Sunday, October 17, 2021

Forget HIPAA - Client Information Portability and Accountability is on the Horizon

I'm sure you've heard the famous line from T.S. Eliot's poem, The Hollow Men:

"This is the way the world ends
 Not with a bang but a whimper."

Well I'm here to tell you that sometimes major changes with profound effects also start with a whimper, or perhaps a whisper too easily ignored.

Great changes are coming to our industry. Not bad things, but big things. Things that will make it a little more difficult to operate. Things that will make your tools more expensive and your operations a bit more bureaucratic. What are these major changes?

Quite simply, we are quietly entering an era of data transparency and accountability that hasn't existed before. Which data? All the meta data and supporting system data that's used to monitor, update, access, backup, and secure your client's information.

This data includes everything client-related in your PSA and RMM tools. For example, the entire configuration of how you manage clients. Alert level settings. IP address information. Successful and unsuccessful checks. Logs of everything that happens inside your RMM tool.

The whisper came in one of the CISA documents I blogged about recently: "Risk Considerations for Managed Service Provider Customers." See*

That document gives some very specific advice to your clients, including advice to require an MSP to provide . . .

  • "Direct access to security logging information, network intrusion detection, and anomaly analysis data telemetry from all systems managed by the MSP that support the service being procured"


  • "The ability for the customer organization to examine the systems that directly and indirectly support the contracted service on-demand by the customer organization with appropriate data handling considerations."

As I pointed out earlier, I don't know of any tools that currently exist in the SMB space that make this reporting and access possible. But if your RMM vendor isn't working to create this kind of reporting, you may find yourself looking for a new vendor.

Within about five years, I predict that MSPs will be reporting "data telemetry" to their clients on a regular basis. This will include a standard list of what you monitor, how frequently you monitor it, who has access to your dashboards, how one client's data is securely separated from other clients' data, etc.

All of this information has to exist somewhere inside your RMM or other tools. But you probably don't have access to it. That's why I call it meta data: It exists in support of the services you provide, but you don't have any way to back it up, print it out, or show it to clients (or government agencies) that ask for it. It's simply the bits and bytes that make the tools do what they do.

On a somewhat unrelated note . . .

I had a chat with a MSP owner last week who had a startling realization about her RMM, which I won't name. One of her employees accidentally applied a filter to a dashboard. So, when the owner logged in, she only saw her own company and two clients. Everyone else was GONE - or so it seemed.

She panicked. "How will I recreate every piece of monitoring, scripting, and reporting for every client?" She soon discovered that this was a filtering issue - but not before her brain went scurrying off to settle the question. She contacted the RMM vendor and was told:

"Sorry, you're out of luck."

All that information is somewhere in the cloud, controlled and monitored by the RMM vendor. But it's not backed up in a way that could actually be restored for one client or one MSP. In other words: You need to back up all that configuration information by hand.

She didn't give up. This can't be true. There has to be a way to access the settings for MY business, MY clients, and MY contracted data services. The response was only a tiny bit alarming: The only way to do that is to have an on-premise server. That way, you've got your SQL database. And however difficult it might be to get the data out, it will be on YOUR backup of YOUR database.

A-hem. Except . . . if I'm correct, ALL the recent "supply chain" ransomware attacks have involved on-premise servers and not cloud services!!! So how do I back up the client-related data in a cloud environment?

You can't.

You simply can't.

We don't make that available to MSPs.

You just have to trust us.

THIS, my friends, is going to change. Whether they like it or not, RMM vendors will have to make these reports, this data, and these configurations available to you (and your clients) in the next few years. And, in a less cumbersome challenge, PSA vendors will as well.

Ultimately, we as an industry will be asked to address a very important question: Who owns the data involved in monitoring and managing a client's network? Is it the RMM vendor? The MSP? The client? The answer matters!

If the RMM vendor owns this data, then what do they owe the MSP or end user? What reports are reasonable? If there's a ransomware attack or other cybersecurity attack, what should the MSP or their client expect? Like it or not, you should be able to document this information.

If the MSP owns this data, what reports do they owe to the end users? Should this information flow on a regular basis or just when there's an incident? (BTW, I fully acknowledge that clients will ignore 97% of this information until there's a cybersecurity attack.)

But if the MSP owns this information, it should be downloaded, separated by client, and backed up. For how long? You need to add this to your general data retention policies. Some things we keep for three years; some for seven; some forever. Where does client monitoring telemetry fit in the big data retention picture?

If the end-user client owns the data, then the picture changes considerably. If the client owns the data, they should be able to take their "monitoring profile" to another MSP and get equal (or very similar) service based on the devices being monitored, the thresholds for alerts, the automated responses or scripts being run, and the reports being generated.

NONE of this is possible today. Even at the enterprise level, I don't think this kind of data portability exists. But once someone (e.g., CISA) lays the groundwork for expectations, I think you'll see these kinds of requirements finding their way into to requests-for-quotes.

Perhaps the closest analogy for most of us is HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In this case, maybe it becomes CIPA or Client Information Portability and Accountability. If someone has a better term, I'm open to it. 

What data, or meta data, should be made available to clients with regard to the monitoring and management services you provide? Aside from merely making useless information available, what USEFUL information should be made available? Ultimately, there should be some standardized reporting made available to law enforcement and insurance inspectors after a cybersecurity incident.

What can a client reasonably expect? Again: I fully acknowledge that most clients won't care. But more and more, their insurance company will care. What actually-useful information can you provide to clients who dutifully pay their bill every month and expect your to just take care of their network?

. . .

I almost started this post with an apology. I'm sorry I have to write this post. And I'm sorry you need to read it. But you need to read it.

The details will be worked out a bit at a time. But, in the big picture, I think this is the world you can look forward to. Luckily, this is an evolving world. And that means you can join in the conversation and help mold the future as it emerges.

PLEASE leave comments and questions. I'm happy to respond.

-- -- --

* I previously blogged about the document itself ( and some things you should be doing right now in response to this (


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

5-week class - Financial Processes for the IT Services Firm – Starts October 19th

Financial Processes for the IT Services Firm – 5W07

Taught By: Rayanne Buchianico

Five Tuesdays

October 19 - November 16 - Register Now

All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

You're guaranteed to learn something that will make or save you the price of admission!

There are few things more important than the finances of your business. But most technology consultants didn't get into business to run balance sheets or figure out cash flow.

This class provides unique content from a unique teacher! Rayanne is a managed service provider from Tampa, FL. She is also an accountant and an Intuit certified ProAdvisor. In addition to her MSP business, Rayanne helps I.T. consultants to take control of their finances and understand their own business at a deeper level.

