MSP Expo Sponsor: MSPs Have to Become Communications Providers

MSP Expo Sponsor: MSPs Have to Become Communications Providers

By Erik Linask

As businesses continue to invest in cloud services to support their digital transformation initiatives and improve their operational capabilities, they are also leaning more heavily on the MSP community.  It’s driving competition in the MSP space, with each MSP looking to gain a competitive advantage to win new customers and retain existing ones.  A big part of being able to win clients in this increasingly competitive environment is building a comprehensive solution portfolio that allows MSP to be the single source for clients’ IT needs. 

The question is, though, which new solutions or services should MSP be looking at?  This simple answer would seem to be, all of them.  But, realistically, where is the demand, where are they missing opportunities, and where’s the revenue? 

I caught up with Wildix’ Americas Country Manager Tim Truelove ahead of MSP Expo 2023 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Wildix is a Platinum sponsor of MSP Expo.  Truelove believes that MSPs have to get into the communications game.  It’s the path to value and revenue for MSPs.  Voice is a necessary part of the IT environment – and it’s one that not all MSPs are up offering, making it a compelling addition to MSPs’ portfolios.  While the MSPs space may not have grown from the communications space, voice is quickly becoming table stakes for MSPs who have designs on remaining competitive.

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

The managed services space is in at a critical juncture. While it is still expanding in terms of turnover, it’s also shrinking as larger firms are eating up smaller ones. In addition, the vendors are now getting in on the act, and in turn, they’re consuming many MSPs and competing with them. As solutions become easier to install and run, the role of the MSP must change, and they must offer a variety of integrated solutions to stay competitive and add value for their end users.

What’s the biggest opportunity for MSPs to increase their revenues and value to their clients? Diversify. Simply put, if an MSP continues to only offer IT services without offering telephony services, its customers are going to end up choosing an MSP that offers a much more comprehensive series of solutions. Alternatively, they might go direct to the vendor and install their own, which can lead to e problems down the line.

Why are you focused on partnering with MSPs?

MSPs add value. An end user might be able to install a PBX, but unless they have specific knowledge, they can’t take that solution and integrate it with all the other systems that they need to run the business efficiently. By partnering with MSPs, we ensure that our solution works smoothly every time – and they have the knowledge and experience to deliver the services that the end user needs.

Tell us about what you offer MSPs? How are you helping them better address their customers’ needs? Wildix offers a 100% channel-only solution. Unlike RingCentral, Microsoft Teams, 8x8 or any other rival, we don’t compete with our partners, and we don’t try to drive them out of the market. In addition, we deliver what we say we’re going to deliver: good margins, a fantastically flexible product, and ease of installation.

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

We just held our summit, where we showed off the latest version of our primary cloud system and announced new features for x-hoppers, our retail solution. For example, you can integrate AI cameras into the solution to automatically identify and notify security staff of thefts, and it’s super-simple to use. Two trials with retailers in the UK have proved extremely promising, and we are excited to introduce it to the competitive US retail market.

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?

This is a complex question. Undoubtedly, many MSPs do have the technical expertise to address their customers’ needs adequately, but if techs leave, they may face a shortfall. This is the gap that people talk about – the amount of time it takes to recruit replacement staff. The answer is to choose products that can quickly be deployed in the cloud and reduce the number of physical installations you do. Your staff then spend more time installing and less time travelling.

As MSPs look to build their portfolios, they have many vendor options. Why should they partner with you? Competition. If an MSP wants to compete with their vendor and likely lose, they are welcome to do that. But if an MSP wants a great solution that is only available to MSPs and not direct from the vendor, we’re here. The margins are very much a welcome bonus.

What differentiates your services or solutions from your competitors? Foresight. We were the first WebRTC solution, and now everybody is trying to get their own WebRTC solutions to the market. We were a leader in making our solution secure from the start, and some major vendors have only just started doing this (one unnamed vendor has only just worked out that documents need to be securely shared!). We have led the way for so long that we are the future others aspire to be.

What kind of support do you offer your MSP partners throughout the partnership lifecycle (e.g., educa0on, training, marketing, technical support, etc.)?

Almost everything they need. We offer incentives such as training in Kanban (a workflow management method) and sales training via ValueSelling. Technical support is available whenever they need it, and we don’t charge for it. Indeed, if you need a specific integration for a customer, we have open APIs that you can integrate yourself, or we can help you build it. Marketing, we have an entire section for MSPs to help market themselves, and we regularly hold webinars and feedback sessions so everyone is updated on the latest from Wildix.

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.

AI. It’s going to be everywhere, and solutions that do not integrate some form of AI – or its poorer cousin, machine learning — are going to be much the poorer for it. We already have integration for x-bees, and we are working on integrating ChatGPT as well. I’m not saying that AI is going to take over what we do, but it’s definitely going to be heavily used across major chat solutions. It may even play a role in the development of new solutions, which suggests that you could ask it to integrate a specific product, and it would do the work for you. That might be a decade away, however.

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

We’re Wildix — we are awesome, and MSP Expo is always a great place to be. But seriously, MSPs can’t afford to be complacent in this ultra-competitive market. If you don’t resist the vendor tendency to try to take over your own customers, you’re not going to own them, and you are not going to have any value in your business. That means your retirement plan becomes worthless. You need that value, which means when you sell UC&C solutions, you can only choose Wildix.

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

I’ll be speaking in the session, “Valuation Multipliers: Growth Strategies for MSPs to Build the Bottom Line. It’s a must-attend session because at the end of the day, the bottom line is what all business owners are looking after. Whether you’re looking to get positioning strategy, business valuation info or you’re simply looking to increase how much money you’re making, this is a session that MSPs can’t afford to miss.

Edited by Erik Linask
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Group Editorial Director

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