Over the past decade the world of technology has changed, morphed, and been turned upside down with many MSP’s learning they need to change their service model to be more of a proactive service model instead of a reactive service model.    In order to be more proactive the management of internal tools in your toolbelt becomes one of your most important assets in efficiency in running your businesses.  Tools like your RMM, your PSA, your backup and disaster recovery or security stack are key functions to your business, and have become more and more complex over the past decade.   With the complexity of these programs the learning curve to make them effectively utilized for your organization is very steep. We meet up with Vikram Khanna who shares with us the need for managed service providers to become more integrated in these tools providing them a more competitive edge over their competitors.

 

Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford 

a nation nation, Harry here with an old friend, Vikram Khanna. How you doing?

Vikram Khanna 

Hey, Harry, good to chat with you again. I’m doing well. How are you?

Harry Brelsford 

Good, good. I’m sure glad we bumped into each other at ConnectWise IT Nation. Last November been too long. We’ll get to that. What’s your background and technology? And then we’ll talk about how we met. So we’re How did you get into this? Business?

Vikram Khanna 

Sure, sure. That’s a you know, just an amazing story, Harry. So I, I graduated from college. And I started my career with with Big Five consulting, I worked for Arthur Andersen for several years, got a great start in doing large systems integration projects. And at some point in that career, you know, I realized that I was I was one very small part of a very gigantic ecosystem. And that’s what really triggered the desire to work and then move my career into small business it. Yeah, and so really, that’s, that’s, that’s where it all started. And, you know, your SMB Nation has played a very big role. And in influence, really, in my career, because it was 2008. The days of SMB Nation, I think that event was back in Seattle. In those days, it was. And as I started exploring, what SMB it options look like, that was that event was very, very instrumental in shaping, you know, our journey as a company, you know, going out there, and then really discovering the whole managed services industry for the small and midsize businesses all over North America and the world. And what companies were doing to enable all of these small businesses and you know, IT shops better just made the U turn from being VARS. So that’s, that’s really where it all started. Hairy. Yeah.

Harry Brelsford 

Yeah. Well, it’s funny, you mentioned 2008. Because, you know, we didn’t know what it that. Well. One thing we knew at the time, when I was giving my keynote, the Dow, the stock markets were crashing, it was that Friday afternoon, or Friday morning when I was talking. That was the day.

Vikram Khanna 

That is absolutely right. And I clearly remember that because, you know, when we spoke to people, and you know, everybody said, well, listen, starting in starting your business in recession, can only yield two outcomes. And and so for us, it worked out it was it was definitely slow in the in the beginning, just as that market took that, that dive, but you know, obviously, you know, things really bounced back specially for the technology world, and it continues to kind of hold that pattern till date.

Harry Brelsford 

Yeah, no, let me just quickly expand on that. The most recent book, The pocket MBA, a business book, with a little, you know, tendency to top tech, but I actually talk about some of the most successful companies started in a recession and wonderful was Intel, Intel started in a recession. And you learn to control your costs you don’t fly first class, you don’t have a company car. I love it. You know, those are those are great stories. So what are you doing today fast forward the movie I saw you at connect wise, appreciate you saying hi to me, and you know, and so on. What is your business model? Yeah, absolutely.

Vikram Khanna 

So really going back to the the SMB Nation event in 2008. Harry, what what I discovered there in talking with a lot of channel partners was the need for vendor agnostic, not services, which really is transformed into, you know, more, more of a proactive service from a reactive service. So introduced in the traditional sense, the NOC was always feeling alerts and remediating things was as things went down over the last decade over the last decade, really, that function has transformed into more strategic component for the MSP. This is the centralized services function as we call it at Pro Valtech. You know, and it’s a it’s a very commonly used terminology for several mature MSPs. Really, that is the management of all of their internal tools, so that they can be more efficient in running their businesses. So tools like your RMM, your PSA, your backup and disaster recovery or security stack. They have become more and more complex, the learning curve to make them effectively utilized for your organization’s is very steep. And that is really the need that we’re filling for these managed service providers is being that partner that can come in and providing that expertise on tools, and helping them be more strategic on how they can automate more how they can integrate these tools better, and how these tools work and provide them a more competitive edge and advantage over their, their competitors. And one of the things that this really has played into is the the whole labor crunch that the whole IT industry is going through right now, I think the need to be more efficient and to automate more has become a necessity in the modern day MSP versus a luxury which, you know, which is where it started. And so, this is going to become more and more of an essential thing for for MSPs to be doing

Harry Brelsford 

this. Now, I always push back a little bit not to you, but the concept of automation. I mean, I, I get it. And you know, we’re a species that evolves. And so of course, automation is going to be, you know, looking forward and being more efficient. However, in the oldest combination crowd and you were there, you know, you were definitely there, the old Small Business Server crowd, we thought of ourselves as craftsmen, like a craft brewer, right, so the big brewers are gonna be completely automated. But then there’s these micro breweries that are craft beers, right. And these people really enjoy kind of doing the work, you know, making the beer and pouring this importing that in an automation. Again, I understand the context of automation, but it’s not for everybody, if that makes sense. I always like to balance that conversation out a little bit.

Vikram Khanna 

Absolutely. And Harry, we’ve, you know, we’ve seen it all right. And, and we, we preach this to our partners, because there’s always a fine line in what is, you know, what is going to be the as we call it, our company is the is the squeeze worth the juice, that’s going to come out of it. And so obviously, the technicians sometimes get over passionate about wanting to automate. But the business really kind of draws the line on, hey, what what really needs to be automated, and I will completely agree with the craft, I still believe that running a managed service business still entails a lot of craft, I think that craft is shifting from from the nitty gritty into being more strategic, I think it’s shifting into things like security. And and, and cybersecurity and data intelligence and analytics. And that is how MSPs are differentiating themselves. Whereas, you know, a lot of a lot of the day to day things are becoming more and more transactional, and commoditized, if you will. And that’s, that’s our approach, we want to be able to take all of those mundane activities, and make sure that they they get done via automation. And what we’ve done really is, is put the craft together with the with the automation and the operations, which is why we’re we’re not just a NOC operations company, we’re a combination of a consulting company that brings that craft for these MSPs consults with them on how could they leverage tools better? What are some of the business challenges they face today? And then we combine that with a lot of our operational excellence of automation and the NOC services that we provide and really bringing that mix together is is you know what? You know what, what creates our secret sauce add profile?

Harry Brelsford 

Yeah, well, I’ll tell ya, my head’s spinning. We’re gonna get you back next quarter and have a different conversation about work life balance, you and I were chatting after we reconnected at connect wise. That in and of itself, folks is a good conversation as well with all this time we have free from automation. Now if we don’t have more fun,

Vikram Khanna 

there you go. No, absolutely, Harry, this is you know, it was it was great reconnecting with you at at Connect. I’m glad we were able to flag you down and really happy to chat with you today.

Harry Brelsford 

All right, we’ll talk to you next time. Thanks, Vikram.

Vikram Khanna 

Thanks, Harry.