular knowledge of a given software or vertical, and we can leverage that for an employee or customer involvement. We’re not limited by the knowledge of a handful of people, and more knowledge leads to more specialization. The customer gets the best of both worlds, because we have the local presence, local company and local relationships supported by the full breadth of All Covered and Konica Minolta. This creates a unique value proposition, because a lot of smaller providers just don’t have that knowledge and specialization firepower. As managed IT continues to be a growth segment in the dealer channel, how does All Covered differentiate itself from other platform providers? CROTEAU: For us, it’s really about collaborating with the dealer on the benefits of the Konica Minolta dealer program and all our unique offerings, including application development, voice IP, and a robust and agile cloud offering. We have domain expertise in all the different verticals; we can support large enterprise and multi-location customers, and we have professional services that we can deliver for

Alex Hawkins, IT service consultant for All Covered (holding trophy), receives a top sales award during a Konica Minolta banquet. Also shown, from left, are Mark Bradford, senior vice president of business transformation and planning for Konica Minolta; Todd Croteau, president of All Covered; Rick Taylor, president and CEO of Konica Minolta; and Sam Errigo, executive vice president of sales and business development at Konica Minolta 46

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high-end technologies. Not a lot of providers can offer this comprehensive set of services. For me, it’s about making sure that dealers are aware of the additional offerings and skill sets that can bring more value to dealers and their customers. Last summer, Konica Minolta added TLS. NET as a complement to All Covered. How has the integration process fared thus far, and how has the voice/cloud component been received by clients? CROTEAU: For a long time, I’ve had people come to me asking to do voice. I’d avoided it for a long time because I didn’t want to have to pick a particular vendor and have to mobilize and train sales people and delivery people across different offices. It was an area I thought was going to go to the cloud, and that’s what happened. This deal was just a huge opportunity for us and the timing was right. TLS has a passion for voice, and in working with them they’ve come as advertised. They’re adding customers at the highest clip in this area right now. It’s really building momentum. What role will acquisition play in further expanding All Covered’s competencies? CROTEAU: A lot of our initial acquisitions were geography-focused. But in the last couple of years, we’ve shifted our strategy to making competency-based or solutions-based acquisitions such as TLS. We just completed a security acquisition for our marketing enterprise customers that I think it will grow as fast as TLS. The security addition will enable us to add employees with expertise for the midmarket enterprise customers we support. Ultimately, we can take that knowledge and weave it into employee readiness and security. Sometimes, I say no to certain expansions when the industry’s not ready for it yet. I look for a match between the passions and the career aspirations of an owner as well as their technology to go with customers of certain demographics. We map it out to see if there’s a fit. Tell us about All Covered’s vertical approach to its IT platform, offering tailored solutions for the education, health care, financial and legal markets.

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continued on page 48


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Economies of Skill and Konica Minolta Relationship Drive All Covered Platform’s IT Success CROTEAU: All of these verticals are the seedlings we’ve obtained through acquisition, gaining knowledge and industry expertise in each of these markets. What we’ve found is a larger share of customers—more than 50 percent—come from these verticals. Not only that, the average size of the customer contract is much larger in these verticals. That speaks to the packages and solutions we’re putting together, and provides an even stronger value proposition when you’re talking to a specific vertical. All four have been equally successful. Education is different from financial, legal is different from health care. They all have unique components, applications, regulations and requirements. The data we have show that the more you focus on a vertical approach, the stronger the return to the provider. Network security is one of the greatest concerns businesses face today. Can you provide some insight into All Covered’s layered strategy for security services? How does All Covered stay ahead of the latest threats? CROTEAU: Security is really part and parcel to providing IT services. Training is one of the areas that needs the most amount of security focus for organizations. The key is teaching your employees to be more aware and much less naïve in terms of how bad actors will try to manipulate them in their work or non-work environments. Employees are barraged with these links in emails and websites, and there’s a general lack of awareness of how much nefarious stuff is out there. It takes some basic

handwashing techniques that you can teach people to help reduce much of the risk. One way we help customers with this is by sending employees trick emails and see who will take the bait. When the employee clicks on that email, they’re directed to a website that says ‘ha-ha, we got you’ and then we show organizations the things that could have happened. At the same time, the customers can send a note to their managers about coaching employees and having conversations with repeat offenders. It’s about teaching people how to not fall into a trap. This is why we made the security acquisition, to have more specialized people focused solely on security.

sources, expertise and depth that can be of value to them in certain situations.

