March 15, 2024

Episode 16: There’s Money on the Table in BDR and Managed Print

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Episode 16: There’s Money on the Table in BDR and Managed Print

Erick and Rich talk about the underappreciated opportunity for MSPs in managed print; the secrets to improving MSP-vendor relationships; ways to do more for your customers and make more for yourself with BDR; and an attempt in St. Louis to break the Guinness World Record for wearing underwear on your head.

Discussed in this episode:

There’s a Red-Hot SMB Market Opportunity in…Print?!?

Museum attempts world record for underwear worn on head



Rich: [00:00:00] And three, two, one, blast off, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the MSP Chat Podcast, your weekly visit with two talking heads talking with you about the services, strategies, and success tips you need to make it big and manage services. My name is Rich Freeman. I am Chief Content Officer of Channel Master, the organization responsible For this podcast here, I am joined this week, as I am every week, by your other co host, Erick Simpson.

He’s our chief strategist, my friend of many years. Erick, how

Erick: goes it? It’s going great, Rich, and I look forward to catching up with you in a few days as we continue our journey of exploring new events and conferences this year in 2024.

Bryce: Yeah.


Rich: we re record this, so about 10 days or so before you’re going to be receiving this episode, folks, we are on the eve of a joint speaking appearance that Erick and I will be making at the channel partners at slash MSP expo in Las Vegas next week.

We’ll tell you how that went. On the next episode after this one, but we’re we’re looking forward to that. It’s coming up next week. What, Erick, that, that event is in Las Vegas. I’m already in Las Vegas because as we’re recording now, I had been attending the HP Amplify partner conference.

And that actually is the lead into our

Erick: story of the week. Let’s roll baby. All right.

Rich: Let me, I came to this event. You pretty much go into any event or any conversation with any vendor expecting the letters AI to be all over the conversation. And therefore the thing that somebody like me is going to write about.

And to be sure there was a lot of AI talk at the HP conference. In fact, they just introduced their first wave of AI PCs, which they’re saying is the largest. Family of such products in the industry. They were talking extensively about how they’re going to build AI into their poly line of video collaboration solutions and their printers and a lot of other things, but I got to tell you, Erick the story that I’m going to be writing in Channelholic, my blog is not about the next new thing, artificial intelligence, it is about print.

Believe it or not. Because first morning of the show here, before the general session even I came across a a new report from IDC that was talking about the opportunity in managed print. And what was really interesting about the conclusions IDC drew was that they said basically you look at the enterprise opportunity in managed print, it is flat or declining.

All of the upside in that market is an SMB and they believe there is quite a bit of upside. Now we think of print as a dying market. And it is from a long term cyclical point or secular point of view, a declining market. But that decline is happening very slowly here in the U S according to IDC.

Businesses of all sizes will produce a trillion. Pages through printers this year. And obviously if you are offering a a per page service of some kind a number like a trillion a year is looking pretty good. That number will go down. But it’s not going down very quickly. And in fact, I IDC has also.

Predicting that even by 2027, as the numbers go down, you’ll be looking at a little bit under a trillion dollars a year, a trillion pages a year of printing now historically managed print services have been enterprise oriented because it’s really only the big businesses. That have big fleets to manage and they’re very interested in a vendor who can come in and set them up on a three year contract and say, we’re going to consolidate these devices and replace those devices, cut your print costs by 30 percent or something like that.

If you’re an SMB, you got four or five printers, that value proposition isn’t necessarily a compelling one. But the value proposition of moving print and print services and ink and the other consumables onto the OPEX budget and having the predictability of a managed print offer, that very much applies to print.

And so one of the things that HP announced at the show this week is their very first SMB oriented managed print subscription service. And this is an add on if your client is buying a new printer. You can very easily add this Managed Print Subscription Service onto that deal and they’ve set it up to be very easy because the barrier to entry for the end user and the MSP traditionally has been complexity.

And so you can choose, there are a few tiers, generally speaking, how many pages a month do [00:05:00] you print? You pick a band, you pick whether you want color or black and white. This web tool that a partner can actually build into their website will spit out a number and that’s what you’re going to pay HP month to month.

It’s going to get you your toner and your consumables. HP is going to be monitoring that device so they will know when it’s running low on toner and they’ll get that out to the customer before that runs out. There are next day repair services. There are analytics. HP will either do all of that for you as an MSP, or if you want to handle pieces of that yourself, outside of things like the toner provisioning, et cetera, you get that choice.

They’re making it a very flexible service. Here is something that a lot of SMBs still haven’t started doing, getting it to manage print. A lot of MSPs haven’t gotten into as well. IDC sees a big opportunity for the MSP in that market right now. And HP has just introduced something that’s designed to make that easier for the MSP.

Yesterday’s technology, Erick, print might have some

Erick: life in it. It’s a very interesting topic, Rich, and I’ve worked with probably more than five, less than 10 printer copier resellers in the last several years that wanted to penetrate the MSP market, because while they’re very good at selling these types of services in the enterprise historically.

They see a tremendous opportunity in either launching an MSP practice or acquiring an MSP practice. Because they see managed service providers having this very unique relationship with their clients. They go deep and they go wide within those relationships. And this taking a traditional kind of a copy or print model and making it fit into an MSP model.

Has turned out to be pretty challenging. There’s a lot of differences, not only in the business model itself, but in the sales process and the the can be perceived as a more of a transactional type of relationship when we’re selling consumables and printers and things like that. I know some of the more mature printer copier organizations that I’ve worked with, try to be more consultative.

As you and I both know, Rich, nobody beats the trusted advisor consultative perception and outcome that MSPs deliver to their end user clients. So this is an interesting shift or pivot for HP to really take advantage of the opportunity through an indirect MSP partner channel, offering this service and solution.