Topics for this class include:

  • Learn to read and understand your Balance Sheet and P&L Statements
  • Create a chart of accounts that makes sense for your business
  • Separating out information on the P&L for management decisions
  • Entities and tax considerations - understanding how your entity is taxed. Handout is a tax projection worksheet for this year's taxes
  • Cash flow forecasting - Handout is a cash flow projection spreadsheet to forecast revenues and expenses
  • Understanding margins and ratios - Deep dive into the P&L and Balance Sheet to understand how the numbers work together to make decisions. Handout is a worksheet on calculating and understanding the ratios & margins.
  • Use margins to price your services for profit
  • Calculate billing and burden rates
  • Action plans for success

. . . and More!

Week One: Introduction to Your Company’s Finances

Week Two: Cash Flow Forecasting

Week Three: Margins, Ratios, KPIs, and Breakeven points

Week Four: Jobs, Budgeting, and Internal Controls

Week Five: Planning for Taxes

-- -- --

Delivered by Rayanne Buchianico, Financial Coach and QuickBooks Advisor. Rayanne has been an MSP - managed service provider - for many years and advises MSPs on how to get the most out of their QuickBooks and PSA integrations.

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor.

Each class is 50-60 minutes, although we often take extra time for questions.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Owner or Operations Manager.

Only $299.00 

Register: Financial Processes for the I.T. Services Firm

Friday, October 08, 2021

BIG Changes Coming to Our 2022 Training Program

Thousands of you have already taken classes over at Great Little Seminar since 2013. Thank You!

Now we have some major changes coming.

We are re-branding and doing a major upgrade to our training program for 2022. 

We now have twenty classes we are rotating through. We offer ten "live" classes per year - which means we have two years worth of classes! And we are adding at least two new classes in 2022. Maybe four.

See our current site/offerings at

Here are the classes we currently offer:

  • Core Standard Operating Procedures for IT Providers
  • Project Management 
  • Financial Processes for the I.T. Services Firm
  • The Most Important Checklists for Any I.T. Service Provider
  • Managed Services in a Month
  • Managing Your Service Board – Setup, Core SOPs, and Daily Procedures
  • The Unbreakable Rules of PSA
  • Make the Most of QuickBooks Desktop in an IT Service Business
  • Building Appointment Setting 
  • Automate Your Accounting with QuickBooks Online and Integrated Apps
  • Service Agreements for IT Pros
  • Cloud Services in a Month 
  • Powerhouse of One: Be a Super Successful Sole Proprietor
  • Position Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale
  • The Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery
  • Business Strategy Made Easy – Your Ultimate Success Hack
  • MSP Professional Sales Training Program
  • Optimize Your Social Media Marketing and Advertising
  • Deep Dive Into Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn
  • Super-Charge Your Social Media Marketing

See details at

We're adding a class on Customer Service for MSPs and ITSPs in 2022.

But here's the important sneak peek: We are adding a certification program endorsed by me and the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community brand. Tracks will include service delivery, financial processes, front office, management, and Sales and Marketing.

PLUS, we'll have a special certification just for service managers!

We'll have certification exams, of course. The "practice" questions for these will be added to the online classes that align with the exams. 

The really good news: If you've already taken one of our classes in the last two years, you can re-take the class for FREE, and access all the practice questions.

So, for example, if you've taken the class on Managed Services in a Month, you can re-take it (live or self-paced) and get all the practice questions. You'll still need to register for and take the actual exam, but it should be pretty straight forward.

More details to come.

The Best News of All . . .

If you are an annual subscriber to the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community, you can take ALL of our classes at no additional charge. So, rather than buying twenty classes at $299 (that's $5,980), you pay only $1,099 for the year!

NOTE: The annual membership price goes up to $1,199 on January first. It's still an amazing deal. But you can save that extra hundred dollars by joining now.

Visit the SBT Technology Community at

In addition to all these great classes, you'll get access to all my books, checklists, and training materials - plus weekly membership meetings.

If you're looking for a great resource for your business, start here:


Exclusive content: Killing IT LIVE - October 20th

Join us for Killing IT LIVE!

That’s right – One of the hottest podcasts for IT professionals is going LIVE!

October 20th at 9am Pacific

Get on the list now so you don't miss it.

Register now and don't miss it!

Karl Palachuk, Dave Sobel, Ryan Morris

No editing. No second takes.

Join hosts Dave Sobel, Ryan Morris, and Karl Palachuk for this special live event.

You’ll see behind the curtains as we prep and produce a live show. 

PLUS, we’ll stick around and answer questions so YOU can be part of the show as well.

We normally do three segments. But on this LIVE event, we'll record a 4th bonus segment exclusively for Killing IT Live!

A Big thanks to Cisco for making this possible!

It's free.


Saturday, October 02, 2021

Join us for Killing IT LIVE! - October 20th

 Join us LIVE online October 20th!!!

The Killing IT Podcast has been going for more than 130 episodes - and we are grateful for all of your support and feedback.

Here's what we're up to:

  • A LIVE version of our show.
  • You'll see a little bit of the "prep" work we do (such as it is)
  • We'll record FOUR topics. Normally, we air three topics. This means attendees will will get a bonus extra topic not available anywhere else.
  • And we'll stick around for questions and general networking afterward.

Your cost: FREE!

All you have to do is wander over to and register. We'll remind you on the day and time. Then come back October 20th at 9:00 AM Pacific for the live event.

October 20th
9:00 AM Pacific / Noon Eastern

-- -- --

In case you're new to the Killing IT Podcast, it's a weekly 30-minute podcast featuring SMB IT thought leaders Dave Sobel, Ryan Morris, and Karl Palachuk.

We generally cover three topics - about ten minutes each. We are honored to get a few thousand downloads per week. We'd love to have your join us. Search for The Killing It Podcast on Apple, Android, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Or just start listening here: Killing IT on Stitcher.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Three Things You Should Do in Response to the CISA Documents

CISA is giving advice about MSPs. Here are three things you should do about it.

A few days ago I blogged about the advice CISA* is giving to your clients. Today I want point out some action steps you should take in response to these documents.

That blog post is here -

The document you need to read is: Risk Considerations for Managed Service Provider Customers.**

I know many people are tempted to say that they don't have to pay attention if their clients are not going to read it. Not true. I consider this primary document and the related documents to be a peek into the future.

And since you can peek into the future of your business for free, I think you should. Here are some specific items I think you should pay attention to.

First, your company's financial health and well-being matter. I know that sounds obvious, but this is going to become a publicly-discussed element of a sound business relationship.

The CISA advice to your clients is to request documentation of your financial health AND performance records based on the service provided to other clients. There are no specifics of what that looks like, but a one-page note from your accountant is probably a good place to start.

In my white paper on transforming an industry into a profession, the first pillar I call out is financial security. You need a good, sound business model in order to have a sound future. Your clients have a right to know whether you're a "going concern" or losing money. See

In the original blog post on this topic, I mentioned that advice from the CISA document will slowly work its way into usage. I can pretty much guarantee that's the case with financial health.  This is "low fruit" and will become a checkbox on checklists that will emerge for hiring an MSP.