What changes in the BTA space are influencing your go-to-market strategy, and what variables will play a role in your strategy going forward? CROTEAU: I see a lot of large and small dealers following Konica Minolta’s lead, expanding their offerings to customers and venturing into the managed IT space. I think we’re seeing a convergence of the print world with the IT world. From our perspective, particularly for the Konica Minolta dealer community, my motivation is success for the dealers. It’s an area that calls for a one-on-one discussion. For many traditional BTA organizations that primarily sell MFP machines, IT can seem overwhelming to them. We talk to them, tell them the steps they can take and show how we can help them. For the dealers that are more sophisticated and experienced in the IT world, we can complement each other. We have the re-

Can non-Konica Minolta dealers approach All Covered directly as well? CROTEAU: It hasn’t occurred until recently, when some non-Konica Minolta dealers reached out to us because of their interest in the voice offering. Obviously, it speaks to the tremendous opportunity presented by this aspect of managed IT. Dealers have their own program, but we have other niches that can also participate in the voice program.

Members of All Covered and Konica Minolta join in on the celebration following the 2016 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California 48

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Are there situations where All Covered competes with dealer community directly? CROTEAU: When dealers enroll in our program, we have a safe harbor status with them. If they don’t enroll, then there’s a competitive scenario. In my entire time with All Covered, it has never been an issue. There was only one occasion when we received a strong referral that just so happened to be a dealer’s customer. Eventually, we conceded the opportunity to the dealer. We feel the dealer is more important to us than any single opportunity.

What are your goals for 2018? CROTEAU: Everything revolves around the continued growth, maturity and refinement of our IT strategy. Two areas of importance are worth noting. We are putting a new back-end system in place that will bring us together with Konica Minolta. We’ve been operating on our own system, which means when a customer gets an invoice from All Covered, it actually comes from Konica Minolta separately. Now we’re bringing both together and it will allows us to be seamless in quoting for the proposal stage to the customer. Now they’ll get a single bill for everything from All Covered and Konica Minolta. Another thing we’ve been heavily involved in is the Workplace Hub, the next-generation product Konica Minolta is working on which combines print and scan, IT and the Internet of Things. There’s many different versions of it, whether it’s a pure IT, print or a collaboration item. There’s a lot of effort going into the launching of that product and we’re excited about the future. ♦

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R.J. Stasieczko

Business Management

Managed IT Services: The Profit is in Workforce Control

R

I had the privilege to spend two years working with a managed IT security and services organization as its vice president/COO. So, now let me say this to all those reading. Profit success in managed IT services is not about being the greatest sales organization; instead, it’s about being in control of the greatest service organization.

obert Stephens, founder of the Geek Squad once said, “Marketing is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.” I love that quote. It is so relevant to managed IT services, or any service focused deliverable. Delivering managed IT services is more about your remarkability than your marketing. Managed IT services starts with a business plan, not a marketing plan. Those from either the traditional managed service provider (MSP) community or those progressive dealers from the office technology channel beginning to or delivering IT services; please keep this in mind. The selling of multiple technical services and their products takes discipline, with the ability to perform remarkably, and all the while doing it with absolute attention to the understanding of and controlling of cost. The cost associated with workforce hours is the most critical to the MSPs profitability. Profitability success in managed IT services is managing your recurring cost along with the customer’s reoccurring revenues. IT service is managing the complexities of the customer’s technology infrastructure. This infrastructure is a web of hardware and software, on premise and cloud-based, user additions and removals: it all requires monitoring, interactive care, both proactive and reactive. Service-based businesses deliver service; they don’t drive their business off the quick sale of a hardware product’s gross profit. They live from the gross profit of recurring services revenue, providing they control their reoccurring cost. These 50