So it’s. It’s pretty interesting. And I bet MSPs will be more attracted to positioning printer copier services, this MRR based solution for printer copier. And consumables than they have been before because of HP’s kind of leadership in this way and making it more MSP friendly, if you will.

It’s pretty interesting.

Rich: Yeah, we’ve been hearing for years and years about convergence in the channel, right? And the IT channel, and the print channel, and the telco channel, all kind of converging. And businesses emerging as the one stop shop. And yeah, I had a conversation with an IDC analyst at the show that kind of echoed some of what you’re talking about.

It’s been difficult for the the print partners to get into IT services and embrace that MSP model. Conversely, it’s been difficult for the MSPs. But what IDC sees happening now is these very easy to embrace offers like this one that HP just introduced, making it much, much easier for an IT managed service provider to add print to what they do.

They don’t have to acquire new skills that they didn’t necessarily have before. This is very easy to adopt. So it might turn out to be easier now. For for MFPs to move into print than it is for the print guys to move in IT, which could be an advantage to a lot of folks in in our audience here.

So we’ll see how that unfolds. Certainly an interesting storyline, not one I expected to to be writing about at this event, but like I said, an interesting one and it leads us, Erick, to your tip of the week. What do you

Erick: got? Rich, this is going to be a tip of the week for both MSPs and for their vendor partners.

And I’m going to pull you into the tip of the week, Rich, because it’s all about what we’re going to be talking about next week at CP Expo MSP Summit. And it’s this idea that vendors are from Mars and MSPs are from Venus, right? So traditionally what we’ve seen, back when I first [00:10:00] started my journey in, flat rate IT services in the early 2000s, before I even knew there was an acronym, with three letters in it that equal MSP, we were challenged in building out our deliverables and our solution stack back in the early days, rich, because there was no MSP friendly awareness with vendors and, we had, if we wanted to buy, an RMM tool, we had to buy a bunch of licenses and hope we could sell our way out of it and things like that, and some of the other tools and services that we were Including in our portfolio were very costly.

And again, the the pricing models weren’t MSP friendly and it made it difficult for us to figure out how to succeed when you eventually did. That’s the good news. And that was then this is now, and now we are faced with a huge number of vendors that really are working hard to understand how to penetrate the MSP.

Audience, just HP the story you just brought up here and the news being that MSPs are becoming more MSP friendly, but there’s still a long way to go for the overall industry, right? So let’s talk a little bit, you and I, rich, I’m going to pull you in. For a glimpse of our talk next week and talk about some of the things that vendors perceive as being this is what we need to, this is how we need to operate in order to be profitable and successful that in many cases may be counter to what an MSP really needs and that that missing communication or that missing or that misalignment sometimes causes pain on both sides.

So let’s talk a little bit about that, Rich. So let’s say that we have a brand new vendor that comes into the market as we see a lot of them do in very specific quadrants, of solutions. And they want to talk to MSPs what I’ll take the MSP role and let’s just do one, right? Let’s do one example.

So I’m an MSP rich. You’re the vendor and you’re calling me. You’re emailing me You’re trying to get me on the phone and I get on the phone and what’s important to me as an MSP business owner is For you as the vendor as the strategic vendor partner to understand number one my business model Right?

So one of the areas where we see a little bit of a mismatch is the vendor themselves doesn’t really understand the business model and what’s important to the MSP. Hey, I’m busy. I don’t have a lot of time. I want to make sure that I can include, incorporate your solution or product or solution into my bundle in a way that integrates with the other applications that I’m using, that does it make it more difficult for me to invoice my clients and for me to pay you my bills?

And I want some support from you. I want some MDF. I want some sales tools. I want you know you to send me leads when I need them, right? So take the vendor’s position rich and let’s talk about you know Where your business model as a vendor I need to appreciate that as well. And how do we come together as a team to make things happen?

Rich: Yeah I think a lot of the disconnect in this case and the others that we talk about in this presentation, it a lot of it tends to be on the vendor side. From the vendor’s point of view I’m moving into the MSP market. I am recruiting MSP partners now particular case.

So sometimes we’re talking about a startup, a newcomer to the industry and MSPs are going to be the first kind of partner that this company is interested in recruiting. Sometimes we’re talking about companies that they’ve been selling direct, they’ve been selling into enterprise. And now they’ve decided that they also want to have an MSP channel.

And from their perspective it’s, I’ve got this great solution. And I’m offering it to MSPs and I’ve got a terrific product story to tell them and they are not beating down the door to partner with me and you actually have already set up the disconnect that exists on the vendor side.

So it is great that vendor has a terrific product. But having, a terrific product isn’t all that an MSP is looking for when they’re trying to decide who they’re going to partner with. I need, and some of this stuff is so elementary to people like ourselves, people in our audience who know the MSP landscape.

I’ve got to have integrations to the other tools that I’m using. I’ve, the system has to be multi tenant. Like the conversation will sometimes just end between that potential MSP partner recruit and the vendor, when they discover doesn’t integrate with your RMM or PSA. And it’s a single tenant system.

Come back to me when that’s different. I [00:15:00] want margin operator. I want to be able to make money with this. Explain to me, not just why this product is cool. But how it’s going to enable me to make money. And then what are you going to do to help me service and support it and to sell it?

You mentioned MDF, these things matter. To MSPs and newcomers on the vendor side of the relationship who, like you were saying, don’t really get the MSP business model yet, sometimes fail to appreciate, you can’t even get up past square one with the MSPs unless you understand what matters to them and build that into you.

The product itself and the offer that you’re bringing to that MSP channel.

Erick: Yes. Rich. And you brought up a really salient point when you mentioned where that vendor may come from initially, either they’re brand new, maybe they’re funded by, equity or something like that, and they’re penetrating the market, or maybe they are pivoting into the channel and they are really successful at selling direct right into the enterprise or to end customers.

