MSP Expo Sponsor: Do Not Leave Voice on the Table

MSP Expo Sponsor: Do Not Leave Voice on the Table

By Greg Tavarez

Managed service providers are relied upon to handle everything IT. MSPs offer technology services at a lower cost, at a higher level of quality and with more flexibility and scalability. This is achieved as MSPs have the ability to hire specialists and pair those specialists with automation, AI and machine learning technologies that companies, particularly SMBs, may not have the budget or skills to implement themselves.

Now, it’s gotten to the point where businesses demand phone services from MSPs. Traditional phone systems are an expense most businesses can avoid. Cloud-based voice services lower expenses by minimizing the cost of traditional phone systems.

By the sounds of it, offering telecom services creates another revenue stream for MSPs, a golden opportunity. With another revenue stream, MSPs can continue to see growth. I recently caught up with Mark Loveys, CEO, Datagate Telecom Billing, to get his take the growth of MSPs and why it’s important MSPs don’t leave voice services on the table.

Datagate Telecom Billing is a telecom billing solution that is designed for MSPs and telecom providers. The company, which understands the needs and requirements of MSPs who want to unlock telecom revenue, is a Gold sponsor of MSP Expo 2023, taking place February 14-17, 2023, as part of the #TECHSUPERSHOW in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. TD SYNNEX will be in Booth #754 in the exhibit hall.

I had a chance to catch up with Mark ahead of MSP Expo to get his take on the MSP space and what Datagate offers MSPs through its billing solution. Here’s what he had to say.

What is your current perception of the Managed Services space? Why is it such a hot market?

The Managed Services space is running hot because businesses are facing a more competitive and complex, technology-oriented environment, and so they are increasingly outsourcing their IT management to trusted, knowledgeable and experienced providers.

Companies need to ensure that their technology systems are running smoothly and efficiently at all times, and so the job of the MSP is mission critical.

Outsourcing IT management to MSPs is a more cost-effective approach than having an in-house IT team. Furthermore, MSPs typically provide their own technology and infrastructure, which means that companies do not have to invest in these resources.

As the technology landscape becomes more complex, most companies will not have the in-house expertise to manage it all safely and effectively by themselves. MSPs provide the experience and skill sets needed to fill this gap.

Mark Loveys,
CEO,
Datagate Telecom Billing

What’s the biggest opportunity for MSPs to increase their revenues and value to their clients?

A surefire way to unlock a new revenue stream and add value to clients is to offer voice or telecom services. Every business needs a phone system and modern phone system technology is an extension of the IT infrastructure, already provided by the MSP.

Furthermore, offering voice services allows MSPs to diversify their service offerings and increase their revenue by selling additional services to their existing clients.

For clients, the integration of voice services with other technologies, such as email and instant messaging, increases the efficiency of client communication. In addition, cloud-based voice services can lower expenses by minimizing the costs of conventional telephone systems.

By offering voice services, MSPs build stronger relationships with their clients, making them more “sticky”, by providing them with a comprehensive and integrated communication solution.

The danger to any MSP that doesn’t provide voice services, is that another MSP will provide those services to their customers and could then potentially take over the IT side as well.

I say to MSPs, “Don’t leave voice on the table”. 

At Datagate, we understand that billing voice can be a big challenge for MSPs since it is so different from IT billing, with a lot more tax and compliance issues.

However, with a specialized telecom billing solution, MSPs can add this highly profitable revenue stream to their services, without having to worry about billing and compliance.

Why are you focused on partnering with MSPs?

The MSP space is growing rapidly, with business clients increasingly recognizing the benefits of outsourcing IT management to a reliable and experienced provider.

Furthermore, MSPs everywhere are winning an increasing portion of the business telecom market as their business customers continue to reap the benefits of migrating their systems to the cloud.

At Datagate, we work almost exclusively with MSPs, so we understand their requirements and pain points. By having this sharp focus in our business, we ensure that everything we do and build into our product is relevant and valuable to our MSP audience. 

