The latest company from serial entrepreneur Colin Knox, who most recently founded Passportal and sold it to SolarWinds, Gradient’s strategy is to build a full platform of services to automate and eliminate MSP pain points, and while others will be paid services once released, this one will remain a free gift to the industry.
Today, Gradient MSP, which emerged from stealth late last year, is now bringing its first product to market. Their data hygiene solution for MSPs, which is integrated through PSAs, is now available. It is also free of charge, and will remain so. While Gradient MSP will bring additional services that address MSP pain points to their platform later this year, and those will be paid services, the plan with this first one was to give something back to the MSP business.
“The data hygiene module is free and will always be free,” said Colin Knox, Gradient MSP’s founder and CEO. Knox started out as an MSP, with Calgary-based XCEL Professional Services, which he sold in 2016. He then founded Passportal, a password management and documentation platform, which he sold to SolarWinds in 2019.
“We understand how much we struggled with this as an MSP, and we wanted to give something back to the industry,” Knox indicated. “But this module will be just one part of a broader data intelligence platform. MSPs using the data hygiene module contribute to this by sinking their data into the system, to enrich data and allow more informed decisions.”
Gradient will have additional modules which are not free, however, which is where they will make their money.
“The next module will be near the end of this year,” Knox said. “It will be automating another administrative burden that is a pain point for MSP owners – a frustrating recurring problem. It will be a paid-for service.” Exactly what it is will remain shrouded in mystery for the time being, however.
What Gradient terms data hygiene is essentially the same thing as the data cleansing and data quality solutions that have been sold to larger businesses for years.
“It’s all about cleaning the data,” Knox said. “Others do this for Oracle, Salesforce, and the big CRMs. MSPs are just as reliant on their data, however. The cost to them of dirty and unreliable data is just as high as anyone else.”
Data hygiene is based on a ‘1-10-100’ Rule. That means that It takes $1 to verify a record as it is entered. It takes $10 to cleanse the record. But it takes $100 if nothing is done, because of the repeated ramifications of the mistake. The objective of data hygiene is to validate the data as close to the $1 point as possible.
Knox started Passportal, based on his experiences as an MSP and addressing a pain point in that business. Gradient MSP’s origin is slightly different, in that it draws from his experience both at his MSP, and the time he spent at SolarWinds.
“This business was brought together based off the experience of both running an MSP, and with a channel vendor building a business on both sides of the ecosystem,” he stated. “We are building a data intelligence platform to provide informative real time and accurate insights to both MSPs and IT channel vendors. We started with data hygiene as our first solution because it is the basic level to improve decisions that MSPs are doing on a daily basis. If we offer this out to the market and let them clean up their PSAs, it improves the ROI and solidifies the value they bring from their PSAs. We have set an internal goal to help eradicate one billion dollars in data costs for MSPs, predicated on that 1-10-100 model.
“We have this dream of data equality for the industry,” Knox continued. “Every MSP that participates in this program will get increased understanding from an anonymized collective data set. We can also offer guidance and recommendations around steps that are most likely to do next, based on peers a step or two ahead of them. That’s the end game. The first step is the free data hygiene model.”
Knox said the platform is scalable to any size MSP.
“We’ve done copious amount of data. Involving large MSPs and providing recommendations across tens of thousands of records,” he stated. “It’s completely scalable to larger MSP shops of several hundred people or larger.”
Out of the gate, Gradient integrates with PSA solutions from ConnectWise, Datto, Kaseya, Syncro and Tigerpaw.
“We have integrated with the five most popular PSAs, and we will be adding support for more PSAs to reach more MSPs,” Knox said.
Knox noted that MSPs who try to do something about this data issues have had two choices up till now – do things manually themselves, or hire consultants, who also do things manually.
“It’s purely manual at this point,” he indicated. “Larger MSPs can hire people to sift through the data, manually. There are consultancies out there which log into your PSAs and manually do that work. But there has been no solution that does automated analysis recommendations.”
Gradient MSP’s data hygiene solution is available now, at no charge to MSPs. More details are available at https://www.meetgradient.com