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

costs include people or human capital, products, along with pass-through vendor management cost. The profit killer in all service-based deliverables is uncontrolled payroll. The gap between available hours and unaccounted for hours must be less than 15 percent and what we account hours against must have an understood ROI. One of the most prolific PSA vendors in the IT services industry, ConnectWise has a great motto: “IT didn’t happen unless it’s in ConnectWise.” You must also think this way. Regardless of your ERP, or PSA, understanding the importance of technical time accountability is becoming extremely necessary to control the profitability of the declining print use market, and will be demanded in your IT services deliverable. The hours worked must be billed. Whether included in a recurring contract or in addition to a recurring contract. All labor hours must have accountability. Services profitability, regardless of industry, is only determined correctly when all technical hours available have a revenue stream to offset their cost. Unaccounted for hours or an overstaffed workforce will always cause the pain associated with misinterpreted profit. So, in preparation, dealers must plan for and align their copier/print services cost of labor to the changes in the service needs of printing equipment. Today’s printing equipment is less and less service intensive – the storm which disrupts the profit of all service-based business models: when the products it services require less and less service intervention, while at the same time the user of the product depends on it less and less.

It’s during this time there must be action to realign the workforce to mirror the realignment of the work needs. The time is now to re-evaluate, prepare and modify. The dealers’ greatest area to improve and control cost during a declining use market is by closing the gap between their service hours available and those hours accounted for. The majority of profit loss or profit gained is in how one manages their workforce needs. Today some dealers are still subscribing to technician workforce benchmarks from 1970. With today’s technology along with much more reliable equipment, there should be a re-evaluation to create new benchmarks based on new realities. Too many are moving cost buckets around to insulate the impact of known problems. You must align the gap between the hours they have available and the hours accounted for. Keep in mind as needed changes become apparent the focus on HOW will get blurred by the rhetoric of those more comfortable in the past or from those who cannot assist you in bringing the future to the present. “The true test of leadership is their ability to deconstruct obsolescence, as they construct relevance.” This skill is never found in the comfort of complacency. Being remarkable will cost you, so budget for it, and then charge a premium to those you deliver. “Innovation gives birth to the newway and takes the life of the old-way. Those who understand constant modification can live closer to forever.” R.J. Stasieczko ♦

We Saw It In ENX Magazine


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51


Industry Event News Briefing

Conversation with Marc Spring on ITEX 2018 ITEX Imaging & Technology Education Exposition is the largest, most extensive trade show in the office technology space. ITEX connects vendors, distributors and business solution providers (BSPs) including: managed service providers, copier and printer dealers, and IT VARs.

I

TEX aims to provide BSPs with access to vendor-neutral education, the newest trends, and widely-accepted business practices. Marc Spring is the founder of ITEX, which originated in 2001. He sold the show in 2006 and last year he re-acquired ITEX, bringing it back to Vegas, the epicenter of the trade show world. As this year’s show is rapidly approaching, founder Marc Spring sounds off on what to expect at ITEX 2018.

ly vendor neutral. ITEX is a place to get unbiased views and perspective from industry professionals.

What speakers are attending ITEX 2018? SPRING: ITEX education is presented by the industry experts, vendors and dealers. However, we emphasize that vendors and industry experts must present vendor neutral education, so that the audience can get real world stories from dealers, rather than a vendor presentation masquerading as education. Our education is designed and shared by the innovators, movers and shakers in our space.

What is the direction of ITEX 2018? SPRING: ITEX is an event that peels back the curtain on the latest opportunities for business solution providers. As the connected office has become a reality, BSPs face steep challenges, along with massive opportunities to “Own the Office,” meaning BSPs need to offer a complete solution. Instead of focusing solely on one area, such as print, telecom, managed IT or document management, ITEX helps BSPs replace that OR with AND, enabling an increase in revenue from their existing base.

