By Mike Fowler, Integris CEO
As I write this, I’m packing to go with the entire Integris leadership team to the IT Nation conference in Orlando Fla., for a few days. I can’t wait. Our team is preparing for several intense days of networking, learning from world-class speakers, and getting an advance look at all the latest tools available to us as managed services providers. After decades in this business, I still get that excited, “joy of discovery” feeling every time I go to these things.
Why? Because the tech business never gets old. Every year promises new adventures, and the ability to bring more value to our customers. This, my friends, is why I’m thankful to be in tech in 2021. There are also some other key reasons, too.
1. We’re back together again.
Our staff is back in the office, (with flexibility, for those who need it.) I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to see everyone’s faces again in person, after so many months of COVID restrictions. It’s kicked off a fresh wave of collaboration with our people that I believe will pay dividends for us down the line. And of course, we’re able to attend in-person conferences now, too, and get the full benefit of the networking that they offer. We can forge real, in-person relationships with others in our industry, and you can’t put a price on that.
2. Cloud computing is giving MSPs a better seat at the table.
I talked a bit about this in last month’s blog, and it bears repeating. Because of cloud computing, MSPs have the best opportunity we’ve ever had to be strategic partners with our clients. As we’ve seen with Microsoft Windows 365, and Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC, cloud computing takes a lot of the workaday tasks we used to do off the table. System updates, security patches, pulling together reports—all that work is being done by the big cloud providers like Microsoft.
Far from squeezing MSPs out of the picture, it’s freed up our time to be truly strategic with our clients. We can do more analysis, more system monitoring, and more cybersecurity audits. When we’re freed up to have that more global view of our client’s systems, we can find ways to streamline both costs and processes. We’ve been able to help our clients save big by cutting landlines in favor of VoIP, replace their server rooms with dispersed cloud storage, and create backups to their backups that can be downloaded in seconds during a disaster.
The time we spend on our clients is loaded with more value than ever. And that’s something worth getting excited about.
3. Tech revolutions are breaking out on numerous fronts, all at once.
This year, we were so honored to be one of only a handful of MSPs around the world that tested Microsoft’s ground breaking Cloud PC product, which puts your operating system in the cloud. This one innovation is so game changing that I believe it will usher in a new era of seamless mobility for companies.
Getting a chance to beta test and suggest modifications on Cloud PC gave us an insider’s insight on it, very early on. It was eye opening. In the future, you’ll be able to work from anywhere, on any machine, and get total secure access to your company network, right down to the screensaver. Now, we can focus on helping our clients hang onto their hardware longer. There’s fewer network capacity issues. Fewer log-in verification issues, too. It will usher in a whole new era of productivity.
New 5G technology will allow us to increase speeds forty fold. With that level of video streaming power becoming available, the possibilities are staggering. Soon, the world will be overlaid with information that we can interact with in our physical environments. We’re already seeing it in the manufacturing sector. Thanks to Augmented Reality glasses, factory workers see repair videos beamed right over the parts they are trying to fix. Maintenance crews see temperature readings and warnings projected right on the side of their machinery. Imagine the day when the machine tells you a part is wearing out, before it does, and tells you where to find the replacement. The time, labor, and risk that will save will be tremendous.
The Internet of Things is merging with Augmented and Virtual Reality systems, over a network faster than anything we’ve ever seen before. As an MSP, we are the ones that can bring technology like this to our customers. How cool is that?
4. We’re partnering with our vendors like never before.
As Integris continues to grow, our relationship with our vendor partners continues to deepen, and I’m so grateful for that. A good example of this is the road show we’re doing in all our locations this quarter, sponsored by Connectwise. The Wine & Cyber tour pairs great food, a fun wine tasting, and the latest learnings on cybersecurity for our clients and prospects. We couldn’t make it happen without their encouragement and support.
Microsoft, Datto, and many other companies help us offer cutting-edge client education materials and events. And that moves our business farther, faster. Hey, they even let us write for their blogs on occasion.
A closing note of gratitude…
And of course, in this season of gratitude, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how thankful we are for our clients. 2021 is shaping up to be a great year. We’re showing steady growth, with more and more clients coming on not just for basic managed IT services, but for complex cybersecurity products and system monitoring, too. Products and platforms that were once only available to enterprise clients are now being scaled for small and medium-sized businesses. And the businesses and nonprofits we’re working with have been keen to put these tools to work for them. That’s cause for celebration!
So, as we stop to break bread with friends and family this season, I know I’ll be saying a little prayer of thanks for all this year has brought us. May we all continue to have a healthy, blessed and innovative new year in 2022!