And now have to build the awareness of how to build an effective, thriving, indirect channel through MSPs. And all of those things that you just mentioned that we’ve been talking about that are important to MSPs. And again the last one, beyond some of the ones that we talked about, that is really becoming a bigger pain for MSPs is this whole billing and invoicing.

Challenge that they have with some of these vendors that have great solutions. They may have integrations, but the last kind of that last hill is, man, make it easy for me to track consumption and build my clients effectively, and then make sure that it, and make, you make it easy for me to be sure that what I’m paying you is accurate, right?

So there’s a lot to unpack there, but I think this was a highlight of the conversation we’ll be having next week together. As we continue to present this session as a team at more and more events. If you’re going to be visiting, if you’re going to be attending this this will already have occurred.

When you see this episode or listen to this podcast, but if you did sit in on our session, we’d love to hear about it. Comment below afterwards and give us your

Rich: thoughts. All right, fantastic. Let’s do this, Erick, let’s take a break. When we come back on the other side, we are gonna be joined by Bryce Roberts.

He’s the Vice President of marketing at Iont a BDR company. BDR. Sounds to most MSPs like as familiar product category as there is. What is there that we don’t know about BDR that we should know. And it turns out there are all sorts of. Underleveraged opportunities, underappreciated issues and challenges, and we’re going to get into those with Bryce Roberts in just a few moments when we come back from this break.

And welcome back to part two of the MSP Chat Podcast, our spotlight interview segment. Folks BDR, it’s as familiar a topic as you can imagine in managed services. It’s been around forever and it’s very easy to take it for granted as a market so mature that there’s really no further upside in it for MSPs.

Here to to put that myth aside and talk a little bit about under leveraged opportunities in BDR is the vice president of marketing at Axiant, BDR vendor. His name is Bryce Roberts. Bryce, welcome

Bryce: to the show. Thank you, Rich. Thank you, Erick. It’s a long time listener, first time guest, and I’m thrilled to be here.

All right.

Rich: Before we dive in let’s just introduce folks to you. So tell folks a little bit about who you are and what you do at Accient and tell them a little bit about

Bryce: Accient. Absolutely. Yeah. So I think who I am is a little less relevant. I’ve got, a decade plus of SaaS experience as a marketer.

I’ve been in the channel actively for four years. Is that another company a few years back? And have a good line of sight to clean my first year here at Axion, I’m still a little bit new, but not new exactly to the BCDR space or to the channel per se. And so what I’m really here to do is really.

Elevated level of storytelling connection with the community. We have some amazing folks and product and engineering and support. Obviously our sales team is not going to hound you like crazy and it’s going to be helpful. And so we have such an amazing cast of characters that I get to compliment and help out.

But what I’m really trying to do. With prior experience in this realm of just scaling the storytelling more video, more in person things. I’m doing a live stream monthly may start to change to every two weeks or even weekly going forward. So definitely like a fellow podcaster, live stream with you all.

And so just really tried to take the stories from our partners, from our MSB community, really tell, have them tell it in their own words. What do they struggle with business continuity and disaster recovery, where they struggle with in terms of driving more revenue for their businesses, how they lead with data protection security, [00:20:00] how does this work out for them?

And really just trying to facilitate more and more conversations, more peer group involvement all that kind of good stuff. And just really scaling this a little bit more into the modern era to facilitate that really one to one connection that we all thrive. Yeah that’s

Rich: perfect for us because it means you’re in touch with a lot of Axiom’s MSP partners.

You got to have your finger on the pulse in that respect with with regards to the BDR market. And, I set things up at the beginning of the segment here by saying BDR is a thoroughly familiar topic. It’s a mature market. I think there’s certainly a perception out there that there probably isn’t.

A ton of upside or growth potential there. For at least some of the folks in our audience probably think that way. From a, from an Axian standpoint, from your point of view how much growth potential is there still out there in in BCDR?

Bryce: Yeah I think there’s a ton, obviously, and it’s not just my word for it or because someone’s paying me to say that but we’ve seen that we’ve seen double digit growth ourselves.

We’ve seen our partners experience both double digit growth on their own of selling more and higher value. And that’s exactly you what I’ll get into more the details of, and that, that fits the conversation. But also on the other side of the bottom line of we’ve got these amazing case studies of, I gave myself a hundred thousand dollar raise, or I got a six figure promotion for myself by switching over, by cutting my costs, by automating things so that I can have my Bible texts and great employees.

Focusing on other things and servicing clients, better growing allowing us to scale to more clients and grow more. So these multiple levers that we’re seeing of selling more with more capabilities, entering new verticals, signing on more clients, attacking compliance and cyber insurance risk better and having higher value with cost savings in terms of just the solution itself.

And then also. On the labor that you’re saving and just and your better ability to manage it and more peace of mind at night and and better quality of life for the MSP owner. So I think there’s multiple levers here and sure. There’s aspects of this whole picture that maybe it’d be a less value add or a little bit more dated or known.

And there’s more that there’s some that are more cutting edge and more of an opportunity, but I think it’s really never been. To this level of I guess the point I want to get to quickly is, a lot of your work is being done for you that this, the cyber landscape of ransomware and attacks, and that’s never been more prevalent, more in the SMB people’s minds.

And I’m the last person to try to do fear mongering as a tactic or anything like that, but we’re just all speaking the honest truth of when you have MGM getting take down and taken out and all these massive supply chain attacks. The ground the landscape could not be more favorable to MSPs who really wanted to provide true value and true better service.

And then it’s just a question of how and why, and how do you balance that with all of your other million other competing priorities?

Erick: It’s interesting Bryce, and I really appreciate your kind of community awareness and, fostering growth. I’ve been in the channel for, a couple of years myself recovering MSP and.

