Some of you have been asking us about our background, who we are, and why we’re doing ReframeYourClients.
One of our companies at first was an IT managed services provider. We’ve since reintegrated it into our holding company, but think telling its history will be illuminating...
We discovered that while our clients always needed consultancy on IT in general, we lacked a viable model to do it both properly and profitably. We’ve tried to incorporate the consultancy into the MSP high-end package, and tried to do T&M. Neither approach was satisfactory.
But the pressure just gets heavier as we’ve been witnessing the evaporating services on our MSP practice, accompanied by ever increasing needs of the clients for IT management, vCIO, and 3rd-party-project management, all while IT gets more complex in terms of organization management.
We’ve created a checklist questionnaire, the aim of which was to improves sales of our services while setting the stage for prospects. We tried to ask the questions we knew they were trying to formulate to express their needs.
We gave this questionnaire an easy to follow structure and designed it to produce a score for each taker. We’ve identified seven critical aspects of IT competitiveness today, and because we were able to pick seven words starting with the letter “C”, we called it "7C.
Once we started to send this out to prospects and clients it became a dynamic tool. The software behind the analytics that produced the score and report was popular too. Also, because it was about business terms, it helped somewhat demystify IT. It covers all the aspects of the activity of IT management that 40-200 seats company need to know about.
One of our ventures at this time was with our other company - where we became a Country Developer for a General Management Consultancy methodology. This was a general company development framework with strategy building, organization, execution, and alignment. Uncommonly at the time was that it was a true 100% consultancy business, though it had a monthly recurring service model, a project for implementing the framework, and recurring service revenue to maintain it.
We got curious; if general consultancy was able to work out with a recurring service model, it must work with IT management, as well.
We then started to implement the principles of the general management methodology to IT. We listed all the duties of a vCIO, from client discovery to strategy creation, quarterly planning, documentation, audits, vendor management, execution, communication, leading the internal users, IT admins, and so on.
We end up with a framework like ITIL for small clients, with implementation, project-oriented and ongoing activities. We put all this into various packages and started to offer it SEPARATELY from our MSP contract.
The kicker was that we had charged a lot for the implementation of the IT management framework.
We’ve since modified our 7C ITCq questionnaire according to the newer services coming out. So you could get 50 points for IT technology (measuring MSP maturity), and you could get 50 points for IT management (measuring vCIO maturity), for a total of 100 points.
Our value proposition was that we were able to get you from 28 to 75 in 6 months with the implementation of the framework. CEOs were able to grasp this measurement thing quite adeptly.
That was the tipping point. We have more than doubled our size in nine months. We’ve added several new clients, and several new doors are opened with the productized SEPARATED vCIO roles.
We even acquired a client who had MSP but with weak vCIO role, and have done more than a dozen “implementations." The sale itself, not to brag, went rather easily, because the result was very tangible to the clients. Everything from strategy to roles, activities and documentation, etc. is dealt with by the software. When they saw the vision and the results, they ordered the project. Then to maintain every part of their IT ecosystem they ordered the Virtual CIO services.
Everything about us follows from this story. We wanted to share our questionnaire, the scoring, the model, the pricing, and the packaging to the MSP community. Because we are running so many things at once (we are starting a pure MSP 2.0 company in Canada with no MSP resources), this venture has long held a status of our pet project.
Along the way Autotask and GFI saw an opportunity in what we’re trying to do. Both of them supported us in a big way to be able to move forward. Those guys are just awesome!!!
We’ve now pulled off a website and have a handful of companies using our beta, but are still fine-tuning the package to be able to help other IT companies the best we can