An Interview with Phylip Morgan
Phylip Morgan runs The Network Group, a UK-wide support community for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), retailers and select vendors to share best practice, give advice and support and to find out about the latest industry developments.
The Network Group hosts five events each year, which gives members the opportunity to network, learn new things and discuss ways to grow their businesses – their focus is always on ‘thinking, talking, growing’ and not seeing the other members as competition.
The Network Group seek to give their members the most helpful information they can and listen to their feedback to make sure they get the right support. They also work with members to grow their businesses and have a number of ways they do this.
One initiative is to help retailers to become Managed Service Retailer (MSR), modelled on the MSP approach of bringing several different client systems together under one support package, to give a more streamlined support service.
Phylip explained why he believes there’s a need for MSRs for general consumers as well as MSPs for businesses: “In all industries, services provided need to be managed, and bigger organisations are already moving to a subscription-based service.”
For example, customers are no longer able to purchase antivirus or Microsoft Office in a box in a computer shop – Microsoft has moved to 365, an online version of their office software which customers pay for annually.
That means lost revenue for most UK retailers, but fortunately, not for the members of The Network Group. Phylip says they have a phrase, almost an ethos, of “turning footfall into fans”, which means changing an in-store experience from informational to relational.
The retailers are encouraged to discuss the customer’s needs with them, to offer them a subscription service which provides them with ongoing support beyond their initial purchase, tailored to their specific needs.
This idea of remote management, to ensure that the customer’s antivirus and Office subscriptions are up to date is common in the MSP space, but not in the consumer space, but Phylip thinks that this will change.
The MSRs offer several different packages, such as the Home Addition package to cover laptops and software. A Smart Home package would cover a family’s devices, including laptops and the TV, any subscriptions and hardware and software.
Retailers are facing increasing challenges from online sellers who can offer lower prices, and there’s a lot of talk about the death of the high street, but Phylip believes that MSRs can offer a different, more specialised customer experience to that of retail giants such as Amazon.
Technological developments are moving us towards the Internet of Things and people being able to do a lot more with the devices in their own homes. Employees and business owners are increasingly starting to use their personal devices for work-related tasks, which creates an opportunity for MSPs to work with the MSRs to provide support wherever the customer uses their gadgets.
This has already happened in the MSP world, where they’ve diversified into telephony, voice data solutions or managed print, and others have gone into CCTV and security.
Convergence has already happened with some things so it can happen a bit more: an MSP can partner with an MSR in the same way some do now, to offer the services they don’t do themselves.
The customer benefits from an MSR agreement that looks after their subscriptions, hardware, software and includes in-store discounts, and can work out cheaper than purchasing these separately.
For MSPs and MSRs worried that a flat fee option would be abused, they simply need to have a reasonable use policy that explains to the customer what is and isn’t included.
Could you see your MSP business working with an MSR? What opportunities do you think the Internet of Things provides for MSPs? I’m intrigued to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below or get in touch with me.
Mentioned in this episode:
- The Network Group – www.nbg.co.uk
- Nest – https://nest.com/uk/
- The Internet of Things – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things
- Network Group on Twitter – https://twitter.com/nbgltd
- Network Group on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NetworkGroupUK/
- Network Group on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/959383/)
- Phylip Morgan on Twitter – https://twitter.com/phylipm
- Mostyn Thomas – Managing Director of Astrix Integrated Systems Ltd
- Chris Ducker
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