That’s really how I made decisions. Going to events, talking to peers, building, in participating in the community and then trying to lead the community at different stages of my career, which was, a lot of fun. And MSPs are that community kind of organism, right? So they’ll listen to their peers.

They’re listened to. Thought leaders and experts and really try to participate and grow based on recommendations from the community itself. So I really appreciate your. Your awareness of that and approach to it. So you touched on, like I was starting to say, it was very interesting. You touched on cybersecurity liability policies, compliance to those policies.

And one of the things that I talk a lot about is bundling pricing and delivering services to clients and a. a good, better, best model. And the entry level from a cybersecurity bundling standpoint, should be the minimum that partners require every one of their clients to subscribe to, to be their client.

It’s my approach. And I say, look, in that minimum bundle, you should review your client’s cyber liability insurance policies and make sure that you’re mapping services against those. Can you Run with the ball a little bit on BCDR and how it plays in these policies, because in my experience, that is a core component of every cyber liability insurance policy is some way to back up and recover data, and there’s also some very some policies are very stringent about how that’s done and how far away the data lives and all this other stuff.

Can you walk us through some of that? I sure

Bryce: can. Yeah. And I will get to I’ll close the loop on this, but I want to use a, an example of a partner again, to put the spotlight on the community, on, on actual partners, a couple of weeks ago, I had a webinar with Jess Cockrell, and this is an MSP round table.

The Axiom does, we do those monthly and they’re there, you can find them online. And, he. Told this story about it EIT Networks. Where he’s based up, he just had this awakening. [00:25:00] He heard Robert Shafi’s story about the Kaseya VSA attack back of the day. And that was like the big light bulb moment of, we’ve been selling things a certain way.

We wanted to increase our, revenue per end point and our margins and do more. But we didn’t feel like we really had a leg to stand on in terms of that impetus to the SMB clients of you need more, you, the good is not good enough and you need a lot more. And so it, for some people it happens in different ways.

It’s you get clients with high requirements and you hustle to really get your shop together and fulfill that. And then you could sell some and then you see on the rise, okay maybe there’s more clients like that. And for some, it’s almost more an internal thing of we’re called to a higher Level of service.

We’re called to really, um, use the analogy of the sheriff and the frontier land. It’s we’re like we’re the last line of defense and we’re protecting these poor, helpless SAB owners against something that they don’t have really a good understanding of what it is.

And so I think for him is more that, that internal awakening that, okay, these things are happening every day. They’re out there. They’re real. I need to be prepared. And so he did this stair step. Innovation of, you know, yeah, to what I think is their packaging and bubbling Paul practice, but to just to make that offering way more robust, cover way more bases, inclusive of things like NIST and cyber insurance and other things like that.

But it was really almost like an overnight aha vision of what they needed to build to. Of course, I took time to do it, but I think that is. I think maybe those are two of the pathways. It’s if you either get requirements coming to you and you need to really bone up to fulfill that’s one way, but it’s almost like you can reinvent yourself.

I don’t want to make it sound easy or. Or downplay all the challenges involved, but I think it’s a mentality. It’s a focus one. Yeah, whether or not you’re talking the framework of going from 3, 2, 1, to 3, 2, 1, 1, or 3, 2, 1, 0, and then 1 and 0, and we keep extending the whole amount.

But you need to, what we talk about at Axian a lot is flexibility. You’re going to have clients coming to you with different use cases. They want a BDR appliance locally, so they can spin up really fast. They want a HIPAA compliant retention for up to 10 years and be able to manage all those kinds of UK use cases.

Cyber insurance is going to want to see evidence of how you can store things. I can have it in the cloud, how you can have it to be able to spin up locally, how you can replicate it, how you can be assured of the quality of the backup. It’s one of those ones and zeros of, zero defects.

And in your data, we are really big on air gap as part of our secure by design setup, where it’s not that you need to configure with us a certain way to make things successful. Air gap is always on. It is always there. You can call us up. If someone has access if someone deletes your backups and says, hi, I got you pay the ransom, You can call us up, we can verify you and say, no, we separate the record of deletion of immutable data from the actual data itself.

And so we can, we still have access to it for a time period and we can give it back to you. So I think that there’s so many facets to it and cyber insurance is a huge important part of it. There’s other frameworks. There, there’s even, GDPR and HIPAA and data privacy, things that keep evolving day in and day out.

And so what you, what I think we really want to preach a lot is the importance of flexibility and not just point back to us, but for whatever vendor you’re with, or your combination of the security itself and the data protection. But can you cover those use cases? Because if you can, that’s going to help you sell more.

That’s how you cover your clients.

Erick: Yeah. It’s it’s been quite a moving target over the last. We’ve really accelerated our awareness and of the risk that not only we, as MSPs, I’m using the we term because I still, feel like I’m, participating in this journey that we’re all on but as MSPs need to efforts to protect their own data and protect themselves from risk, right?

Drinking their own Kool Aid. So must they try to skate where the puck is going to be for their clients. And what we’ve seen, Bryce, especially in the last few years has been an acceleration toward the cloud, right? I argue that it’s based a lot on what happened with the pandemic and remote hybrid workforce or work from anywhere and all that, but we’ve got all this data now in the cloud and, another one of the things that I talk about a lot is this sense or belief.

By end customers that all their SaaS application data is being backed up and secured by whoever that provider is. Let’s talk about Microsoft 365, right? Yep. Best example. And what’s your take on this shared responsibility model that, these major platforms Institute and how MSPs need to understand what that is to carry the appropriate message to their clients to say, Hey, you really need to invest in something different because in most cases your data is not being backed up.