We are always listening to our MSP clients and that’s how we know the importance of automating processes, sharing data, integrating to the other software products that MSPs use, while at the same time keeping our costs affordable and economic. 

We aim to be the natural choice for MSPs who want to bill all types of telecommunication services, including VoIP, UCaaS, data circuits and anything else sold by a telecom provider.

Tell us about what you offer MSPs? How are you helping them better address their customers’ needs?

Datagate enables MSPs to compete head-on with the large corporate telcos by producing professional-grade telecom invoices, complete with all the pricing plans (bundling, call rating, capped plans, overage charges) that are used in the wider telecom industry.

Datagate streamlines the billing workflow for MSPs by automating call rating, usage rating, tax rating, bundling, and by producing accurate, compliant, telecom-formatted invoices.

As an agnostic telecom billing system, Datagate can combine billing for multiple providers in one, unified billing platform for faster invoicing. This enables MSPs to pick and choose any combination of providers, and to mix & match the best deals they offer.

Our integrations into PSA systems (ConnectWise Manage, Autotask PSA, Kaseya BMS and Halo PSA) and accounting systems (QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop and Xero) eliminate the need for rekeying of data and ensure that the MSP can produce a single invoice or statement for all to customers for both their IT and voice/telecom services.

For U.S. clients, Datagate works with the best telecom tax engines to produce modern telecom invoices with automatically calculated telecom taxes.

Is there any recent news from your company you would like to share?

Datagate recently joined the QuickBooks Solution Provider Program.

As a member of the QuickBooks Solution Provider Program, we offer a range of features to support MSPs' billing and accounting processes, including invoicing, payment processing, and reporting. The package is fully customizable, allowing MSPs to tailor the solution to their specific needs. Furthermore, the bundle is secure, ensuring that MSPs' financial information is protected.

Datagate joining the QuickBooks Solution Provider Program is exciting news for MSPs as they can now leverage the power of Datagate to bill their telecom services without missing out on the financial tracking capabilities of QuickBooks. You can learn more about our QuickBooks integration here.

MSPs are always looking for new ways to improve their offerings and stay ahead of the competition.

That's why our recent integration with HaloPSA is exciting news for the MSP industry. This integration provides MSPs with a comprehensive solution for managing their billing and accounting processes, making it easier for them to grow their business and serve their clients effectively.

There’s been a lot of talk about an IT talent gap. Do MSPs have the technical expertise to address their customers’ needs adequately? If yes, why is there then a misconception regarding talent and, if no, how are you MSPs bridge the gap?

The primary function of MSPs is to understand the requirements of their customers and be able to find a way to meet those requirements. Sometimes the MSPs will have the in-house ability to meet those requirements themselves and other times they will need to outsource this to an external specialist provider. It’s most important for the MSP to maintain the trust of the customer, or in other words, be the “trusted advisor”, and to “own” the customer relationship.

A good example of outsourcing is where the MSP has limited in-house UCaaS or telecom skills, so they resell the UCaaS services of a white label provider, (such as, SkySwitch, CoreDial or OITVoIP) who provides the UCaaS platform and expertise, but it’s all provided under the MSP’s own name and brand, thereby the MSP continues to own the customer relationship (and make good recurring margins!).

As MSPs look to build their portfolios, they have many vendor options. Why should they partner with you? 

Datagate Telecom Billing is truly designed with MSPs in mind, so we work alongside the other software systems used by MSPs, sharing data and working together as one integrated solution.

We understand the unique challenges MSPs face in managing and growing their revenue streams. We use this understanding to be fast and efficient at providing what MSPs need for automated telecom billing and we help them be competitive and profitable in the telecom space.

No other telecom billing system on the market is as MSP-focused as Datagate.

What differentiates your services or solutions from your competitors?

