Richard speaks with Michael George, the CEO of Continuum, an outsourced Network Operations Centre (NOC) provider for IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
An Interview with Michael George
Michael George is the CEO of Continuum, which supports Managed Service Providers (MSPs) around the world, providing them with software, network operations and disaster recovery, as well as white label services they can offer to their clients.
Who is Continuum for?
Continuum offers a scalable model to support IT business owners to grow and develop their offerings and become MSPs. Their partners range from those new to the business to industry big hitters (see my article on How to Choose an MSP NOC Provider to see if a service like Continuum is right for your business).
Their services are designed to give partners the level of support usually limited to bigger businesses, so people typically join Continuum when they’re trying to grow but are constrained by their current software or platforms. MSPs can onboard new customers without the need for additional staff due to the tools available from Continuum.
Michael explained that the goal is to: “make our partners successful in all aspects of business, from sales to delivery, and everything we do is geared towards that growth and success.”
How Michael Manages a Global Workforce
Although Michael has a fantastic team of managers, he made a personal commitment to go around the globe and shake hands with each of his 1,400 employees.
It takes him about five weeks to visit the company offices in each country, but Continuum believes that it’s important for their growth and strategy to have an open book policy, and meet with teams on a quarterly basis to involve them in business decisions.
Michael explains that there are two tenets observed by the senior management team, which were agreed when the business was founded and resonate today: “To focus on our team and talent management by providing resources for them to develop” and to “care about our partners”, which is why Continuum provides local support in each country they work in.
What’s Stayed the Same in a Fast-Changing Industry
Anyone working in the IT industry needs to understand that while you need to understand and care about what you do, it’s not just technology for its own sake, it’s about solving an important business challenge.
To make an impact on people’s businesses, you need to help them to see that IT is an asset, not a liability and that it can be used to give them a competitive advantage. Security, protection and continuity are what matters to your customers so they can grow.
The combination of technology and people, and the engagement model was true 25 years ago when Michael first joined the industry, it is today, and it will be true in 25 years. It doesn’t make sense to assume that technology will get cheaper and easier – for MSPs to succeed, they need to move quickly and make good investments for themselves and their customers.
The Biggest Surprise for Michael Since Becoming CEO
An unexpected benefit for Michael of being CEO of Continuum is “The pleasure and enjoyment I get from engaging with the small business owners we work with. I spend as much time as I can out in the field to learn about the challenges MSPs face.”
He’s been able to develop a personal and professional connection with partners, which he believes allows him to help them better. Indeed, he’s been told by partners that Continuum has changed their lives and made them successful, which is very rewarding.
How Vendors can Deal with Customer Objections to Outsourced Services
When a customer says they don’t want to outsource, they’re really saying ‘lower my rates’. They want better technology, more services and they want it cheaper, and MSPs shouldn’t be subsidising their customers.
What Continuum offers is a local service in a global economy, and many partners don’t advertise the fact that they use outsourced service providers. In fact, the end user can’t tell that they’re not dealing directly with their MSP, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Mentioned in This Episode:
- Continuum: www.continuum.net
- Autotask: www.autotask.com
- ConnectWise: www.connectwise.com
- Kaseya: www.kaseya.com
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