The Captain’s Chair solution is aimed at showing MSP customers what their MSP is doing for them, and eliminating a consistent point of friction between MSPs and their clients.
ORLANDO – Captain’s Chair IT is formally launching at the IT Nation Connect event here with a differentiated solution designed to make an MSP stickier with their customers. The tool provides complete visibility into the services an MSP provides them, removing mystery and frustration, and demonstrating value provided.
Like many of the solutions being displayed for MSPs at IT Connect, this one was created as an in-house tool by an MSP to solve an issue they were encountering. Captain’s Chair IT developed out of Concertium, a Tampa-based MSP, which credits the tool for a 40 per cent growth rate over both of the last two years.
“MSP clients tend to suffer from what I call ‘black box syndrome,’ an inherent lack of trusts that develops because they don’t really know what the MSP is doing on their behalf,” said Pratik Roychoudhury, President and CEO of both Captain’s Chair IT and Concertium. “It’s a problem that MSPs know, and that they work through.”
It’s a problem that Roychoudhury said was particularly problematic for his company. A businessman rather than a technologist, in 2013 he purchased what was then a small MSP. He had ambitions to grow that business significantly, and found that black box syndrome to be a major problem.
“We wanted to go upmarket to serve larger clients, including offering broad co-managed IT services,” Roychoudhury said. “It was hard to compete with larger MSPs, and was even harder to get into co-managed IT, because of this lack of visibility.”
There are solutions already on the market which make the MSP’s life easier by providing them with a global and easy to understand view of their assets. Captain’s Chair IT provides the same kind of visibility for the MSP’s customers, in real time, so that they can see their hardware, software and infrastructure being managed, and what the MSP is doing for them. This, Roychoudhury said, is an industry first.
“When we would go to our potential clients with this, they can see full visibility of services so they have a way to hold us accountable,” Roychoudhury indicated. “We take the whole technology stack of an MSP that is servicing the client – the whole gamut – and create a very simplified view of the stack for the client. It lets MSPs build trust, which is the unwritten currency of the MSP business. MSP clients who look for a new provider do so because they believe that their old provider isn’t doing a good job. But they often have no idea what the MSP is doing for them. This shows them that, and provides an amazing dynamic.”
Roychoudhury also said the tool can be used effectively for Quarterly Business Reviews [QBRs].
“It lets account managers manage their accounts, so they see escalations before they get to red,” he noted.
The tool has six categories that cover a customer’s entire IT ecosystem. It shows Service Tickets, including open tickets, agiing, and history. It provides full infrastructure details, including the status and overall performance of both on-prem and cloud servers, as well as backup status. Web analytics and performance status are detailed, including stats about your websites or eCommerce sites, web servers, website visitor stats and performance stats of custom applications. Hardware assets and Office 365 subscriptions are indicated in one place. IT vendor quotes and agreements and IT Reports are also consolidated in one place. Budget and status of all IT projects, software projects and security projects are also consolidated in a single place.
Concertium introduced the tool three years ago, and had sufficient success to warrant the creation of the separate Captain’s Chair business late last year.
“We were a small MSP and we used it to become an average-sized MSP, or a little larger than that,” Roychoudhury said. “For little guys, it’s an amazing tool to differentiate themselves from Day One. The transparency allows them to compete against larger competitors. But it works as well for larger MSPs focused on the midmarket or co-managed IT. This makes them look good when they walk into a management meeting.”
Roychoudhury said that when they initially designed the product, they thought it would be something they would give away to get and keep clients, but soon realized it was something that customers would pay for.
“The way is works is that the MSP actually bills the client and then we bill the MSP, with a 60-70% margin built in for them,” he said. “We have been selling it as a line item, and we teach MSPs how to do that. The base fee is $350 a month, and then there is a schedule of fees based on the MSP client size. A company of 100 plus users would be billed between $500 and $800 a month as a line item.”
At the formal launch, Captain’s Chair has five 5 MSPs signed up. None of them are in Canada, but Roychouldhury said that this is the kind of product that extends globally.
“With this, customers who are not IT-savvy can understand how everything comes together for them,” he stated. “I’m a business guy, and this tool helped me understand the MSP business fully as well. You don’t have to be technical to be successful as an MSP.”
Captain’s Chair is at IT Nation Connect, at Booth #522.