Posted September 28, 2015 • by Mary McCoy
“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” - Theodore Roosevelt
It's been a whirlwind couple of days here in Las Vegas, Nevada at our sold-out MSP user conference, Navigate 2015! This morning our CEO, Michael George, took the stage to walk partners through world-changing explorations and discoveries from the past 500 years. Keep reading for keynote highlights and to learn how to draw parallels to your own opportunities and future business success.
Michael began his keynote with the year 1492 when the celebrated navigator, Italian-born Christopher Columbus set sail from southern Spain with 87 men to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. Three months later, the crew discovered what we now know as the Americas. Upon learning that they had not, in fact, reached mainland China and Japan, Columbus spearheaded the European exploration and colonization of the Americas by organizing four voyages between 1492 and 1502. His expeditions ultimately led to the spread of goods, animals, plants, populations, ideas, and of course, technology between the Old and New World, an event which came to be called the Columbian Exchange (depicted below).
image source: https://learnodo-newtonic.com/columbian-exchange-facts
Flash-forward several hundred years later to 1989 when Tim Berners Lee implemented the first successful communication between a HTTP client and server, spurring the invention of the Internet and the modern exchange of ideas we've come to depend on today. Consider the role of email in your daily life. If Columbus's discovery was responsible for helping us enhance our maps, email was the breakthrough application that put the Internet on the map! No longer dependent on fleets of ships and arduous, disease-ridden journeys, email gave us the opportunity to exchange communications across the globe digitally.
The Internet continued to flourish from the late 90's into the millennium, a period known as the dot-com boom in the United States, and is arguably the greatest example of success in globalization. Its creation connects people, companies, and governments all across the world. In his bestselling book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman examines how more recent examples of globalization have leveled the playing field for companies seeking to dominate their respective markets, urging the need for businesses to be flexible and adapt in order to remain competitive globally. As an example, Friedman analyzes the practice of outsourcing, claiming that the Internet transformed business processes by enabling companies to divide and offload service and manufacturing tasks in the most efficient, cost-effective way. Michael added that those who were courageous enough to shift business models and become early adopters prospered.
Recognizing that all sustainable businesses need more than just stellar products and services, we knew that in order to maintain longevity and help our partners grow, we needed a strong business model. Inspired by the success of outsourcing, Michael shared how we've invented something really special with our partners - an approach we call smart sourcing.
MSPs and IT Solution Providers simply don't have the budget to outsource their services, so we set out to find a way to apply an enterprise business model to Main Street America. The Channel's challenges of acquiring new customers and having enough skilled workers go hand-in-hand. We built our business around a service delivery model that takes advantage of the global labor arbitrage movement and seeks to correct the shortage of IT talent. What we're experiencing in the Channel is a classic case of supply and demand at work. Michael stated that with an SMB market exploding in the number of endpoints that need managing and with the complexity of virtualization, cloud computing, mobility, and backup and disaster recovery (BDR), we have just begun to outstrip the skills that exist here in our economy. If you want to grow, you're going to need more qualified labor than there's currently a supply of, and you can't afford to squander or underutilize the resources you currently have.
Because we understand the struggles small-to-medium-sized MSP business owners face in scaling their operations and exceeding client demands, we back our remote monitoring and management (RMM) technology with a team of 600+ certified Network Operations Center (NOC) technicians that absorb up to 90% of routine tickets and deliver 24x7x365 support for our partners so that they may better allocate staff time to more revenue-driving projects. Our domestic help desk also empowers and helps take the pressure off of partners with limited employees, time and budget, allowing them to do more with less.
Michael discussed the obstacles MSPs must navigate, but the SMBs they serve have their own set of challenges. When you add up all of the compliance, regulatory, and security issues your clients are subject to, it's clear they need someone managing their IT environments. They don't always have the ability, capacity, or desire to hire a CIO, but someone has to protect their client data. That's why we advocate MSPs use our unique, smart-sourced business model to assert their value as a trusted business advisor and become their clients' virtual CIO (vCIO). In so doing, the SMB will be wholly reliant on them. Michael added that since we sell through the Channel and never directly to the end user, we share with our partners this responsibility of safeguarding their networks. In the same way that we have taken one small step for our partners, we encourage MSPs to take...
After walking through a series of historical examples, Michael ended with Space, the final frontier. Perhaps one of the greatest moments in our nation's history, and the single most awe-inspiring instance of exploration was landing a man on the moon. In 1961, President Kennedy challenged the nation to accomplish this feat before the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong defied expectations by becoming the first man to ever walk on the moon. These famous steps are an iconic chapter in our nation's history, but it's important to note that they could not have happened had we not taken the necessary steps back here on Earth. In fact, it's no coincidence our conference is in Las Vegas this year, the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. The space race started right here in Vegas's backyard many moons ago when Chuck Yeager broke the speed of sound on March 1, 1947. Yeager later commanded Air Force Aerospace Research Pilots School, training nearly half of the astronauts in the Gemini, Mercury and Apollo space programs including Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and crewmate Michael Collins. Success did not happen overnight. It took decades of exploring new territories and pushing limits before the American flag billowed proudly on the surface of the moon.
image source: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/space%20suit/
What does this all mean for MSPs? How can the past inform our future within the Channel? Our partners all have their own ambitious goals that they hope to achieve. Like Columbus, they are explorers. That doesn't mean their voyage has always been smooth sailing, but in times of turbulence, they've persevered and charted new territories. Our partners are also innovators. They've brought something new to this market by embracing labor arbitrage and smart sourcing to grow and scale their businesses.
Navigate 2015 represents a renewed commitment to the cause and our stance that our success is our partners' success. Michael reminded the crowd that we are all on a journey together. We are prepared with a unique service delivery model on a unified platform, bringing economics at scale to a rapidly changing and demanding marketplace. We've rewritten the rules and found a winning strategy. Turning to the audience, Michael urged them to get ready, to find their own space ship, to launch their own mission, and to make their own declarations about being a winner in this space.
"Together, let's shoot for the moon!"
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Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Senior Demand Generation Programs Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.