Richard talks to Leigh Wood, Director of Node IT Solutions, about why he recommends Microsoft products and limits the software he uses with his clients, why he thinks MSPs should attend the Microsoft Inspire conference, and his experiences in the IT industry over the last decade.
An Interview with Leigh Wood
Who is Leigh Wood?
Leigh Wood is the owner of Bedfordshire-based MSP Node IT Solutions. Node were founded in 2008 and they specialise in improving the productivity of businesses with 100 to a thousand employees, specifically by using Microsoft 365.
The Biggest Change in the MSP Industry
Leigh says the biggest change has been the term MSP (managed service provider). When Node started 10 years ago, most of the work was fixing kit, and that’s the last thing most MSPs want to do. Now, they (and their peers) have moved away from simply being an IT support company, and focus on bringing value to a business, and help a business develop and use IT.
Being able to work remotely and automate tasks have made a difference. In the last few years, many software programmes and online tools have been introduced to the UK market, many from the US, which integrate with existing platforms and make businesses run more smoothly.
Leigh says the foundations of a company are good computers, good IT processes and methods and it’s important to empower people within the company to use the tools, and to help them communicate their messages.
Leigh’s Definition of an MSP
“An MSP to me is a partner, who looks after the IT and all the foundational services.” He believes it’s important for the MSP to know what the business is doing, their goal and vision, and to help them achieve that through the systems they have.
Node do that through fixing problems, but also putting in systems that work, delivering new solutions to their clients to help them, and making sure that the business has got what it needs to deliver to its customers to deliver to each other.
The Tools used by Node IT
Nodehase a few core products that they use for the everyday running of the business. They use ConnectWise, as their PSA (professional services automation), and everything runs through that. They use it for billing, the service desk, all the projects and sales, and Leigh describes it as the heart of the business for data and information. They know where everything is within it and all the staff use it.
They also have satellite tools to go alongside ConnectWise. They use the documentation service from IT Glue, which they’ve been using since it arrived in the UK. They also use Continuum to take advantage of the NOC (network operations centre). It supports them with the 24/7 maintenance and management of the servers they have.
Finally, they use Auvik for RMM (remote monitoring and management). Leigh says that he likes ‘the fact that we can really drill and see the systems and what replacements might be needed.’ It fits in with whatever the client is using seamlessly.
Why Leigh Recommends Microsoft Products
Early on with Node, Leigh and his business partners looked at Google Apps and Microsoft’s suite, and decided that they couldn’t do both. They use Teams to track all the important information for business development projects and are able to pull everything from Office 365 into one place.
Node also use Microsoft tools for day to day communications, for video conferencing and for meetings. They ask all their customers to use it too, because it’s a system they know inside and out, and can support their customers to maximise it’s potential.
Why MSPs Should Attend the Inspire Conference
Inspire is Microsoft’s annual conference held in Las Vegas. It brings together users and partners from all over the world for several days, allowing them to network, learn more about Microsoft and gives them the opportunity to talk to senior executives they wouldn’t normally meet.
Mentioned in This Episode
- IT Glue
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Apps
- Identity Experts
- The Network Group
- Book: Traction by Gino Wickman
- Book: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John-David Mann.
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