Today, you can ask for a quick note from your accountant. In fact, you can write it and ask them to put it on their stationary and sign it. That will probably be good for a year or two. We'll see after that.

Second, as my mother used to say, Watch Your Language! I have long advocated that we avoid casually referring to contracts or service agreements as Service Level Agreements. The CISA document uses SLAs accurately: It encourages your clients to get a refund if you do not meet your SLA targets.

I highly encourage you (and always have) to avoid using the term SLA unless you have a formula for giving clients their money back when you have unscheduled downtime. Many people (hundreds, perhaps thousands) have argued with me about this over the years.

SLA means something. You cannot get away with saying, "Well that's not what we mean. And our clients understand what we mean." These words exist outside your informal agreements. And when this advice trickles down from big business to small business, the government's (accurate) use of the phrase will dominate.

As a reminder, people also say that they use the term "All you can eat" and are sure that everyone understands that it doesn't actually mean all you can eat. I won't repeat that diatribe here for the 1,000th time.

So, watch your language. Words mean things.

Third, create some client data documentation to cover the basics of the CISA concerns. If you prepare these documents, you can actually bundle them together in a zip file or printed onboarding package with other documents.

The goal here is to address some legitimate concerns and pre-empt the need to create these docs on the fly because you didn't expect someone to ask for them. This might also be a nice differentiator for the next year or so.

Here are four examples of documents/checklists you should prepare, as recommended by the CISA advice to your prospects:

- Data Management. This document could start with your Privacy Policy statement on how you manage data. In particular, CISA encourages businesses to ask you how you will manage their data, how it will be separated from other client data, and how you secure their data.

- Vetting employees and securing clients' intellectual property. This starts with having employees sign non-disclosure agreements regarding your company and your clients. You should be doing this already. But now you should define that process for your clients and prospects.

- Document your incident response. This is particularly useful for ransomware attacks, but is also useful in any disaster (fire, flood, etc.). The CISA document encourages prospects to inspect all monitoring systems, intrusion detection logs, and "data telemetry" from monitoring systems. 

That's simply not possible with most systems. Luckily, clients won't ask for this in SMB . . . today. But if it happens in the mid-market, the standard tools for SMB IT consultants will someday include the ability to give clients this access. Heads up.

- Document each client's backup. This is another one you should already be doing. The CISA document specifically calls out the request for an air-gapped backup. In my opinion, that's not being done by most SMB systems, especially cloud-based and BDR systems. As the advice of CISA propagates, the term air-gapped backup will find its way into your clients' vocabulary.

The bottom line: Act Now. Don't Respond Later.

Managed service - in fact, all modern tech support - puts a heavy emphasis on preventive maintenance. Consider this the preventive maintenance of your company's business well-being.

Yes, it takes some work. The the items outlined here are mostly common sense and "best practices." The exception is the client's ability to look into your monitoring systems and logs. That issue - transparency - is in its infancy. But get used to it. Five years from now it will be old news.

Once again, my advice is to take action now so you're not responding to a new reality in an urgent environment. This is a case where you really can see the future.

And if you haven't done so already, please join us over at the National Society of IT Service Providers. We're looking at these things and preparing to take a stand on legislation that's inevitably coming down the road. Check us out at


*CISA is the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. See

** Risk Considerations for Managed Service Provider Customers. See


Monday, September 20, 2021

The ASCII Group Announces the Formation of MSP Security Committee

I received this press release from my friends over at ASCII . . .

The ASCII Group Announces the Formation of MSP Security Committee

Bethesda, Maryland – September 20, 2021 – The ASCII Group, a membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, VARs and Solution Providers, today announced the formation of its MSP Security Committee. The goal of the recently established Committee is to advise fellow ASCII members on a framework that MSPs can utilize to protect their business interests and that of their clients.

To start, the committee is publicly releasing initial guidance as it relates to what MSPs need to consider when vetting potential technical solutions ( Based on the objectives of this committee, all future guidance and resources will be provided openly to members within The ASCII Group community.

“With the security landscape rapidly changing, the formation of this Committee will help MSPs reduce their overall operational risk with the development of independent, best practices,” said Jerry Koutavas, President, The ASCII Group.

ASCII’s mission is to deliver to its members an environment where knowledge sharing and information exchange is ubiquitous. This initiative grew out of requests from the ASCII community at large given the ever-changing risks the industry faces as it pertains to security. The Committee will be comprised of 12 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) representing a variety of disciplines and markets throughout North America.

Please visit for more information on ASCII’s MSP IT community.

About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, VARs and solution providers. The Group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national and international reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more.  ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of leading and major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit 


Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Government is Telling Your Clients How to Select an MSP

The Government is Telling Your Clients How to Select an MSP


It's not all bad news. In fact, some things just fall into the category of, "It's done. Now, what you're going to do about it?" Here's what I mean.

The U.S. government has published a detailed nine-page report on how to find a good MSP. They've also published hundreds of pages of related advice, which could send some of your prospects down a major rabbit hole. There's nothing you can do about that.

But "that" isn't all bad news. You get to decide how to use this to focus your marketing and your sales approach.

Let's back up and look at the big, big picture.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has published a number of documents directly related to you and your clients. Start Here:

The specific document in question is, Risk Considerations for Managed Service Provider Customers. See (Published September 2021)

First thing to note: Your clients won't read this. Well, your small clients won't read this, and 90% of your medium-sized clients won't read this. How can I say that?

The document is filled with jargon. It's also filled with advice that makes clear that whoever wrote it has never worked in the SMB market. Example: The first "best practice" for small businesses is to establish "a supply chain risk council that includes executives from across the organization."

Second, the document assumes that keeping IT support and security support in-house is a reasonable option. It's not. If a business owner is balancing overall cost and security, there's no way the in-house option can win.

An in-house employee who is actually competent and up to date with network infrastructure, cloud services, and security cannot be had for under $60,000 plus tax and benefits in the US. So let's round that to about $75,000 all in. 

I'll bet (because I already know) that almost none of your clients are paying are paying you $75,000 per year for the labor component of managed services. With luck you have one or two. But not a lot of $75K+ clients.

So, thankfully, even if your clients found this document, they would see that the advice is not meant for them. Or - as is often the case - they will hand it to you and ask your opinion. 

But you cannot ignore this document or the larger efforts of CISA. These documents (an incomplete list is below) WILL be used by mid-market and enterprise organization. And they will be used by government agencies at all levels.

This matters for several reasons. First, the folks who will use these documents for guidance have large budgets. They can afford top notch hardware, software, and services. If they need a committee to determine the size of technology committee sizes, they'll just create one.

Second, and more importantly, it is extremely likely that these documents will influence future regulation and legislation. Once in use by larger businesses and government agencies of all sizes, they will become the "emerging norm" for choosing IT service providers and MSPs.

On top of that, the longer these docs are out there being referenced, the more they begin to affect actual standards.

