Blog | June 12, 2012

How To Run Your IT Business Better

By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

Since Sunday evening, I've been in Orlando, FL for Autotask Community Live! If you aren't familiar with Autotask, the company manufacturers software designed to (according to its website) organize, automate, and optimize your IT business so you can spend less time managing it and more time growing it. This is my first time attending the event and I'm pretty impressed for a number of reasons.

First, there are way more attendees than I expected. In fact, I learned that there were around 800 MSP attendees at the show. The ballroom for the keynote was huge and showcased an impressive setup. I overheard more than one attendee liken the stage to something you'd see at a Microsoft event. During the opening keynote, Len DiCostanzo, senior VP of community and business development, asked for how many it was their first time at the event. About 80% raised their hands! So, immediately I began wondering what would inspire so many to take the time and money to attend the event. It became clear moments later when Mark Cattini, Autotask's president and CEO, took the stage.

During his keynote address, Cattini delivered a ton of great data and insight on the growing opportunities to sell managed services and hosted solutions. Once he established his point that there's a big opportunity, he then explained Autotask's role in helping attendees make the most of the opportunities. "Autotask's role is to provide an efficient and flexible end-to-end IT buisiness management solutions so you can concentrate on making your clients the most successful they can be." I like that a lot. Even if you don't fancy yourself an MSP, concentrating on ways to make your clients more successful is paramount to making yourself successful. He went on to say that by focusing on helping your customers be successful, you're pretty much locking yourself into trusted advisor status. I like that too.

I had a number of one-on-one interviews with various Autotask executives throughout the day and those themes kept popping up. Autotask wants to help you run your business better and become more of a true trusted advisor to your customers. The various breakout sessions throughout the day were all aimed at doing those things. See if some of these session titles don't catch your eye:

  • Best Practices For Operating An Efficient & Profitable Service Department
  • Improving Efficiency & Productivity: Optimizing Autotask Service Desk
  • How To Demonstrate Your Value To Clients & Prospects
  • The 5 Essentials To Motivating Tech Employees

Look, I've spoken with enough VARs and MSPs to know that these types of topics perfectly address pain points many are feeling. And, something I really like, a number of the speakers at this event are actually attendees -- successful MSPs sharing their insights with their peers. Having attended many many conventions, I can say that this event is among the best for the high quality of education taking place because its just so relevant.

So, that's a quick overview of the sessions taking place. I'm also impressed at what Autotask has in place from a product perspective to help its customers (you) run a better business. I can't pretend to know even a fraction of the capabilities of their platform after just one day (robust and feature rich don't begin to do the product justice), but I can tell you that, based on conversations I had with MSPs throughout the day, Autotask really can help improve your business. I talked with one MSP who's only been using Autotask for a few months. Even in that short amount of time, he's seen his billable hours increase dramatically because he's been able to more accurately track what's billable and which employees are underutilized. Thinking back to my time as a VAR, I recall how sloppy our timekeeping was, how manual and error prone our billing was, and how overall inefficient we were as a company. When I tell you Autotask can help, I know from personal experience that they can.

Well, the day 2 industry leader panel is about to start. For play-by-play commentary on the event, check out #commlive on Twitter.

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