2018 News Archive

4/9/2018

4 keys to Hiring and Retaining Millennials for IT Support

Recently in an MSP-Ignite Service Managers Peer Group http://www.msp-ignite.com/peer/service-managers/  , the topic of hiring came up, and as I network throughout the industry, hiring quality Techs is a recurring theme.  A few months ago, in Darren Hardy’s training program (https://darrenhardy.com/), he spent considerable time focusing on hiring and managing Millennials.  While I cannot replace or reproduce Darren's message, I hope this article provides the main points as they apply to our IT Support Industry.

Neither Darren Hardy (if I can allow myself to speak for him) or I present this material as disrespectful or manipulative of the Millennial generation.  If you are a Millennial or in sync with them, feel free to move on to spend your valuable time on something else.  Both Darren and I, however, are reaching out to our generation and screaming at the top of our lungs that the old-school way of hiring and managing (not only for Millennials, but people in general) needs to change. 

Here are a few key points on hiring and retaining Millennials from Darren Hardy’s training program and some thoughts on how they apply to IT Support:

In general, Millennials are passionate, collaborative, social, and comfortable with technology.  Most of these are probably already understood (duh), but to the level that they are, these things and how they apply to business is much deeper than surface recognition.  Years ago, I remember a conference speaker saying, "When hiring Millennials, be prepared to teach them business email protocol.  Some of them may have school email accounts, but most will still prefer to text."  I hate to admit it, but today I find that I stay in better contact with co-workers and others by texting than in any other way short of face-to-face communications.  However, I do not text to the person across the table from me in restaurant as we old schoolers swear Millennials do. 

How does this apply to IT Support?  Well, it starts with the job opening description and posting locations.  For the job opening description, you need to start from a Millennial’s perspective.  In other words, talk about how the job will allow them to relieve the pain of end users; how they will be working with a team to resolve complexed problems; and how they will be working directly with Customers communicating before, during, and after they relieve the end user’s pain.  Being a technology company, they will be equipped and have access to the latest technology and advanced training on how to use technology more effectively. 

In a different MSP-Ignite Service Manager Peer Group monthly conference call, a member mentioned they received great results on posting job opening descriptions on Pinterest.  Outside of it being one of the many icons embedded in emails and websites, I had no idea what that was.  (Perhaps this is a definition of “old school.”  I used to embrace old-school even before I was one. Now that I find that I am one, however, I wish I could keep up with these changes faster -- but I digress.)

Passionate: When it comes to managing, it is the same approach:  Remind Millennials and all Employees often, as Jack Welch says, and keep reminding them of how they are benefiting the world by relieving pain one end user at a time.  Rather than reporting on the number of tickets completed today, report on the number of end-user pains relieved today.  What about scrolling the names of the contacts with completed service requests across the dashboard displays in the NOC or Help Desk areas?  Then we will see that we are helping real people, not just fulfilling some statistic?  (All of us love to go to a bank where the teller knows our names, not just our account numbers).

Collaborative: Another conversation from one of the MSP-Ignite Service Managers Peer Group meetings was a situation where the IT Support team was moving to new office space.  The question was, “If employees have great digs, what did they do to make them great?”  Half-height cubes seemed to be the overwhelming best response because it allowed the Techs privacy.  To collaborate, however, they just needed to stand up and talk across the cube wall. Half-height cube walls allowed them to determine the best way to relieve a Customer’s pain.  It was also mentioned in a different conversation that Techs hang on to tickets too long because they are unwilling to admit to management that they are stumped.  Half- height cube walls and love of younger Techs to ask for a gut check or collaboration when stuck also came up. 

Social:  From my experience, managing Techs to contact the Customer before, during if needed, and after each engagement is like pulling teeth.  If there is any reason an IT Support Manager should embrace hiring Millennials, it is this one:  They love to be social.  If we framed it correctly, they would naturally want them to build relationships with Customers by talking with them often.  My gut says Millennials will step up and embrace the expectation.  Recently Continuum https://www.continuum.net/ put out an article indicating that 56% of Customers leave a Managed Service Provider because they do not feel the love (defined as a conversation before, during, and after each engagement, along with updates when not engaged).  HDI in Support Center Analyst training HDI Support Center Analyst training puts the number closer to 80%. Keeping Customers informed is important to reduce churn, and if Millennials give a competitive edge, enough said.

Comfortable with Technology and having the latest toys might not go hand-in-hand.  From what Darren Hardy says and from my own experience, Millennials are so comfortable with technology that they do not even think about it. Offering the latest is not impactful to them because it is a baseline expectation, just like Customers’ expectations that their favorite Technicians should be standing by and waiting for their calls.

I hope this has provided you with a glimpse of how to improve your ability to hire and retain quality IT Technicians.  By no means is this an exhaustive article on the subject.  It is just a high-level overview and something to drive your thinking in new areas as we all wrestle with how to staff an IT Support Center.