Governments and larger organizations have a lot in common. Very often, decisions are made so someone can avoid being seen in the light of day. It's not that they're doing anything wrong. But avoiding controversy is associated with keeping your job. Implementing a government-approved standard feels safe.

Bottom Line: Don't Panic

Be aware that this is real and it's happening.

Download these docs. Read the one covering advice to your clients on hiring an MSP. At least browse through the rest.

And if you haven't done so already, please join us over at the National Society of IT Service Providers. We're looking at these things and preparing to take a stand on legislation that's inevitably coming down the road.

-- -- --

Other CISA publications worth your time:


Comments and feedback welcome.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Ignore Your Competition - Part 3: The Power of Differentiation

Ignore Your Competition

The previous posts in this series are here:

Part 1 -

and here:

Part 2 -

Part 3: The Power of Differentiation

There are a handful of things we do in business that people simply assume they must do. For many people, analyzing the competition is on that list. But I encourage you to ask WHY. Why would you analyze your competition? What do you have to gain from it? 

The only general reason I can think of is so you can be more like them. And that only makes sense if they are doing significantly better than you. At last, we might have a legit reason to spend energy on the competition rather than your clients. 

But wait. If someone's doing so much better than you that you want to emulate them, don't you already know what to do? After all, they've got a great marketing process, a great sales process, great products and services, great employees, and a killer cloud offering. Right? 

So what you need to do is make sure you've got all those things. 

But please note: You don't want to be just like them. That path leads to only one place - being second best to the company you're trying to copy. In other words, you'll be a bad copy of them. Not quite as good. Not quite as successful. Not quite as profitable.

Let's take a step back. Remember, there are no secrets in success. Everyone knows what they need to do. And that means that you know what you need to do. Now you just need to go do it. Copying your competition won't help.

Ultimately, you have to find something different to do. I don't mean an alternative to cloud services, security, and strategic planning. If you're in the IT business, that's essentially the job. I mean finding a different way to Be You in this industry.

What makes you stand out? 

Please don't give me the easy BS that everyone puts on their web site. It's not your technical prowess or your extreme customer service. Everyone says that. What is it really? What makes you you?

When I teach SOPs (standard operating procedures) or marketing, I always come back to this simple truth: Your brand is not your logo or your color scheme. Your brand is everything you do. Your brand is the way you show up to client meetings. It's your processes and procedures. It's how you invoice and how you pay your employees. It's how you execute a first client project. It's how you deliver consistency and consistently good support.

How do you do that? I'll bet you don't know. 

You have something that makes you different and got you where you are today. You need to boil that down and put it on paper. You need to focus on your brand. The process of figuring that out will require you to set aside many assumptions. Examine every single thing you do. Don't say, "It can't be our billing process." Or, "It can't be our offering." Examine everything.

Hidden somewhere among all your processes and procedures, there's a golden nugget. What is it that truly, honestly, makes your company different? Put your energy into finding that. You will probably get a lot of help from your clients. After all, they can see what makes you different more clearly than you can.

In all of this, I encourage you to be completely open. Tell everyone what you're up to. You want to find what makes you different so you can take that out in the marketplace and find more people who want to do business your way.

And here's an interesting twist: Don't worry that your competition will copy you. First, no one's paying attention to you. Sorry for the ego stomp. But it's true. Second, your competition will not copy you. They're too busy and they're not following you either.

So relax and go figure out who you are.

I know you've heard many presentations encouraging you to find your USP - Unique selling proposition. You obviously can't be unique if you copy someone else. You are unique simply because you ARE unique. The real job is defining it and declaring it. 

The job is not to BE unique (your already are). The job is to find your uniqueness so you can build your marketing around it. You've probably read a lot of business histories. Whether it's Spanx, Henry Ford, or a hundred others, differentiation did not come from examining the competition. In all cases, successful business people created something that they thought was missing, or something they thought people needed. 

The new thing was rarely new technology. It was either a change that filled a void, or it was a process that delivered goods and services in a new way. On rare occasions, it was a price point. In most cases, the new thing started when someone noticed that some thing could be improved. Very often, it addressed a dissatisfaction on the part of the buyer.

A great example is CarMax. They saw that people hated car shopping because they felt like the entire industry was built around ripping off the customer and sticking them with a car they paid too much for. So they restructured the process. First, they eliminated the information gap and displayed car inspection details and the Kelly Blue Book price of every vehicle on the vehicle. Second, they eliminated all motivations for sales people to upsell the buyer. Sales people get paid per sale, no matter the dollar amount. And, third, they offered a remarkable five day, no-limit return policy. So they eliminated the fear of buyer's remorse.

In all that, CarMax didn't change much about car buying. You need to poke around. You need to test drive. You need to get financing. They couldn't change most things. But in changing a few things, they created a totally new experience for the buyer.

Unfortunately, our industry is old enough to have plenty of bad habits. I sometimes worry that clients look at us like the car industry and find too many similarities. But my clients always paid me happily because they were always well served. What do you do right and different that stands out?

That question - because it's so client-focused - is worth spending a lot of energy on.


Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Ignore Your Competition - Part 2: The Myth of Scarcity

Read Part 1 here:

Do you believe in scarcity? It's not what you think!

In the first installment in this series, I made the case that your competition is irrelevant. And it's certainly the case that spending massive effort studying your competition is a waste of time. 

Now let's turn to one of the great business myths that leads people down the road of wasting time thinking about their competition. If you're a technology consultant, there is no scarcity of clients, no scarcity of work, and no scarcity of money. There might be a scarcity of self-confidence or ambition. But studying your competition won't help with those problems. 

Why are people tempted to pay attention to the competition? What are the supposed benefits of knowing about your competition? The answer might surprise you: We study our competition so we can charge less money and make less money.

Ooops. That can't be right. We study our competition so we can second-guess what we're doing. We find out what they're charging, and we make sure we're not charging too much. In other words, we study our competition so we can charge less money and make less money.

Oops, I did it again. Let's try one more time. We study our competition so we can understand the market, make sure we're doing at least what others are doing and not charging too much or too little. We place ourselves right in the middle of the bell curve. And thus, quite realistically, we study our competition so we can charge less money and make less money.

No matter how you slice it, focusing on your competition tends to make you more mediocre (the definition of the middle of the bell curve) and less expensive. You don't start out trying to make less money, but it's almost always the outcome from putting attention on the competition. 

Last time, I argued that competition doesn't mean what you think and really amounts to a tiny fraction of people in your industry that you can't really study anyway. Today, let's talk about the greatest threat to your future success: The Myth of Scarcity.

The Myth of Scarcity

The concept of competition assumes winners and losers. In other words, it assumes we're playing a zero-sum game (When one company gets a dollar, some other company gets one dollar less). This is what they call a mentality of scarcity.

The reality is that the technology industry is an ever-expanding universe. Most people start with fixing PCs, setting up computers, and then figuring out networks. They expand to specialize in something. It might be servers, cloud services, or emerging technology.

