An Interview with Jason Kemsley
In this episode, I talk to Jason Kemsley, co-founder and Technical Director at Uptime Solutions. Uptime offer outsourcing support for NOC, SOC and helpdesk. This saves MSPs time and allows them to concentrate on serving their clients better and growing their business.
This was a live TubbTalk episode, and Jason answered questions from the audience. We talked about when it the right time to outsource, barriers to doing so, and when not to outsource.
How Uptime’s Pod System Allows for Personalised Service
The pod-based model is where a team of six engineers are allocated to an MSP (managed service provider). The client works exclusively with that pod for the duration of their contract.
This means, Jason says, that no matter what time the client calls, they’ll speak to one of six people who are familiar with their business. For Uptime as a provider, it also allows them to reduce ticket times, and it also helps with trend analysis.
If you’re not sure what a service desk is, this article might help!
Why More MSPs Don’t use Outsourcing Services
Jason says the biggest block is around the preconceived ideas an MSP holds about what their customer will and will not accept. “They think that they’re the only person who can support their client effectively and carry out any work.”
The MSP wants to retain as much control as possible, but they don’t ask the client if they’d feel comfortable with outsourced support. “You just need someone personable, polite and respectful. A lot of time it’s really just about ego.” As a business grows, though, the owner realises that they need to find additional help.
When Outsourcing isn’t Right for You
There are two main reasons not to outsource, Jason explained. The first is around ego again – if your focus is on growing your business and having a big team to support the business and its clients, then outsourcing isn’t going to be the right fit for you.
The other reason is if you think that outsourcing means you hand over responsibility for your clients to someone else. While it frees up your time, it doesn’t mean you can go on holiday or stop being available.
Jason adds: “These are your clients. You’ve built the relationship with them and you understand their needs the best. We are there to complement you, but we still need to learn about those clients and their quirks from you.”
To learn more about how outsourcing can help you grow your business, my article on working with virtual assistants will give you some ideas.
How to Overcome the Fear of Outsourcing
One thing that causes resistance amongst MSPs is the fact that an outsourcer will be in a customer-facing role. Jason says when they start to work with a new client, they take time to understand their core values and explain their own. Wherever possible, they want them to align.
In the early days of outsourcing, there were only a few companies to choose from, and they may not have all been experts in the industry. There was an understanding that the support would be outsourced overseas. Uptime Solutions have shown that that’s not necessary.
The First Steps to Outsourcing
In the IT industry, Jason says that many people dislike change. They won’t try something new unless there’s a risk of losing an opportunity or money. It’s often a knee-jerk reaction to something going wrong.
If you’ve reached that point, then you’re ready to outsource. The good news is, Jason says, you can start as small as you want. Start with whichever customer you think will help the outsourcer get a good understanding of the business. They’ll sit down with you and discuss your needs.
The Uptime model allows you to start small and grow, so their contracts are per customer you outsource. They don’t do an immediate handover, either – it’s done gradually. Their contracts are flexible and can even vary from client to client.
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