What new additions will we see at ITEX 2018? SPRING: We have more co-locations than ever before, offering a networking and team growth opportunity for compa-

52

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

Marc Spring

nies. The MSP Expo, a well- established Telecom event, is co-locating their event with ITEX, attracting a large amount of telecom VARs, telecom vendors, and a great deal of education on how to add telecom into a company’s product mix. On the copier/print side, we have SDG, Compass Sales Solution, Pros Elite, Visual Edge, and MPSA, all hosting events at ITEX.

What are the main advantages for vendors at ITEX 2018? SPRING: Firstly, meet a new, more diverse group of reseller partners. Our average attendee has annual revenues of over $5 million and many companies in attendance will eclipse over $100 million. No other event of this kind draws such sizeable BSPs. Additionally, attendees have the ability to gain a true vision of what it takes to be a great vendor partner, with the opportunity to meet resellers who are on the front lines, with the product face-to face. Insight into the market is best gathered by speaking with the business owners, with the ability to learn what aspects make a great or awful vendor partner. Finally, be informed that ITEX events are whol-

What topics will be covered in the educational tracks? SPRING: The focus of education is about how to become the complete provider, with the ability to “Own the Office.” Our education will focus on ways to broaden the scope of your business, and how to integrate the pieces your company may be missing from a financial, strategic and sales perspective. You will learn what it takes to add alternative product segments such as managed IT, cloud, security and telecom, to your existing offering. We will cover core concepts from an imaging perspective, including document management, MPS, and production printing. ITEX will give you the insight into the latest money makers in the print space.

Final thoughts before we head off to ITEX? SPRING: I would like to close by saying thank you to everyone who has gotten behind ITEX. The industry needs a vendor neutral place to meet. With the expansive number of meetings, hard core education, and the ability to see just what and who is being successful, ITEX is an event you must have on your calendar.” Visit itexshow.com for more information. ♦

We Saw It In ENX Magazine


Ken Edmonds

Service Management News Briefing

Managed IT and the Service Department For many dealers, the prospect of adding managed IT to their company is a logical next step. For the sales department, it means adding a new talk track and developing some specialists to help close the business.

I

t does give a dealer the ability to better position themselves to manage and retain their current customers. It may also provide a competitive advantage in the sales process. However, a typical copier and printer service department will face significant challenges in supporting managed IT.

not ever going to be cost effective. A partnership with a larger organization will be the best option. There are several national companies that copier dealers can partner with to private label support. This would allow you to provide the service without the large investment.

Separate or Integrated... or Partnered

Finding the right technicians may be your biggest challenge. Once you have determined how you are going to go about providing the support, then you will need to work on acquiring or training staff to provide the needed support. Most of your current technicians are not going to be qualified to service a client’s computer networks. They will not have the needed training, and most won’t have either the desire or aptitude to make the transition. This leaves you with the need to hire new staff. There are several differences between hiring for the copier/printer group and the IT group. The biggest will be the pay expectations. Young people coming out of school with an IT interest will be expecting starting wages that could approach what your most experienced copier technician is earning. They will also look at the work environment and management practices from a different perspective. All of these factors will make the hiring process challenging.

The first step in moving into managed IT is to decide how you are going to handle IT support. Is it something that will be managed and operated through the service department, or will it be a separate department? Will you handle all customer support internally, or will you outsource some or all of the support? This is a decision that will vary by dealership. If you currently have a help desk operation, provide all of your own internal network support and currently support third party applications, it may be that you can successfully support your client’s IT infrastructure as well. Typically to provide the complete support package, you will need to have network engineers, 24-hour help desk support, and a staff that has computer hardware and networking backgrounds. If you are going to develop your own support in house, then the decision will need to be made about how to manage it. Is this going to be part of the service department? In most cases you will be better served by creating a separate department for managed IT. None of the service department’s metrics will work for managed IT, and the pay scale for managed IT technicians will be significantly different. For most dealers, this is going to be beyond their current ability and probably 54

www.enxmag.com | March 2018

Right People

Right Training

In the IT environment certifications will be very important. The absolute minimum would be A+, Net+, and Security+ for a low level IT support person. These are items that I would use as a pre-requisite to hiring someone. Your organization will also need to either de-

velop or hire individuals with advanced certificates. This would include Cisco, Microsoft, and other certifications depending on what service you are providing your clients. There are a variety of schools available to provide this training, usually on-line. These schools will typically last longer and cost more than the training provided by a copier manufacturer.