If you look at what the average "computer consultant" did and sold in the 1990's, it seems like a completely different business. That's because it is. Business people were less technical; technical people were less business-oriented. The same story holds through the 2000's and 2010's. We're always taking on new challenges and new technologies.

No one can resist the ever-changing nature of technology. If we're not selling the new stuff (yet), we're having to integrate it or make old technology work with it. On top of that, new businesses come into existence every day. They need technology. And many businesses grow in order to survive. So, again, they need more and more technology.

I've seen wave after wave of people retire from this business for the same reason. I'll quote someone who said it perfectly to me in 2008 when I invited him to a seminar on cloud computing: "I'm not going to learn another generation of technology." Those words stuck with me as I watched one person after another retire or quit the business during the recession of 2009-2011. The recession was somewhere between an opportunity and an excuse. But the real reason was a reluctance to learn the next generation of technology.

And what is a "generation" of technology? It's not just the latest hardware, software, and operating system. A generation of technology is more about a significant shift in how things are done. It requires some re-schooling and re-tooling. 

Here are three secrets you need to remember. 1) Technology generations are constantly emerging, peaking, and fading. In other words, we're always in the midst of at least three great waves. One early, one middle, and one late in a technology generation. 2) Your only real "competition" is your own reluctance to learn the next generation of technology. If you don't embrace AI or machine learning, that's your decision. But when someone comes along and sells those things instead of you, you can't really call them your competition.

Finally, 3) There are no secrets. It will take you eight minutes to determine what people in your city charge for services. I argue that that information is irrelevant. But if you choose to act on it, that's on your again.

Why People Compete on Price

There's tremendous irony in this. For the most part, people compete on price because they don't have enough information. Or their prospects don't have enough information. I think this is ironic because the concept of studying your competition is intended to give you more information. But, to the extent anyone actually does the research, they stop at the price.

We know for a fact that buyers don't buy on price. Research tends to show two things. First, only a small percentage (under 20%) of buyers buy on price. Second, when asked to rank the factors that influence buying, price is normally third on the list. Quality products and services always outrank price.

But when we choose to compete, price somehow bubbles to the top. This might be simple laziness, but people don't try to figure out how to compete by focusing on the things that matter most - quality and service.

When in doubt, ask your clients. Why do you do business with us? Unless you have a large collection of cheap, unsuccessful businesses as clients, you'll find that price not going to be a common response. You already know this! People do business with you because they like you; they like your company; they like your service; you take care of them; you have a great way of providing quality service.

Price is a factor, but it's not the factor.

Again, there are no secrets. But here's the open secret about running a business: It costs money. It costs money for supplies. It costs money for employees. It costs money to advertise. It costs money for rent. It costs money to have technical support. Would it be nice if everything cost just a little less? Yes, of course.

But look at your own spending. Is your accountant the cheapest in town? Your attorney? Your insurance rep? Your landlord? Your janitorial service? Your car? etc. etc. In all cases, you would probably answer the same for all of these: "I have no idea, but I doubt it." In other words, YOU don't buy on price. So why would you spend energy worrying about whether your clients spend on price?

The more you focus on "competition," the more you will focus on price. It's inevitable because it's an easy, visible thing that we all agree on. We know the value of a dollar. We don't know how to quantify the value of a positive customer service experience.

If there's any scarcity in our industry, it's a scarcity of skilled talent. You are paying more and more for good technicians than ever. And there's always a scarcity of the next generation of technical talent. Today there is great scarcity for people who are really good at Microsoft 365, security, and higher-end programming. We literally need millions more people in these fields than we have today.

In my book, The Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery, I tell the story of mowing lawns for five dollars an hours when I was a kid. I rode my bike and didn't have a lawn mower. So I rode to the other side of town (literally up hill) to where people had money. I brought hard work. They provided the tools. And they paid me. 

I didn't know that the minimum wage was $1.60/hour back then. Apparently, neither did my clients. But I was willing to work for $5.00/hour and they were willing to pay me that. Everyone was happy.

I love the phrase, "You be you" for a number of reasons. But I really love it when it comes to business. I firmly believe that you need to create a business that operates exactly the way you want, and then go find people who will do business that way. As I said last time, you only need to get one more client. And then one more. And then one more.

With hundreds of millions of businesses all over the world, there's zero scarcity when all you need is one more client.

-- -- --

Next in the series: The Power of Differentiation

Read Part 3 here


Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Super-Charge Your Social Media Marketing - All New Class Starts Sept. 14th

Super-Charge Your Social Media Marketing – 5W25

All new class starts September 14th!

Taught By: Karl W. Palachuk

Five Tuesdays - 9:00 AM

September 14, 2021 - October 12, 2021 - Register Now!

Part of the "Social Media Super-Charge" Series for Small Business

This course is designed to help you "put it all together" and complete your social media strategy with the most powerful tools at your disposal. While most people approach Twitter, blogging, and podcasting as basic, mundane marketing tools, they are second only to Your Newsletter in positioning yourself as an expert in your field. We'll look at all of these.

This course shows you how to maximize these tools and wrap them into an overall strategy for marketing and sales. But the real juicy goodness is a strategy for creating a magnifying effect across all your marketing. No matter which tools you focus on in this series, the "Super-Charge" takes place with a combination of automated and manual rebroadcast mechanisms. We provide you a detailed process for creating this echo effect. In fact, we literally give you the checklist to make it happen.

Most small businesses "use" social media, but don't really have a strategy for using social media effectively. That strategy starts with understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various platforms. And it culminates with a unified approach to branding and how your company presents itself across a variety of platforms.

This course is taught by Karl W. Palachuk, a social media influencer who "touches" over one million people per month. Karl has been using these social media for more than ten years, and has demonstrated mastery across all of the major social media that small businesses need to be successful.

Here are the specifics of what you'll learn, week by week:

Module 1: Twitter - Setup

  • Broadcast, Aggregate, Participate
  • Following and Followers
  • The Mighty #Hashtag
  • Setup, Bio, Profile
  • Graphics and Branding
  • Types of Posts
  • Special uses
  • Twitter in the Big Strategy

Module 2: Blogging

  • Why Blog?
  • Best Advice to Ignore
  • Finding Your Voice
  • WordPress, Blogger, or Another Option
  • Design, Graphics, and Branding
  • Timing
  • Tips and Tricks for Ideas and Consistency
  • Blogging a Book; Booking a1 Blog
  • Blogging in the Big Strategy


Module 3: Podcasting

  • Why Podcast?
  • The Challenges of Podcasting: Stats and Distribution
  • Planning
  • Your Theme
  • Your Voice
  • Frequency
  • Length
  • Format
  • Hardware and Software
  • Posting and Syndication
  • Podcasting in the Big Strategy

Module 4: Email Marketing and Newsletters

  • The Greatest Marketing Asset You’ll Ever Build
  • List Overview
  • Legal Requirements
  • Picking a Platform
  • Design, Graphics, and Branding
  • Planning
  • Your Theme
  • Your Voice
  • Frequency
  • Length
  • Format
  • Email Marketing in the Big Strategy


Module 5: Super Charge: The Magnifying Effect

  • Pick Your Social Media
  • Your Primary Site – Web or Blog
  • Building that Strategy!
  • Connecting Social Media
  • Super Tools
  • Respecting Intellectual Property in Social Media
  • Build Your Echo Chamber
  • Engaging Your Human Network
  • Executing the Big Strategy

-- -- --

Delivered by Karl W. Palachuk, blogger and author of the very popular Relax Focus Succeed blog at

Includes five weeks of webinars with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor. All classes are recorded for download. All classes include suggested "homework" that is totally action-focused and intended to move your company's marketing forward.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for Sales Managers and Marketing Managers.


