IT by Design is a Master MSP that changed their focus to be around coaching and training, dealing with MSP-specific leadership issues and how to address them effectively for both transformational and transactional leaders.
ORLANDO – At the ConnectWise IT Nation Connect here, New Jersey based Master MSP and established ConnectWise partner IT by Design was in attendance as a sponsor. The company’s focus is on a specific type of team-driven and leadership driven type of management, and they regularly attend this event to present their messaging to the IT Nation Community.
“We have been around for 20 years,” said Kam Kaila, Partner and President of IT by Design. “We started out as an MSP in New York City, Because we were vendor of choice for the stock exchange, we had to have a NOC – and it failed. So in 2007 we opened up our own NOC in India. Within a year we built out a line of dedicated remote MSPs, effectively becoming a Master MSP, and we started to serve the channel.”
The company’s relationship with ConnectWise dates from 2016.
“ConnectWise approached us then and said that they wanted a NOC provider, so we moved fully to the channel,” Kaila said. “We have about 600 people right now. We are New Jersey based, and still privately owned. We have two NOCs, both of which are in India, and we are about to open one in the Phillippines.”
Kaila said that using foreign NOCs for talent provides a competitive advantage, but interestingly, it is around talent rather than price.
“Anyone can answer a phone call, but in order to remediate a problem, rather than just report there is a problem, you need L2 and L3 engineers,” Kaila said. North America-based NOCs need people at a cheaper price point, because they are more expensive. But because of this, dollar for dollar, the quality of talent isn’t as good. So people come in in the morning and they find an alert that there was a problem, but the problem hasn’t actually been fixed. We provide a service that provides remediation if there is a problem after hours.”
IT by Design has a major focus in their business on improving leadership capability among MSPs, and offers coaching to do this. They attend ConnectWise events to spread this message deeper to the MSP community.
“We have been here since 2014, when the event was back at the Waldorf,” Kaila said. “2016 was the first year when we came in as a sponsor. We speak a lot on how to build the right infrastructures, and how to manage teams, and we won the 2018 solution provider of the year here.”
Kaila said that larger MSPs are more attracted to their messaging.
“The ones who need our services are more operationally mature,” she stated. “Smaller MSPs don’t have the right training to lead well. We used to take MSPs who were in their early stages, but because they didn’t know how to lead well, they had trouble retaining people.”
This lack of attention to leadership produces cultural issues that are at the heart of many MSP problems today.
“There’s a lack of leadership training in the industry,” Kaila said. “That’s why we have a talent crisis right now. We emphasize that MSPs need to deal with this by changing their focus from being money-driven to being team-driven and leadership-driven.”
IT by Design’s coaching involves two types of training – transformational and transactional.
“Transaction leadership is foundational,” Kaila said. “It produces good managers, and you need good transactional leaders to get good people and to keep them. Transformational leaders are ones who get people to follow. Transformational leaders inspire you and help you get to get to greatness.”
Kaila emphasized that their training programs are not quick three-day sessions.
“It’s not a ‘one and done,’” she said. “It takes a year of monthly classes – virtual or in person – where they do a full day of training once a month. We also want the whole leadership team to come in, not just one or two people.”
They have a software product, Team GPS, which was first launched in 2021 and which has just had a new updated release. It integrates an array of tools to streamline operations, and create and maintain meaningful relationships with both employees and customers.
“We have added a performance piece to it,” Kaila said. “ It was really our COVID baby, where we used it ourselves first to solve our own internal challenges and learn how to keep employees engaged in a remote workforce. It teaches you how to take them from here to there. The integrated performance management provides the holistic goals of the employee, so that employees can see how their work matters.”
In addition, in late September, at their own Build IT event, they announced their corporate coaching program.
IT by Design is giving two presentations at IT Nation Connect this year. On Thursday they presented on upskilling and reskilling talent. Today, the presentation is all about leadership license.