Please connect with me on LinkedIn if you are not already connected https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenbuyze/ and follow me at www.SBuyze.com

For more information on MSP-Ignite Service Manager Peer Groups go to 

http://www.msp-ignite.com/peer/service-managers/

Feel free to reach out to Darren Hardy at https://darrenhardy.com/ or at least sign up for Darren Daily at http://dd.darrenhardy.com/

Continuum's website is https://www.continuum.net/

For Information on HDI training go to https://www.thinkhdi.com/education.aspx 

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3/30/2018

Are you ready to move on from your MSP?

Ask an MSP Expert: What steps do I need to take to be ready for MSP retirement?

Q: Within the next five years, I’d like to retire from the MSP business. I know I’m almost ready to hang up my hat, but I’d prefer to sell my business rather than just close my doors on my employees and loyal customers. What should I start considering now to make my retirement dreams a reality?

One of the toughest decisions a managed service provider needs to make is when to leave the IT services business. Whether you’re 30 years into your IT career or you’re simply ready for a change, figuring out what the next step is can be daunting.

To help you decide what to do next, we talked to MSP-Ignite owner and peer group facilitator, Steve Alexander. With his extensive background in the channel, Steve has seen numerous providers transition their business, so they could effectively step away and retire. He shared the following insight on how to develop a five-year plan, how to build your business so it’s attractive for sale, and how networking can play an important role when you’re nearing your retirement. 

Click for more

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3/7/2018

THE NEXT SERVICE MANAGERS GROUP IS FORMING NOW

Last week on a peer group call one of our members responded to a question from another business owner by saying "My Service Manager discussed this on his MSP-Ignite Peer Group call and resolved this issue with input from the group" and yesterday another member stated "My Service Manager is a different person since joining an MSP-Ignite Peer Group and now we are ready to grow substantially". This group is going so well that we're forming another group for Service Managers.

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2/7/2018

MSP-Ignite Peer Group Member ITPartners Achieves CLUB Status with Datto

ITPartners today announced it has achieved exclusive CLUB status with Datto, the leading provider of total data protection and IT business management solutions for technology service providers around the world.

ITPartners has exceeded high standards of performance to qualify for CLUB status in Datto's partner program - a global community of more than 7,000 partners. Datto CLUB status represents the top 0.1 percent of partners worldwide. For their hard work throughout the year, CLUB status will reward the top 11 Datto partners with an all-inclusive trip (with a guest) in March of 2018. ITPartners qualified for CLUB status by being the Top Networking Partner in 2017.

ITPartners has been a Datto partner for only three years and is honored to receive this award. Small and Medium-sized businesses (SMB) are the core focus to ITPartners and choosing a company with a shared mission to that vertical is essential. ITPartners chooses Datto for their core technology stack that caters to the SMB market more than any other competitor in the industry with a keen focus on uptime.

"We are honored and appreciative to accept this award from Datto," said Kevin Damghani, CEO of ITPartners. "While we didn't set out to set any records, we see the immense value of Managed Networking Services and the role it plays for our clients' productivity and security."

"We congratulate ITPartners for their outstanding performance in 2017," said Rob Rae, Vice President of Business Development, Datto. "Datto CLUB recognizes partners in our community that are going above and beyond and achieving great success. We are pleased to award ITPartners CLUB status and look forward to continuing to grow our partnership."

About ITPartners

Located in Grand Rapids, MI, ITPartners started with a mission to change the way SMBs approach their IT. With flat cost and all-inclusive model, as well as a core focus on "What would IT look like if it were fun?" mentality, we have allowed our partners to run their outsourced IT through ITPartners as a seamless extension of their team. Visit www.ITPartners.com for more information.

About Datto

At Datto, our mission is to empower the world's small and medium-sized businesses with the best in enterprise-level technology. We do it by equipping our unique community of Managed Service Provider partners with the right products, tools, and knowledge to allow each and every customer to succeed. It's an approach that's made us the largest MSP centric tech company in the industry. We're proud to be based right where we started, in Norwalk, CT, with offices worldwide. Visit www.datto.com for more information.

Contact:

Jonathan Highman
616-828-1010

SOURCE: ITPartners

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1/31/2018

Channel Chat: How joining a peer group can help you find MSP success

Owning an MSP can be lonely. Most of the people you talk to on a regular basis, whether they’re your spouse, your friends, or even other local business owners that you know, don’t understand what it’s like to run an IT services business or the types of challenges you face. That’s one reason why many MSP business owners turn to peer groups for help making their MSP more successful.

Steve Alexander has seen the power of peer groups firsthand. With more than 25 years of experience managing, building, and eventually selling two MSPs, Steve now facilitates business advisory peer groups for IT service providers through his company MSP-Ignite. We sat down and talked to Steve to get his insights on the benefits of peer groups and how MSPs can get the most out of their participation.

Q&A with Steve Alexander of MSP-Ignite

Why should IT service providers consider joining a peer group?

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