Sunday, September 05, 2021

Ignore Your Competition - Not Your Clients. Part 1

Among the things that gets me in an argument from time to time is my commitment that you can absolutely ignore your competition if you are in small business.

Before anyone gets picky about what constitutes a small business, please note that almost every business is a small business. Ninety percent (90%) of all businesses have twenty or fewer employees. Fifty employees gets you to the 95th percentile and a hundred employees puts you in the 98th percentile. So, if you're reading this, you probably run a small business.*

A lot of business advice is completely focused on big business. This includes the somewhat-generic advice that you should do extensive research on your competition. This includes both specific companies and the industry as a whole. That advice might be good for the five percent, but it's bad advice for the 95%.

Personally, I think it's bad advice for large businesses, but I know for a fact that it's bad advice for small businesses. There are several reasons for this.

Perhaps the most important reason is this: "Competition" doesn't mean what you think. Many people assume that competition simply means everyone who's in your business. But that can't be true. There are people in IT consulting all over the world. Do you think they affect you and your clients? 

So, let's narrow down the discussion to those in your town. But you can't even name all the people in IT consulting in your town. I can't tell you how many times I've met someone at a conference thousands of miles away from home and found out that they are SMB IT consultants in Sacramento, CA. And I run the local IT user group!

Okay, it's not everyone in your industry and it's not people in your industry who are in your city. Is it companies you go up against for bids/jobs? Yes, you can count those people as your competition. And then there's the slim  chance that someone is actually trying to poach your existing clients. You can count them as well.

In my experience (which goes back twenty-six years, several hundred clients, and three consulting companies), this group of "competitors" is microscopic. On one hand, I have participated in perhaps two competitive bid situations per year. On the other hand, I've hand maybe three poaching attempts ever.

These things exist. But I hope you see it's an absolute waste of time and energy to pay attention to these folks. You certainly should not study them, find out what they charge, analyze their offering, and spend thousands of dollars gathering detailed information about them. What would be the point? You cannot build a business based the behavior of these few companies. Besides, would you even do that? 

What's the Point of Analyzing the Competition?

What do people mean when they say to analyze the competition? Generally (and this comes from the world of very big business), they mean that you thoroughly analyze the market; know how many potential clients there are; understand everyone who operates in your space; and find out exactly how much everyone is charging for everything.

Holy smokes, Batman. What a waste of time. First, almost all of that information is unknowable. By the time you finish this massive project, twenty percent of the businesses in your geographic location will have gone out of business, and the other seventy-five percent will have grown, shrunk, or morphed into something else. The best you can hope for is a snapshot of what the market was like a year ago. And how will that change your behavior?

Second, you don't need to take over the world. You need ONE new client. One new job. One new project. Go get that. And for that one job, the economy is irrelevant, the market is irrelevant, and your "competition" is irrelevant. You just need one new client. And when you have that client, you need to go get just one more. Rinse, repeat.

Third, and we'll come back to this, if you copy your competition, the best you can hope for is to be just a little bit behind them. In other words, you'll be a bad copy of them. Not quite as good. Not quite as successful. Not quite as profitable.

Is that the benefit you hope to gain from studying your competition? You want to be an awesome second place?

Instead of wasting energy thinking about the competition, spend your time improving your business. How can you give greater value? How can you serve clients well? How can you be more productive and more profitable? Take all that attention you were giving to the competition and give it to your clients instead.

Here's the good news: It's probably the case that you actually haven't wasted your time studying your competition. It's a big, difficult undertaking. So now you can take my advice and stop worrying about it. Whenever you're tempted to worry about what your competition is doing or what they're charging, you simply move on and think about something else. In fact, you can intentionally set a trigger for yourself: Whenever the topic of competition comes up, you can use that as a reminder to think about how to improve your clients' experience!

Stay tuned. In the next installment, I'm going to talk about the greatest myth around competition.

-- -- -- 

* On business stats, see this spreadsheet:

Note: If you don't know how to read this kind of data, don't argue with me. I simply won't engage.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Is It Okay that only 39% of your employees fully engage at work?

In case you missed it live, please do yourself a favor and check out the Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity presentation from ChannelCon 2021.

Of course you should watch everything ever done by CompTIA, but let's be realistic. If you want to boil it down to advice that will help your company move faster and make more money, then you need to zoom into the best bits of advice. :-)

I'm here for you. This links goes right to the beginning of the ATTD presentation:

Are Employees "Covering"?

This was a new concept for me. It makes sense, and I kind of knew it was going on, but I didn't know it was a formal thing with a name. Covering refers to hiding parts of yourself so you feel you can fit in at work. This includes assimilating with established norms.

This behavior is particularly common for entry-level employees. They want to fit in and get ahead. So breaking norms is generally not part of their strategy for success. Over time, it becomes harder and harder to break out of the norms.

Hence the concept of "Bringing your whole self to work." When we hide pieces of who we are, we literally don't bring our full collection of talents to the job.

This can be as simple as the hobbies and interests of the leaders. Many of us are not sportsball fans, so we either opt out of those conversations with the "in" crowd, or try to pretend that we are interested. But covering is also very common regarding topics of gender, race, and even age.

Overall, this is an interesting topic that gets back to the concept of increasing diversity by creating a work environment that enables and welcomes diversity. 

Give it a listen. Comments welcome.

CompTIA's Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community

For more information, and to get involved, visit

Full disclosure: I sit on the Executive Council for this community.


Monday, August 16, 2021

D&H Distributing Expands its Portfolio Through a New Agreement with Jabra

I received this note over the transom today . . .