Right Compensation

As I mentioned previously, the IT support staff is going to have very different expectations. To hire quality people, you are going to have to compete in the market place. To further complicate matters, each new certification that your staff obtains will make them more valuable in that market place. You can get an idea of the potential salary range for technicians by searching online. A reference from CompTIA, a non-profit IT professionals trade association providing certifications and business credentials, education and resources, said that the average salary for an A+ certified technician was about $50K. That certification would be the minimum useful certification.

Planning will be the Key

While there are significant challenges in providing the necessary service and support that managed IT will require, it is possible. For most dealers this means finding a qualified partner, or acquiring a company that provides network support. Whatever approach you take will require a plan. Take the time to create a viable plan that address the path forward, the personnel, training, and processes to really succeed in the managed IT arena. ♦

We Saw It In ENX Magazine


Printer Tech Tip Ghosting, smudging, or not fusing properly on “Plain” paper HP Enterprise M601, M602 and M603 Series Issue Description: • Poor fusing and smearing print when running normal 20-24lb printer paper (75-90gsm). • Paper type identified as “Light” rather than “Normal” causing the fusing of the toner to weaken over long print jobs or on different quality papers. Identify if the Paper type for “Plain” paper is set to “Normal” How to check and change Paper Type “Plain” from “Light” to “Normal.” NOTE: This can be done at the printer’s control panel or through EWS (Embedded Web Server). Using printer’s control panel: With the printer turned on, press the following buttons: 1. Press the Home button on the control panel that looks like a little house.

2. Press the down button until “Admin” is reached, then press “OK.” 3. Select “General Settings” then press “OK.” 4. Select “Print Quality” then press “OK.” 5. Select “Adjust Paper Types” then press “OK.” 6. Select “Plain” then press “OK.” 7. Select “Print Mode” then press “OK.” 8. Select “Normal” then press “OK.” 9. The new setting is now saved and you can now press the Home (Little house) button to return to main screen. 10. Turn the printer off then back on again and you can start printing again. Using EWS (Embedded Web Server): 1. Select “General tab” 2. “Control Panel Administration Menu” 3. “Administration” 4. “General Settings” 5. “Print Quality”

6. “Adjust Paper Types” 7. Click on “Go to Primary Setup Page” 8. Select “Plain” 9. Click on “Modify” at bottom of page 10. In the Print mode box if it says “Normal” then no change is needed If it says “Light Mode,” then select the drop down arrow and select “Normal” and then click on “Apply” Service Technician steps: It is not necessary to send a Service Technician out to change this setting unless needed by contract. Noted from firmware: ljM601_602_603fw_ 2302786_433718.bdl – 3-24-14 THROUGH firmware: ljM601_602_603fw_2305090_ 000468.bdl 6-10-15 As this is a user setting which firmware should not change, the first 3-24-2014 version actually did change the plain setting to “light.” However even though the version after 6-10-15 is correct, the user/tech still has to manually change this. (Or if anyone performs a cold reset, partial clean, or format disk.)