MSPs who provide IT and Telecom services commonly use a PSA system, such as ConnectWise Manage, Datto Autotask, Kaseya BMS, HaloPSA and others. They typically want to process and be able to see both their IT and their telecom business in the same PSA environment.

What makes Datagate unique is our strong focus on telecom billing and our integrations with popular software which enable MSPs to easily synchronize customers, products and invoices to and from their PSA.

This means MSPs can easily add telecom billing into their existing workflow, rather than overhauling their entire ecosystem or having to do a lot of manual rekeying often associated with managing multiple platforms.

Managing multiple disjointed systems with overlapping functionality can be ineffective. Most MSPs have already invested time, money, and manpower to set up a billing workflow that works for their business in their PSA or accounting system - at Datagate we recognise that we have to be an extension of the MSP’s existing investment.

Ultimately, Datagate offers a telecom billing solution that’s compatible with MSPs existing ecosystems. This means MSPs no longer have to manage multiple disjointed systems.

What kind of support do you offer your MSP partners throughout the partnership lifecycle (e.g., education, training, marketing, technical support, etc.)?

At Datagate, we pride ourselves in great customer service and like to think of all our customers as our partners.

Our goal with every onboarding is to really drill down into the MSPs requirements and to set them up for long-term success with selling voice.

Our website has a vast collection of customer success case studies, and almost all of them refer to Datagate’s superior support service.

Look into your crystal ball and tell us how you see your market and/or the MSP space changing/evolving in the next few years.

The shift to cloud computing and the competitive business technology environment will drive increased demand for managed services and MSPs are in a unique position to provide companies with the expertise and support they need to effectively manage their cloud environments.

Spurred by the pandemic, the trend towards working from home has also led to a greater need for remote IT and telecom support and MSPs are well positioned to provide these services to their clients.

It makes no sense for telecom and IT systems to be provided by different suppliers and it makes total sense for the MSP to provide both. No customer wants to be stuck with two technology providers pointing at each other when something goes wrong. MSPs are winning over the business telecom market and I see this trend only accelerating over the next few years.

The cost-effectiveness of MSPs and Cloud-based systems also makes them an attractive option for companies looking to save on IT and telecom, while still ensuring that their needs are met with the highest level of expertise and professionalism. 

Businesses are looking for trusted technology advisors and those are expensive people to hire in-house. Long live the MSP!

Why are you excited about MSP Expo 2023? Why should attendees be sure to stop by your booth in the exhibit hall?

I’m looking forward to speaking with MSPs and learning more about their experiences, what they are seeing in the marketplace, and what’s important to them. I want to hear from our existing customers about how Datagate is working for their business and identify anything we can improve on.

I look forward to talking with new MSP connections about how we can help them streamline the selling and billing of VoIP services while leveraging the accounting capabilities of QuickBooks. Joining forces with Intuit has provided an unparalleled mix of integrated billing, accounting, payments and more.

My team and I look forward to talking about our new Datagate Payments offering.

We’ll also be giving away some great prizes this year, including a Poly bluetooth speakerphone valued at $130 and a 1-year RabbitRun subscription, valued at $1000. Attendees can enter to win at Datagate’s booth, #754.

We’re keen to show MSPs how they can easily unlock a new revenue stream to their business by leveraging Datagate’s telecom billing solution. You can find me and the Datagate team at booth #754, we look forward to connecting with everyone.

If you are speaking at MSP Expo 2023, what is the session and why is it a must-attend session?

The panel I’m speaking on is about “Improving Back-office Efficiency to Grow Your Business.” It takes place 11-11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023.

This topic is dear to my heart and particularly relevant for MSPs who want to expand their business.

Managing back-office activities becomes increasingly complex as they offer more services and work with more vendors and clients. This panel discussion will explore ways for MSPs to streamline their back-office operations, allowing them to concentrate on delivering top-notch services and maximizing profitability.


Edited by Greg Tavarez
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