SBSC North West: Advantages of Sharing Best Practice Among Local Peers - Tubblog: The Hub for MSPs

SBSC North West: Advantages of Sharing Best Practice Among Local Peers

SBSC North West: Advantages of Sharing Best Practice Among Local Peers image

The SBSC North West group is an independent forum based in and around Manchester, in the UK.

The group meets once a month and is open to all local Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT Support businesses.

Richard Tubb, and I, Stephen McCormick, were invited along to see how the SBSC North West group conducted their version of a peer group meeting.

As the last one to be held of 2023, there were a few surprises for the attendees too.

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SBSC North West Group

There are many different reasons to attend a local peer group for Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

They’re a chance to meet other MSPs and discuss best practice. To talk about emerging trends and opportunities for collaboration. You can discuss how to solve the problems of running a modern IT business, as well as the benefits and shortcomings of the tools you’re using.

It’s a group run by MSPs for MSPs.

Robert Gibbons of Cara Technology chairs the SBSC North West group, and Dave Brereton of MySon Pages hosted the event at the Zen Internet building in Rochdale.

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The Last Meeting the SBSC North West of 2023

There were nearly twenty of us in the room on Tuesday 21st November 2023  inhe boardroom of the Zen Internet building, located on the top floor of the building that used to be the headquarters for the Co-Operative. Now called the Alan Turing suite, it’s a room that’s dominated by a large circular table somewhat reminiscent of a Bond villain’s lair or Camelot’s round table.

As it was to be the last meeting before Christmas, attendees were asked to bring a tin can of food in for the Rochdale Foodbank and Soup Kitchen Rochdale.

Attendee Introductions

The meeting began with everyone giving an introduction.

This consisted of their name, and a little bit about their business. This could be the type of customers they support, how long they’ve been running their business and where they’re based.

Richard and I weren’t the only non-MSPs in the room however. Phylip Morgan and Michael Breeze of Pax8 were also in attendance.

The SBSC North West group sometimes invite third party vendors and solution providers to get better insight into their products and future developments.

Discussion Topic: Outsourcing

The first topic up for discussion was around outsourcing. Specifically, how to find good companies to work with and avoid the bad.

Here were some of the points raised:

  • Before you outsource, it’s good to decide what your core competencies are. It’s best to keep the things you’re best at to yourself and consider outsourcing other things
  • It’s a good idea to outsource those things that you don’t want to spend your time doing yourself.
  • Strategic Partnerships with other MSPs could be one consideration. You might find another MSP who specialises in those elements you need help delivering
  • Then there are specialist providers like Uptime Solutions, who can deliver a Security Operations Centre (SOC) or Network Operations Centre (NOC) provision as a white label service
  • Virtual Assistants (VAs) are workers that you can hire for a few hours each month to deliver the parts of your business that take up a lot of time, or distract you from growing your business

SBSC North West Advantages of Sharing Best Practice Among Local Peers

The SBSC North West Awards

In partnership with Pax8, and as a way to give something back to the group, Rob revealed the winners and runners up in a number of categories.

The winners received a lovely cut-glass award with their name and the category they won it for.

Team Tubb Travelogue

Just before the pizza arrived, Richard and I recorded a live Travelogue with our Content Strategist, Pascal Fintoni, with everyone else in the room as special guests.

We talked about our experiences at the Managed Services Summit North, earlier in the day. Then we invited a few of the people in the room to give their impressions of the Summit too. This included Phylip Morgan from Pax8, Robert Gibbons of Cara Technology and Sam Sheridan from Sheridan Computers.

MSPs want to grow their business, be more operationally efficient and manage their risk Click to Tweet

2024 for the SBSC North West Group

For 2024, several areas for MSP business improvement were highlighted as possible themes for future meetings.

Themes included: Automation, Outsourcing, Financials, Processes, Standardisation, Staff Confidence, Expectations, Measuring Results and the Rollout Process.

The SBSC North West community plan to:SBSC North West

  • Discuss what works or didn’t work for MSPs
  • Benchmark financials/ratios
  • Hold roundtable open discussions
  • Invite guest speakers on marketing/sales/finance
  • Invite Microsoft speakers
  • Technical product demos
  • Accountability tracks

Discussion Topic: How Can Pax8 Improve Their Services

To finish off the meeting, Pax8 were put on the spot with the MSPs in the room. The attendees were asked to give their criticism on ways Pax8 could improve their services.

Michael Breeze and Phylip Morgan were there to listen and offer their response.

Some of the criticisms included:

  • NCE licence issues making billing difficult to reconcile at the moment. Would this be fixed in the new marketplace, coming next year?
  • The platform doesn’t perform too well with Microsoft Edge
  • It’s difficult to know where to go for support, whether it’s Pax8 or the individual vendor
  • Account managers don’t have a very good handover process. New managers don’t seem to understand the customer’s requirements

Some of these criticisms were addressed though:

  • Licencing will be tighter in the new version of the marketplace, with clever automation to make it more efficient
  • Account managers will be listed in the portal, so you know who to go to if you have any issues

There were also some compliments for the Pax8 Mission Briefings and The Pax8 Academy, with both recognised as excellent benefits for Pax8 MSP partners.

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Closing the SBSC North West Meeting

Robert thanked everyone for coming and making a contribution – to both the discussion and the food bank collection.

Both Richard and I really enjoyed the meeting, and enjoyed meeting local MSPs.

If you’re an MSP local to the North West of England, you should definitely give the SBSC North West group meetings a go. It’s a great way to network with your peers and learn some great insights on trending tech and best practice.

If you want to find out more about the SBSC North West:

Have you been to the SBSC North West group? Or perhaps you’ve been to a similar peer group that you think Richard and I should go to next. If you have, please let us know about your experiences in the comments.

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STEPHEN MCCORMICK

I'm the MSP Community Manager for Tubblog. A small business owner, technical writer and blogger, with 15 years experience in corporate IT. I frequently attend MSP peer groups and create content relevant to IT service providers and business owners.

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Comments

2 thoughts on SBSC North West: Advantages of Sharing Best Practice Among Local Peers

CHRIS GORMAN

14TH DECEMBER 2023 11:28:49

Thanks for the tag, and great to see you at the meeting. 👍

RICHARD TUBB

17TH DECEMBER 2023 13:35:58

Chris -- great to see you there! :-)

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