That’s not the platform’s responsibility. They’re responsible for, the infrastructure and availability and things like that. But they have basically little to no [00:30:00] responsibility. When it comes to client and MSPs data, would that be accurate?

Bryce: Oh, it’s a hundred percent accurate. And so on the I guess one point is I’m glad that Microsoft says it themselves.

And you can look up the, their pricing for their, paid backup. And I think they even say it in that thing where they’re trying to sell you of just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean that’s the end all be all you need to protect it. And, here’s our price for it.

Yeah, absolutely. 15, six, a gig to start. And so by my calculations and our customer base that would cost someone about seven bucks a month per user. And that is not what our cloud backup is going to charge people for, nor is it lots of other people. They seem to have a pretty premium offering themselves.

They tell you straight up, this is your data. You cannot just have one copy of it with us. And sleep easy at night. And so I appreciate that a lot of the vendors, at least like super clear and honest about it. But at the beginning of the chat, I talked about, there’s never been a better space for awareness and for the education to the SMB marketplace of there, there’s lots of cybercrime going on in it.

And it’s a wild West out there. Yet on the other hand, I think Erick, you’re really pointing to a really good point of but there’s still these nuances. There’s still these things where maybe that education or that mindset has not fully caught on of what do you mean by my team stuff is it could go away or all my chats could get lost, with the server outage or things like that.

I guess there is an opportunity to continue to educate folks. It is your data, call it zero trust, call it call this kind of responsible management paradigm, but it offers a lot of opportunity. I think again, back to the flexibility notion of if you can have a solution or a set of solutions, and maybe we’ll talk about consolidation at some point as a real lever for MSP profitability and growth, and how to get more data protection in 2024.

But if you can have a. A portal or a screen that allows you to do multiple things all at the same time, even through multiple products within the same kind of ecosystem. I think that has a lot of value for you to be able to do the on prem stuff for you to really deal with cloud environments and check on endpoints versus servers and some type of unified experience.

Have one bill have maybe even a flat fee bill that’s it’s pulled storage. And so it’s not going to just bury every single month. And then you get, have our clients and all their offices and all their use cases, and you’re trying to sort through all the billing for the first week of every single month, so I think there’s a lot of things that maybe are some of the unspoken or the devils of the details aspects of how to protect a better, how to have a better experience and how profitability can come through, just lowering all the work cycles that, that go into

Erick: a lot of this work. Must be friendly.

Integrations and billing. What a concept, Bryce.

Bryce: I don’t want to rock the boat too much, but

Erick: easy, easy there.

Bryce: Exactly. Exactly.

Rich: We’re talking about underappreciated, underleveraged opportunities around BDR, Bryce. I wrote a piece about Axiant from my blog channel Hawk last year.

At some point in which I quoted you folks talking about BDR as a surprisingly underappreciated underleveraged opportunity backup is important. That’s part of the equation, but having a failover strategy as well is critical. From Axiom’s point of view, what if you had to guess what percentage of MSPs have?

A viable a failover strategy in place that they are billing their customers

Bryce: for. Yeah, I feel bad that I don’t run the stat off the top of my head when we did our MSP experience virtual summit last October, we had some of our pre video giving a lot of stats of, how many of recoveries came to us for support that we did.

I think it was a kind of amazing status of those, hundreds of recoveries that were performed a decent amount where with the air gap was a mistake. And I didn’t mean to delete that data and can you please get it back for me kind of thing. So there was a, there was not a, there was a non zero amount of air gap, but I’d want to say, percent seems about right of folks who confidently say I’m back at the data, but I really, I love my DR planning. We have this thing we call run books, some people call playbooks, whatever, but you can pre configure how you want to do that fail over. And then with our incremental vault recovery, you can fail back, at your leisure and you can continue to.

To see that and get it back in working order and somewhat painless fashion. So that’s where the rubber meets the road. We had this thing that we don’t use everywhere all the time anymore, but it’s on our t shirts and a lot of email signatures of amateurs backup professionals recovered.

So like you can back up all day long. And if you are not prepared to recover, then the DR and without the DR, you have no BC, you can’t continue the business if you can’t actually recover from that disaster, and that’s a hundred percent the overlook thing. And I think the overlooked part within that is the automation.

It’s like how can you. Schedule that. How can you, and this is back to our original point. This is your selling opportunity. So I’ve had some partners talk to us about how they in the past year, use those runbooks, configure them. And then once they got familiar and comfortable with it, they would go to clients and say, let’s sit down for your annual DR planning session.

And is the RTO, the Recovery time objective for those not familiar with the alphabet soup. Is that looking good? Is there a recovery point objective? How long can [00:35:00] you how much missing data at what point in the day can you live without? And are those still looking good as your business evolves?

You’re going back to the SMBs and your clients and you’re asking them, what’s happened in the last year. And now you are a true consultant. You’re a true advisor. You’re not a break fix person. You’re not a, yeah, I’ve got your backup on a disc somewhere. If you ever need it, give me a call.

And after the weekend, I can come run it back over to you. You’re a true advisor into how what’s going to keep their business running. What’s going to keep it thriving. And part of it is the disaster recovery planning. If you’re not doing that, I think it’s a missed opportunity. Yeah. To add more value and to increase your margins.


Rich: you referenced consolidation a little bit before, and that is something that I wanted to talk with you about, because I think the first time I met your CEO was about a year and a half ago, and the occasion for that was that Axiant had just published some research, and unfortunately I forget the number, but one of the things that you studied you had run a survey with a bunch of MSPs and asked them, how many different BDR platforms do you support for your customers?

And it was a, Surprisingly large number. A larger number than it probably should be. I’ve done writing and reporting before on the sort of keys, the common attributes that the fastest growing, most successful MSPs have in common. And one of those is standardization. They. Reduce the number of vendors that they partner with and the number of platforms that they support.

