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Making the journey from break-fix to MSP

A week ahead of taking the floor at the upcoming AVG Cloudcare events to share his experiences and the lessons he has learnt from making the switch to managed services Austen Clark took some time to set the scene of just where the company has come from and how far it has travelled to secure its own future.

Established 21 years ago by Graham Clark his brother Austen joined him 16 years ago to help run what was then a break-fix specialist, with a strong pedigree in the oil and gas industry.

The move towards becoming a managed services provider (MSP) was not just fueled by a desire to have more predictable revenues but also because the reseller recognised that the way support was delivered to customers was changing.

"You could offer better support to clients by being an MSP and becoming an infrastructure managed services provider," says Clark.

But having taken the decision to change the direction of the business the hard work really started: "I would like to say that one day we were pointed in one direction and the next we had turned 180 degrees and it was all seamless. But it was very painful and you can't just transform into an MSP overnight," adds Clark.

The starting point for changing the service delivery and for introducing a cultural change into an organisation used to a break-fix model was the professional service application.

At the heart of a MSP strategy is the technology the reseller chooses to use to manage customer desktops as well as ensuring it can coordinate the various features that make up a managed service.

Once the choices have been made about the technology then the other parts of the jigsaw can start to be put in place but Clark stresses that serious thought needs to be given to this part of the journey.

"If you don't understand how the business should be designed then how can you build a MSP offering? We had to build a business around the MSP model," he adds "How have we gone from a company with 18 staff six months ago to now being 25? It is testimony to having services and tools that have been able to scale."

One of the other challenges is around making choices which vendors to work with. Clark has been impressed with the AVG Cloudcare platform, which does what it promises, providing reliability to both MSP partners and customers.

Making the switch to a MSP model is not something that happens with a click of the fingers but the benefits are there for those that make the effort.

"If you do spend the time and effort developing the business you will get the rewards at the end of the day," says Clark.

To hear more about just how Clark Computers transformed itself into an MSP and to hear more of Austen’s  story attend the Profit from your small business accounts with cloud services events. 

There is still plenty of time to register for the events, which will be visiting the Emirates Stadium in London; Celtic Park in Glasgow; Old Trafford in Manchester, and the National Motorcycle Museum  in Birmingham, between 20 and 23 November 2012.

For more details and to register visit our event microsite.


This was first published in November 2012

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