Even after 21 years of running an MSP, I still feel like it is the wild west in this industry. There is so much evolution happening in this business, and it is accelerating.

Stepping back for some reflection, I am blown away at how much change has happened in Smart Dolphins’ internal workings and what has driven our technology. As a primary example, Microsoft Teams has caused the biggest transformational change in our operations — the most in our history as a company.

One manifestation of this change for us is that an internal email is just considered weird. Chat is driving 99% of our internal communication. My personal file folders are collecting dust as everything I work on is now in a shared Teams channel; it seems barbaric to work on files alone. I cannot imagine an internal phone call when video is just a click away. In case you missed it, I wrote a blog about this amazing internal transformation.

We are now sending our clients off on this same MS Teams journey as have countless other MSPs around the world. Do you see it happening?

We are no longer just wiggling plugs in the server room.

MSPs are dramatically changing how people work every day

We previously gave clients some basic things:

  • Computer
  • Email
  • A server to store files
  • An internet connection
  • Line of business (LOB) software
  • Backup
  • A phone number to call us when you have problems

These business professionals would go off and do their work and we were best to just hang out in the server room. What they did in their LOB software, in Excel or online was a black box to us. And that was fine.

Look closely. This is not what it is like today and this will not be what it will look like in five years. There are fewer plugs to wiggle, and software installs itself. Yet every small to medium-sized business (SMB) needs an MSP more than ever.

MS Teams is not just messages in an inbox on a computer doing generic things. This is different and how an MSP approaches Teams can foreshadow the future of that MSP (and their clients).

Some very important questions 

How do you approach MS Teams with your clients? Are you finding out after the fact that your client heard great things about Teams, so they went off on their own with it? Are you just setting up a few teams and channels, configuring a few settings and wishing them well? Are you sending your clients off to third parties to get Teams 101 training or the latest tips and tricks? Are they reaching out to other consultants for help because you are “just the IT guy”? Or do you see this as the golden ticket inside the SMB chocolate factory?  
Do you give advice on how to adopt Teams and evolve it over time in ways that are specific for their organization? Do you approach a Teams implementation as a major project that requires excellent planning and execution? Do you offer training to get their whole team adopting this new tool? Is there ongoing mentoring? Do you give them any regular follow up training? Do they see all the opportunities to improve their business with Teams beyond just an alternative to Slack and Zoom? Do you know what they’re planning on adopting next within the M365 eco system? Can you help with all of this?  

Are you guiding your clients intimately and directly through this (r)evolution of how they use technology?  

MSPs are typically engineered to deliver reliable, secure infrastructure and ongoing support with occasional renewal. It is an incredibly challenging business to build and run.  

Well, it is getting harder. Your clients need more. They need to take technologies like MS Teams and engineer their businesses around the new emerging ways of working. They need to train their own employees on how to best adapt to these new tools and workflows. All this needs to be done well, applying expertise along the way.  

We’ve built PoplarMSP because we don’t see technology training as discretionary anymore. MSPs that aren’t heavily involved with the day-to-day use of their clients’ business operations will be left with fewer and fewer plugs to wiggle.  

Let us help you with this evolution and get you started with training your clients. Let’s get you into the chocolate factory.