So talk a little bit about that, about the the costs associated with running lots of BDR platforms and the opportunity to enhance your BDR practice and its profitability by consolidating. A hundred

Bryce: percent. So I believe the numbers, again, off the top of my head, we’re in the range of spanning from six to 10 a number of years ago.

And now we’re seeing a little bit more in the three to five or three to six space. And of course it’s like a bell curve, like everything else, or it’s, there’s a distribution where you’ve got some folks who are like, we have to, and the only reason we had the second one is because some legacy business and they’re in some weird vertical and we have to do X, Y, Z for that.

But we really want to get to one. And so I think it could be definitely we’re talking about BCDR, but it could be anything. And, the less tools you have, you’re the it’s the economies of scale. It’s the efficiency. I’ve got a another round table next week with James Richards over at new charter.

And he’s going to be talking about this consolidation plate of this group. Group of MSPs and sharing best practices and going back and forth. And they don’t mandate that necessarily all the time people would do a certain thing, but once the word gets out of Oh, we could be, if we were all to focus around a couple of these tools, we could do better knowledge sharing, we could just get better at it.

And. Share best practices and even cut me cover for each other at times and things like that. So just idea of economies of scale of Ericka’s watching one of the prior chats and you call it sprawl. And I’ll let you know, that tells you everything about it. We all know about what urban sprawl and suburban sprawl is, and it just wrecks the, your mentality.

And so I don’t maybe have the best numbers in terms of dollars per MSP or per year growth rate, like how much of your EBITDA are you just shedding with this waste of too much sprawl. But I think it’s very intuitive that when you have to constantly train techs on this sprawled out environment of more solutions than you actually need, when you have to patch that, when you have to wait for them to do updates or feature releases, when you have to weigh their options and things like that it just takes a lot out of you.

And so to whatever degree is reasonable and possible, and that’s why we are so big on this flexibility thing, not to toot our own horn, but like people literally. Consolidate to us sometimes after waiting out three year contracts here and there and whatever they’re able to, but we have a number of partners who consolidate down to one solution.

Because of that’s what the flexibility does. And the flip side of going away from the sprawl to a single or a small handful of solutions is the efficiency gains are just massive. You get your folks trained up. They’re used to their support. Escalations and how that works they’re used to how to do the recoveries and that scales really well.

Then when you go to sell new people, you’re not worried about what am I going to recommend to them? And of course, when you sell new clients, they’re going to be on something and you may have to deal with this reconsolidation. It’s not like it’s a one and done thing. It’s just going to be part of the industry going forward.

But as much as it’s within your control. We’ve seen a lot of people have a lot of success and a lot of great feedback on how that works for them.

Erick: Bryce, you mentioned, uh, the sprawl and I want to just tag in a little bit there because, when I’m working with MSPs the first place I look in terms of, raising their profitability is in how many vendors and how many solutions.

They’re bundling into their portfolio. And in my experience, a lot of MSPs will bring on a new service or solution because they know it’s the right thing to do for their clients. And they feel like it’s going to solve, some sort of an efficiency or integration or billing, making something simpler for them themselves, but they look at that as.

Kind of a cost of doing business. If they will include [00:40:00] it and they’ll deploy it and sometimes not even toot their own horn and let the client know that they’re offering this great, amazing value and not barging for it. So let’s talk a little bit about, when we’re looking at all of the sprawl that we’ve got, the intention being, okay, let’s review everything that we’re doing.

And try to consolidate, eliminate, replace with more standardized, less total number of services and solutions and vendor relationships and how that, that exercise right there can increase an MSP’s profit margins to a point where they can become a little bit more competitive. They can reward their existing staff.

With more bonuses, salary increase, things like that to keep them and also be a little bit more competitive in who they can bring on to support the team. How do you see that?

Bryce: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think one thing to take a step back possibly. I don’t want the message for me or my opinion to be consolidate because that’s convenient and easy.

And that’s what you need to do as an MSB owner or director of tech that you just need to make everything easy for yourselves. Like it is the client experience and it is the service delivery and the quality. Of business continuity and disaster recovery service you provide to them. That is going to make or break your business, right?

So how they experience you, what you can do for them and the capability to keep their businesses running is your lifeblood. And as soon as you have a bad event, or you have a customer who has a very bad experience and isn’t able to continue on or God forbid a ransomware attack that you yourself are not able to move past easily, then things are getting really rocky.

So always keep the main thing, which is. Provide best service then when possible with the right types of platforms and partners and vendors, and there’s lots out there, from PSA to, to remote monitoring and all kinds of things. It’s not just in this space, but this is what I’m more familiar with.

Then if you can also get with a vendor that allows you to consolidate, one thing that we’re probably not, I haven’t spoken about yet is just you get to re renegotiate contracts at certain times. If you have. X mas servers, we actually does tiered pricing. Other people do this.

You buy in bulk and you save, right? So if you’re doing all these things, you’re you’re getting nickel denied by some vendors and you’re doing a five service here and 10 over there. And there’s these endpoints of this cloud these many users and seats. Not really maximizing your total potential there.

And so I think there’s twofold then it’s back to that labor savings, which again, can be at times really hard to quantify. I’ve said, we’ve had case studies where folks have done the hard work to quantify that between the tech savings and then. Their staff that they’re able to reposition onto more value add things.

It can be six figures for NMSP. And I’m not talking about massive ones. This is like 25 to 50 employee shops at sometimes of, you really standardize on, on, on the platform itself, the training for the folks, for the techs there, the support processes, how you have those DR planning conversations with your clients, because it’s a known entity and you know how this tech works and you can have the same conversation over and over again.

So this. This idea of a kind of economies of scale or learning curve or whatever you want to frame it as it’s a very real savings in multiple places across the board that are going to really make a difference for you. Yeah.