For Immediate Release:


— New Alliance Elevates D&H’s Collaboration Portfolio with Unified Communications Audio & Video Conferencing Solutions, Fostering Seamless Collaboration for Remote, Mobile, and Hybrid Workplaces —

HARRISBURG, PA – August 16, 2021 – Major SMB and mid-market technology provider D&H Distributing announces it has signed an agreement to carry solutions from Jabra, an industry-leading provider of audio, video, and collaboration solutions for the modern workplace. This alliance expands D&H’s Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) portfolio of integrated business solutions for channel partners. The agreement also encompasses PanaCast, Jabra’s line of video collaboration solutions. This covers innovations like the PanaCast 50 intelligent video bar, which combines top-flight audio with a panoramic 4K camera to help companies seamlessly navigate the hybrid workplace. 

To support this area of growth, D&H has also extended its popular “Success Path” strategy to address the UCC category. This initiative (first introduced as “Success Path to Cloud”) provides resources and tools to help solution providers enter new areas of opportunity in the post-pandemic market. It includes a Success Path to Unified Communications webinar series to help educate partners on how to launch and optimize a UCaaS practice, or unified communications-as-a-service. Partners can visit D&H’s unified communications page, part of its resource center for information and access to the webcast series.

Equipping the Hybrid Conference Space

The ability to offer cutting-edge UCC hardware, collaboration solutions, and services will help D&H partners address one of the newest opportunities of the modern workplace:  The hybrid meeting space. MSPs are being called upon to retrofit or enhance conference rooms and huddle areas to accommodate a mix of on-site and remote attendees. D&H’s team of Solutions Experts have deep experience in end-to-end UCC and ProAV deployments and can apply a comprehensive menu of Professional Services to help ensure the success of these upgrades. 

“Jabra believes in reinforcing long-term relationships with premium partners who continually provide a high-quality experience to our customers,” said Cheryle Walline, Head of Channel Sales and Distributions NA at Jabra. “D&H embodies this ideal. They have successfully sold our consumer line of products for over ten years and now expand their portfolios to include our business enterprise solutions. We embrace this expanded relationship and look forward to many more years of mutual success.”

“The hybrid conference room is becoming a necessity of the new workplace,” said Jason Bystrak, D&H’s vice president of cloud and services. “D&H has developed a level of XaaS expertise that can integrate Jabra’s high-performance, versatile unified communications solutions to maintain seamless collaboration for these new projects. As the workforce becomes more fluid, filtering back and forth between locations, organizations need intelligent solutions that will accommodate this dynamic. Industry pioneers like Jabra help make the transition successful.”   

D&H solution providers can visit, or visit the distributor’s Facebook and Twitter feeds: and @dandh. Call 800-877-1200 to speak to an account representative. 

About D&H Distributing 

D&H Distributing supports resellers and MSP partners in the corporate, small-to-midsize business, consumer, education, and government markets with endpoints and advanced technologies, as well as differentiated services. D&H is ready to fill new market needs created by the recent consolidation in the marketplace. As the company enters its 104th year, its vendors and partners can be confident in its ability to provide a wealth of enablement resources, multi-market expertise, credit options, and consultative services. D&H is agile in response to the needs of its VAR and MSP partners, demonstrating resilience through decades of industry mergers and market disruption, overcoming everything from wars and recessions to pandemics. 

The company works to expand the competencies of its partners in areas such as cloud services, ProAV, collaboration, UCC, mobility, esports, digital displays, smart home automation, video surveillance, digital imaging, and server networks across a range of markets. Its value proposition includes highly lauded training opportunities and partner engagement events, dedicated Solutions Specialists, certifications, professional marketing resources, and an expanding digital Cloud Marketplace. 

The distributor is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, in the U.S. and Brampton, Ontario, in Canada with warehouses in Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Fresno, CA; and Vancouver, BC, Canada. Call D&H at (800) 877-1200, visit, or follow the distributor’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and @dandh.

About Jabra 

Jabra is a world leading brand in audio, video, and collaboration solutions – engineered to empower consumers and businesses. Proudly part of the GN Group, we are committed to letting people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. Jabra engineering excellence leads the way, building on 150 years of pioneering work within the GN Group. This allows us to create integrated tools for contact centers, offices, and collaboration that help professionals work more productively from anywhere; and true wireless headphones and earbuds that let consumers better enjoy calls, music, and media. The GN Group, founded in 1869, operates in 100 countries and delivers innovation, reliability, and ease of use. GN employs 6,500 people and in 2020 reported annual revenue of DKK 13.4bn. The Jabra brand accounts for approx. DKK 8.7bn and employs 1,900 people. GN makes life sound better and is Nasdaq Copenhagen listed. © 2021 GN Audio A/S. All rights reserved. Jabra® is a registered trademark of GN Audio A/S. All other trademarks included herein are the property of their respective owners (design and specifications are subject to change without notice).


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Apply NOW to Serve on the NSITSP Board of Directors or Committees

National Society of IT Service Providers - News and Updates

Note: We just sent out an email. If you’re not on the list or didn’t get it, you can see it here: 

(Note on the email list: We got several non-deliverable notices. I noticed that most were from Barracuda spam filters. Be sure to whitelist this list. We are working to get an account at Constant Contact. Stay tuned.)

From last week's email:

Thank you all once again for getting involved, volunteering, and attending meetings as we work to create this new membership association. We have lots of news regarding the organization, the Board, Committees, volunteering, and more. Please scan though this email. There are several calls to action.

Here’s what has happened since the last meeting:

– About fifty people have volunteered to serve at some level in the NSITSP.

– We have officially created a nonprofit 501(c)(6) corporation.

– The initial Board of Directors now has three members. This is not the final Board or final number of seats. We needed something to get the process moving. See notes below.

– We have set up a bank account, and merchant accounts, so we can take membership payments and donations. All of these are in the association name, made possible by donations from Board members.

Action Step: You can go now to the web site and officially JOIN or donate via credit card or PayPal. The official membership module will be live soon. In the meantime, anyone who donates $100 or more will be switched to "paid member" status once the module is in place.

I know there’s a lot here. But it takes a lot to get this rocket off the launchpad.

— — —

Board Update

The corporate Board of Directors was officially constituted on August 6th with members Amy Babinchak, Rayanne Buchianico, and Erick Simpson. This board will guide us through getting everything set up and holding elections for additional board members, and committee members.

The Board is in the process of drafting Mission and Vision statements for approval by the membership. They will also draft a code of ethics.

The Board has appointed Karl Palachuk as the Executive Director. Karl serves at the pleasure of the Board and will manage the day-to-day activities of running the organization.


The Board has created two membership levels. Additional levels and pricing may be determined at a later date. Note that the membership fee is low enough that there’s no excuse for that to be a deterrent. Right now, we need numbers.

Registered Member (Free)

– Self-designate as MSP, VAR, Vendor, Educator, Media, etc. 

– Can attend all Member meetings as a non-voting member 

– Listed in the Membership Directory 

– Cannot serve on Committees Cannot vote in National elections 

Professional Member (Annual Fee: $ 100)

– All the benefits of Registered Members, plus the following 

– Can access all “member content” on the web site, including Forums and downloads

– Can serve on Committees (limit one named person per paid membership) 

– Can vote for Committee positions and Board of Directors (limit one vote per paid membership) 

– Limit one paid membership per company. Other employees may be Registered members. Requires two letters of character from either a client or paid level member of NSITSP (initial year only)

– Can use the NSITSP Member Logo on web site, etc.