This Printer Tech Tip is contributed by LaserPros (www.laserpros.com). Email any questions to marketing@laserpros.com We Saw It In ENX Magazine

March 2018 | www.enxmag.com

55


MARCH 2018

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•

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CPW+ IT Products and Solutions................................... 21 CPW Phone: 805-987-5882 www.thecpw.com ITPS Phone: 608-286-1134 www.Itpas.com

ImagineIT................................ 43 Phone: 585-872-5802 Empties@ImagineRecycling.com

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EPSON....................................... 3 www.Epson.com/ WorkForceEnterpriseProfit Escalera.................................... 51 Phone: 1-800-622-1359 www.escalera.com Future Graphics...................... 27 Phone: 1-800-394-9900 www.fgimaging.com Hytec......................................... 55 Phone: 1-800-883-1001 Phone: 1-407-297-1001 Fax: 1-407-297-4310 www.hytecrepair.com IDS-International Digital Solutions................................... 15 Phone: 1-888-372-3700 Fax: 1-562-921-1167 sales@idswc.com

Intercom Exporting Inc.......... 49 Phone: 1-800-960-1119 www.intercomcopiers.com

ITC Supplies............................ 33 Phone: 1-877-933-5558 sales@itcsupplies.com ITEX......................................... 53 Phone: 1-954-903-7900 www.itexshow.com Mars International.................. 41 Phone: 1-973-777-5886 Fax: 1-973-777-5889 www.marsintl.com Mps&IT................................... 47 Phone: 1-888-823-0006 www.MPSandIT.com/fusion Nation-Wide Repair Service...................................... 51 Customer Service:1-866-655-8676 Technical Support: 1-800-798-1814 www.nwrsinc.com www.fusionimagetech.com

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MARCH 2018

Display Advertisers Index National Copy Cartridge........ 25 Phone: 1-619-562-6995 www.nationalcopycartridge.com Nectron International Inc......... 9 Phone: 1-281-240-2222 Phone: 1-800-456-4678 Fax: 1-281-240-0468 www.nectron.com Ninestar Technology Co., LTD........................................... 60 Phone: 1-800-817-0688 www.ninestartechonline.com NuWorld Business Systems............................... 10-14 Phone: 1-800-729-8320 Fax: 1-800-829-0292 www.nuworldinc.com

Static Control............................ 2 Phone: 1-919-774-3808 Phone:1-800-488-2426 www.scc-inc.com Supplies Network.................... 19 Phone: 1-800-729-9300 www.SuppliesNetwork.com Supplies Wholesalers......... 62-63 Phone:1-866-817-8795 www.SuppliesWholesalers.com TonerCycle-InkCycle.............. 29 Phone: 1-877-894-8387 www.inkcycle.com

Town Business Center............. 47 Phone: 570-602-1640 www.tbccopiers.com World Of Fax........................... 59 Phone: 1-800-634-9329 Phone: 1-866-FAX-PARTS www.WorldOfFax.com www.CopierPartsStore.com

Nominate Your Candidates for the Document Imaging Industry’s

2018 DIFFERENCE MAKERS

Pinnacle Sales, Inc................... 31 Phone: 1-440-734-9195 www.psi-ohio.com Ross International................... 41 Phone: 1-973-365-9900 Phone: 1-800-240-ROSS Fax: 1-973-473-8800 www.ross-international.com

Toshiba..................................... 64 Contact National Distributors ACM Technology 1-800-722-7745 Collins Distributing 1-800-727-0884 IDS 1-888-372-3700 Supplies Network 1-800-729-9300

Help us Identify the Difference Makers throughout the Document Imaging Industry. Who are the individuals making the key contributions to the industry or to your organizations? Send your recommendations along with a sentence or two as to why and/or how they are making a difference.

engage ‘n exchange Submit your nomination at www.enxmag.com or email to: susan@enxmag.com

engage ‘n exchange

NOMINATION DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2018

Brief profiles of those selected will be featured in the May issue of ENX. Note: Anyone featured as a 2017 Difference Maker is not eligible for inclusion this year.

Royal Imaging......................... 35 CA: 800-805-3526 NY: 877-227-1250 www.Royal-Imaging.com

engage ‘n exchange

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Subscribe for ENX Magazine and ENX The Week in Imaging at www.enxmag.com

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March 2018 | www.enxmag.com

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ENX Magazine March 2018 Issue  

Connecting People, Ideas and Products in the Document Technology Industry since 1994

ENX Magazine March 2018 Issue  

Connecting People, Ideas and Products in the Document Technology Industry since 1994