Erick: Yeah. Sometimes, people take action because the, they just can’t take the pain any longer rather than stepping back and being where she’s like, Oh, I guess I should move off of that nail.

I’m standing on because now it hurts bad enough for me to make a change. It always, it’s always tough when an MSP gets into that situation, because now they’re reacting to things. So it’s great to, have these reviews on a regular basis, right? Yearly. I like what you said about, Hey, let’s review all of our agreements and just see what, what we can negotiate or renegotiate or what kind of, value we can gain from our vendor relationships.

I think that’s important. And I think vendors understand that, I think that, today’s, MSP channel and the vendors that support it is much different than when I launched, my MSP back in the early 2000s. There was no MSP friendly anything, right? So it’s moving in the right direction.

So, in when we talk about what you mentioned is offering higher value. Services from BCDR perspective, a lot of thoughts go and go through my mind, not only from a bundling and pricing and how we can add more value and better as a better response time in our different tiers of service for SLAs for clients, but also from a VCIO, VCTO, VCZO type of perspective.

So how can MSPs. Take on this critical role of being the, the person that or the organization that guards and [00:45:00] safeguards that business data and have it increase the value of their BCIO or BCTO or cybersecurity VCSO role. That they can charge clients for and make really meaningful strategic impact to acquire relationships.

How would you advise an MSP to see that? A

Bryce: hundred percent, Erick, this is the conversation you want to be in. You want to be the advisor, you want to be the expert, obviously they’re the expert in their businesses, but they’ve called you into their office to help them because the cyber realm eludes them.

And they don’t have their. Not at the resource level yet to have their own internal, or maybe they, as owners, we always forget that it’s not just that that this is the top priority for us to be clients. They’re running a dental office or law for or, any number of coffee shops or franchises or food trucks or whatever they’re doing.

They have they, they worried about a million other things about the economy and inflation, their labor force as well. So for you to be able to come in And really put this back on the top of their their inbox and say that this is really important. I’ve heard partners tell me how they frame this.

Cause I’m always just hungry for knowledge. Like how do you do this? And how do you move dump market? And how have you really done this? And it’s, some of them are such simple questions. Like, How long could your business be down for, if I’m not there to protect you, or if you didn’t want to buy our premium security package, and so you got XYZ and you trusted Microsoft’s, teams environment without an additional backup, for example, how long could you.

Last, or what would the dollar cost per hour be, or by minute, or, per office for you, if your whole system were to shut down and we had to spend the hours going through it. And so once they really, the gears start turning of what are these costs? And of course, Everett, no one wants to be down for a single second, but there’s going to be some.

Realm or starts the conversation as to what’s acceptable versus a complete non starter for me. What’s going to completely sink my business. And then you can step backwards from there. I think this is just one general way to attack it of just, just think about a world where your business would stop and we’d have to respend it back up.

And what would that mean to you? The others where we’ve talked to a couple of times about, where the frameworks exist, where the. Education, the market is ever present. Then I think it’s an easier thing of, how difficult is it going to be for you to renew your cyber insurance the next year?

What government contracts are you going to miss out on? If you can’t be compliant in this way, what happens if you get audited and this happens, and so whenever you’re within a framework, you can go down the line with these certain verticals. Then just understand from their point of view, how they wrestle with it themselves, how they’ve been bitten in the past and how they want to deal with it.

And again, just bring it to the table. It’s almost, it feels like the journey of MSP of the providers and the channel has just gone through such an evolution. It’s almost like we’re in the space where you’re like legal providers or you’re like working on these, all these complicated frameworks with all the seven.

It’s all good. I think it’s. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea. And you want to really focus on the tech or some cool features or where the business transformation of how do we get them, off of physical into the cloud or deal for remote workforce and all that fun, challenging stuff is out there as well, but now it’s almost, how many state regulations are going to get passed in this year or what federal laws are going to come down the pike or what suppliers of yours are going to mandate that you be X, Y, and Z certified to do this kind of thing.

And yeah it’s, it, compliance is the name of the game. Because it’s react, it’s because there’s more rigor around ransomware and cyber attacks are the new norm and it had been an isolated thing and now it’s just everywhere. So this is everyone’s kind of times feels like wonky attempts to how do we solve this problem?

And everyone’s raised it. What about this? And what about this practice? And at some point it’ll get a little bit more sorted, but for now we just have to read these frameworks and these protocols and the the cyber insurance requirements and just bone up as fast as we possibly can.

But it’s all for a good reason. It’s an opportunity to sell more, to provide more value, to really address the, this future wave that we’re in. Yeah. Real,

Rich: really interesting stuff, Bryce. And it validates the premise of the conversation all the way back at the beginning that there is a lot more to the BDR topic than a lot of MSPs in our audience probably realized.

For folks who are listening, they want to extend the conversation with you, get in touch, or just learn more about Axiant. Where would you have them

Bryce: go? Yeah, axiant. com of course is great. We have an events tab, and we are Everywhere all the time. You’ll see us at trade shows. You’ll see me in a live stream where we take comments.

We have webinars where we take comments and yeah we’re all over the place and so it’s great to, to be able to chat with you both here. You can find us our LinkedIn is probably a pretty good hub for what’s new and exciting every single day or every single week and where to find us next.

So yeah, we’d love to talk to you. We’d love to interact in your peer groups that you’re already in and have those conversations and we’d love to connect. Fantastic.

Rich: Bryce Roberts from Axiom. Thank you so much for joining us. Folks, we are going to take a break. When we come back on the other side, Erick and I will have a few closing thoughts about this very interesting conversation.

Maybe something fun as well to wrap [00:50:00] the show up with. Stick around. We are going to be right back.

