Reseller News

Pulse IT: Time to move to managed services

Resellers who rely on the traditional break-fix service model could be in trouble if they don’t break into managed services, says Pulse IT managing director Ryan Balemi.

Speaking at a managed services roundtable sponsored by Kaseya and attended by partners such as Gen-i, Tiger Networks, Password and Outsource IT, Balemi says his company has increased productivity, improved customer

service and saved money by employing the managed services model. Pulse IT has also automated its engineering business.

“Our whole structure has changed. In the past, if I walked in and the office was empty, I knew we were making money. These days the office is full and the lease cars I hired are all going back because we don’t need to [have them].

“We don’t have wasted time in travel and instead of manually checking on client’s systems, we now have a big screen so if something goes wrong it is going to flag up [on the screen].”

Balemi told the audience that if they are not already doing managed services, they should change or get left behind.

“If you think the core of your business is in engineering and fixing problems, I personally think you’re in trouble. Because in time that [model] will disappear.”

These days, 75 percent of Pulse IT’s income is accounted for by managed services and the majority of that comes from automatic payments, says Balemi.

The company, which began in 1999, started out using an ad hoc model where its engineers were out on the road fixing customers’ problems onsite. In 2001, the company moved to full, fixed price managed services with a customer.

“The rationale behind it was I had a manager nagging me about managed services. I found myself going back to see a customer for the third time to talk through that month’s worth of invoices and what should be paid,” he says.

Balemi suggested the customer set up an automatic payment for expenses.

“One of the benefits of moving to the managed services model is when you’re [billing] on time, it simply doesn’t work for the customer. Your engineers are generally incentivised how many hours they are billing, which in some cases is understandable.”

He advised roundtable delegates that staff involvement is vital when moving to a managed services model.

“We’ve instigated what we call daily huddles, so all our engineers will gather around for about 10 minutes and say how many hours they billed out. They also go around and say what they are working on for the day. The more I am having my team involved, the more the business keeps moving at a much faster pace.”