With the onset of COVID-19, IT service providers stepped in to stabilize their customers’ businesses so they could navigate the pandemic. They rapidly deployed a wide range of solutions intended to securely support remote workers, collaborate internally and with suppliers, and keep the company operational.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. So, what lessons have leaders of service and solution providers learned from their experiences of 2020 and how will they apply those lessons going forward? There are other challenges and more manageable disasters that lie ahead.
In the session, "If You Had a Second Chance," at Channel Partners Virtual, Bryon Beilman, president and CEO of Iuvo Technologies, and Brandon Vancleeve, president of Pine Cove Consulting, offered a reflection and look ahead on the following issues:
- Were the solutions installed to stabilize customers scalable to accommodate a business rebound?
- A frank assessment of what was done right and wrong.
- How customer perspectives and spending on disaster recovery have been forever altered — or not.
- What we all would do differently if we had the chance.
- Where do we go from here — how to take the voice and data solutions built over the past several months into the future.
Beilman mentioned chatting with customers about coming up with a continuity plan at the onset of the pandemic, steering them away from short-term solutions and urging them to prepare for the long term. Particularly when it came to working remotely, Beilman cited the difference between customers who were reluctant to move to the cloud and those who were already cloud-savvy.
“With our customers who embraced the cloud early on, we only had to make minor tweaks. Those who had resisted moving to the cloud found themselves in a bit of a tight spot,” said Beilman. “Some customers required very little tweaking; others, we really had to help out. Either way, it was a radical shift in thinking.”
“One thing we see in our neck of the woods – these flyover states – is that we are not considered early adopters,” said Vancleeve. “We had some built-in challenges in terms of cloud and remote access abilities considering some of the bandwidth restrictions in several of our locations. That was certainly a challenge that was unique to our area. We had been preaching cloud adoption and being ready to have the ability to work anywhere, and it was interesting to see how smooth the transition was for the customers who had adopted this prior to the pandemic vs. those who hadn’t. So we were able to see the full scale of success and failures.”
Not surprisingly, a lot of preparedness, or lack thereof, came down to the ability to set up remote network access and cloud applications, and having a robust-enough continuity plan. MSPs like Iuvo Technologies and Pine Cove Consulting suddenly found themselves in huge demand as they were called in to help customers with a nearly overnight switch to remote working. Were there challenges and pitfalls? Of course there were. Were there things both parties would change about how they and their customers handled and came out of the mad scramble? Naturally. But no matter the path it took to get here, MSPs are now discovering new ways to provide value to, and evolve with their clients.