All right. Welcome back to part three of the MSP chat podcast as we wrap things up here. And one last thank you to Bryce Roberts from Axiant for joining us here. Thanks, Erick. A lot to to, to chew over in that conversation which I really enjoyed I think the piece of it that’s probably stuck with me most is as I said, setting things up, everybody knows BDR.

We all know all what BDRs is all about. Hopefully we’re offering it to all of our clients, but. That the fact that there is a DR piece of BDR that tends to get neglected a little bit that the disaster recovery strategy. As opposed to just backing up the data and knowing that you can restore it if it’s ransomed or what have you it’s just one good example, basically, of there being more to BDR maybe than some MFPs out there realize.

Erick: Yeah, rich. And, the, just the, how the strategy behind it, air gapping, so the data is protected. I thought that was very interesting. And the other thing that I picked up that. I think that, you know, whatever you do in your career, there are things that you used to know and you’re reminded of them later and go, man, that I know that, and I should be leveraging that.

And the one example of that in this conversation was the BC of the BCDR as Bryce kept calling it. And this is business continuity and disaster recovery. I think a lot of times even me as a prior MSP has got a thinking this BDR, when we think about business continuity and disaster recovery, it flips a switch in my mind to say, wow, that’s way more valuable than just throwing out BDR.

And I’m wondering rich, how many. MSPs out there are really presenting that total value when they say, Hey, we’re going to make sure that we maintain business continuity and the ability to recover from disaster with our BCDR solution and really position the value of that, which is the most important thing that you can do or one of your clients is to ensure the integrity of their business data.

And to be able to restore it very quickly. So you’re reducing any gaps in business continuity and allowing them to, know that if there is an incident, no matter what causes it the integrity of the data is good when it’s restored and we can do it quickly. So I like those are the kinds of things that, that resonated with me in that conversation.


Rich: a really great point, Erick. And some of the most sophisticated MSPs I know really do focus on business continuity and they focus on it beyond what a BCDR solution. Can do that’s a critical part of it, but there, there’s one, it’s one thing if the customer loses access to their data, but what if they lose access to their office, right?

Like the office. Burns down or something like that. And what communication plan, where are people going to work out? And a real strategic advisor, trusted advisor, MSP is going to explain to the customer here are the implications of certain business continuity scenarios, and we’re going to help you develop a plan for dealing with all of those.

And software is very much going to be a part of that technology is going to play a huge role in it. But just. Creating that or delivering that sort of outcome oriented solution around business continuity is a really

Erick: powerful thing. Yeah, and I did quite a bit of disaster recovery planning and testing of disaster recovery plans back in, my heyday in the enterprise and afterwards.

So it’s there’s a lot more to it, but, a core component is, the vehicle which with which you protect that data, not to mention there’s people and processes and all kinds of things that are involved in a larger disaster recovery strategy and a plan. Should things go wrong in the example you brought up rich where, Hey, we had a client who an awning fell from 10 stories up or four stories up or something.

And it came and it destroyed the front of this building and it was bad enough where they prevented that our client from getting into their business for four or five days. So just something as simple as that you don’t really think that’s. We don’t think about that.

Hey, something, a, we, we see on on the news sometimes, Hey, somebody drove a car through, a business or a retail shop or something like that. Hey, that’s an interruption of business continuity right there, right? So it’s a larger conversation for sure as you point out rich.

Rich: All right you know what that leaves us with time for just one last thing Erick and I gotta say [00:55:00] if you’re looking around for something to talk about, in a one last thing kind of conversation on a podcast like this It’s almost too easy to go with the latest guinness world book of records story And we’ve used a few of those before in the past and I was tempted not to use this one and yet I found it just a little bit irresistible because there are plenty of weird Guinness Book of World records, but Man Alive, this one takes the cake, comes to us from St.

Louis, the City Museum, this is a museum no less, Erick, museum no less, Erick. As people are listening to this, I think it’s going to be just too late for them to potentially participate in this, but the City Museum in St. Louis would like to gather at least 314 people on March 14th which they’re calling 314 day and yet it’s worth pointing out.

314 is the area code that the museum is in, so there’s a lot of significance to 314 that they’re trying to get 314 people together to put underwear on their heads and set the world record for the most people wearing underwear on their heads simultaneously. Don’t know why and by the way that there is a record for they’re not setting this record for the first time I believe the existing record is 270 people this was set in Naperville, Illinois back in 2012 that wreck has stood for 12 years Erick But I suspect by the time people are listening to or watching this podcast.

It will have fallen

Erick: Boy, I could respond in multiple different ways here, Rich, but I’ll just, I’ll go with this one. All right, this is a shout out for all you Captain Underpants fans. Here’s your opportunity to help set a new Guinness Book of World Records.

Rich: The moment you have been waiting for and I just hope you are in St.

Louis to enjoy it. Speaking about enjoying it, we’ve certainly enjoyed the time we’ve spent with you this week on the MSP Chat Podcast. It’s all the time we’ve got. We’re going to be back again next week with another episode for you, though. Until then, I will simply point out if you are listening to us on audio did you know that there is a YouTube version of this podcast as well?

Please seek us out there. If you are watching on YouTube, but you’re into audio podcasts, you’re going to find us wherever you get audio podcasts, whether that’s Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, you name it. We’re there wherever it is. You get us, please subscribe, rate, review, help other people.

Find the show just as you did so they can enjoy it just like you do. This show is produced by the great Russ Johns. He can do a show just like this for you if you’d like him to. And if you want to learn more about him, Check out Russjohns. com and you’ll get all the information there. If you want to learn more about Channel Mastered and the work we do with our clients you’ll get everything you want to know at ChannelMastered.

com. So once again, we thank you for joining us on this episode of the show. We’ll see you again in a week until then, please remember you can’t spell channel folks without M S P.