Committee Update

The Board has agreed to form the following committees immediately. This is certainly not the final list of committees. But just enough to get us started.

The Formation Committee will be the “Committee on Committees” although that name sounded a bit too meta. They will suggest an overall structure for the organization and the committees to be created going forward.

The Legislation Committee will create “ideal” draft legislation and begin the process of organizing lobbying efforts. They may also do some work on messaging. We’ll see how this evolves.

The Finance and Fundraising Committee will draft a budget to guide our activities. As we begin to have increased expenses, they will work on both determining appropriate costs and organize raising the money to pay for things. And, of course, they will provide ongoing oversight of how money is spent.

All committees will work in conjunction with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors. The Board is very clear, as an operating principle, that this organization will be community-based organization rather than a top-down organization. Which is to say, the goal is for the Board to approve and implement the desires of the Committees and Membership, not to simply have the Committees rubber-stamp Board decisions.

That requires engagement and commitment. So far, it looks like we’ll have that.

Applying to Serve on the Board of Directors

Action Steps: Visit to access FAQs and applications.

We have created this Board FAQ to give information about serving on the Board.

And we have created this Board Application form to formally apply to serve.

Everyone who filled out the Volunteer Form and expressed in interest in serving on the Board has been sent a link to the FAQ and application.

Applying to Serve on a National Committee

Action Steps: Visit to access FAQs and applications.

We have created this Committee FAQ to give information about serving on a Committee.

And we have created this Committee Application form to formally apply to serve.

Everyone who filled out the Volunteer Form and expressed in interest in serving on a committee has been sent a link to the FAQ and application.

Meeting Date and Time

One final thing: We need to figure out a meeting date/time that works for a lot of people. Clearly the Wednesday 9AM Pacific time slot has a lot of competition from webinars and other activities.

I’ve created this form to give feedback on your preferred times/dates for general membership meetings. Of course someone won’t always be able to make a specific time, but we need to start somewhere.

Action Step: 

Please give your feedback:

Thank you.

If you have questions or feedback, please email

Friday, August 06, 2021

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA – 5W11

IT Service Delivery in the 21st Century

Taught By: Manuel Palachuk

Five Tuesdays

August 10 - September 7 - Register Now

All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Everyone needs a PSA - Professional Services Automation tool. But in addition to simply having a PSA, you need to set it up correctly and use it wisely.

In this course, you will learn how to double your value to clients and increase your profit with these powerful golden rules of PSA Service Ticket Systems.

Coach Manuel focuses on the direct connection between your service delivery system, the value you give your clients, and your profit, and how to maximize each. He also gives an overview of Agile Service Delivery, an emerging method you must learn to stay competitive.

Whether you’re a one-person shop or have fifty employees, to be consistently profitable, you must have guidelines for how to break down the work in an organized fashion and how you will communicate with the client along the way.

You don’t have to be an MSP or even use a PSA to work efficiently and be profitable, but you do need a system and a method. These "golden" rules can be the seed for your own system if you have none, or you can adopt them in whole to enrich your existing methods. Either way, this is your opportunity to take your service delivery and your profits to the next level.

The course includes a thorough discussion of the unbreakable rules of service tickets as well as covering quality communication with every client. It will be time well spent!

Whether you're a new "Computer Consultant" or an experienced Managed Service Provider, you need to create successful processes that will propel your company forward. Nothing is more critical to making profit than having the right processes and procedures in place!

What you'll learn:

Week One: The Modern Automated Service Desk, ROI, & Model

Week Two: The Power of the Widget, Working in Real-time

Week Three: Service Delivery Automation Part 1)

Week Four: Service Delivery Automation Part 2)

Week Five: Reports & Metrics, Looking into the Future & Getting everyone onboard

-- -- --

Delivered by Manuel Palachuk, author and business coach.

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Service Manager or Operations Manager.

Only $299

Register Now


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

CoreDial Names Jason Harper Chief Technology Officer

Received this notice under the door . . .

-- -- --

Accomplished Engineering and Business Leader Will Oversee the Cloud Communications Provider’s Product Management, Software Development and Cloud Services Teams

BLUE BELL, PA — (July 21, 2021) — CoreDial, LLC, a leading provider of cloud communications, video collaboration, and contact center solutions, announced that Jason Harper has been appointed the company’s Chief Technology Officer. In this capacity, he will lead CoreDial’s product management, software development, and cloud services teams to accelerate the company’s growth trajectory as well as its ongoing mission to be the best at enabling the channel to succeed with cloud communications. 

Harper brings a wealth of communications technology expertise and business acumen to CoreDial, including extensive UCaaS and SaaS experience. He is known for creating and implementing communications and analytics solutions that are widely used in both business and consumer settings. Prior to joining CoreDial, Harper served as Vice President of Engineering at GameChanger Media, an independent subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods. In this capacity, he was responsible for developing software, mobile apps, and analytics solutions that are utilized by hundreds of thousands of youth sports teams across the United States.

Before that, Harper was Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering at Vidyo, directing the development of video collaboration services and related networking products. He also served in executive capacities with ShoreTel, managing the softswitch, contact center and billing and OSS operations groups. Along with his development and management roles, Harper is a proven innovator, holding several U.S. patents for bandwidth management and network performance. 

“I’m excited to have Jason join our team here at CoreDial,” said Alan Rihm, CoreDial’s CEO. “He brings with him strong leadership and culture building skills, and I’m confident he will inspire our technology team's continued success as we accelerate our growth in 2021 and beyond. Jason has very relevant subject matter expertise in the cloud communications space, as well as a proven track record of both B2B and consumer software innovation. His background and experience will help us to meet and exceed company product and service objectives going forward, and his leadership style is one that I expect will help us to attract and retain the best product, software, and cloud services talent possible. The team and I couldn’t be more excited about Jason joining us on this journey.”

Harper joins CoreDial on the heels of launching CoreNexa 7.0, its all-in-one voice, video, messaging, and collaboration solution. Designed to unleash the power of the modern workforce, CoreNexa 7.0 enables channel partners to offer a single and highly competitive solution that satisfies the full spectrum of business communications and collaboration needs for businesses of all sizes, verticals, and across in-office, hybrid or fully remote environments. The platform combines reliable HD video, meetings, messaging, virtual room and standout collaboration features with CoreDial’s proven voice and cloud communications services, giving organizations a single solution that meets the next-gen needs of the post-pandemic business landscape.

“I’m delighted to join Alan and his talented team and contribute to the success of the organization,” said Harper. “With the launch of CoreNexa 7.0, it’s an exciting time for CoreDial as a company. I look forward to helping the team innovate and grow the solution even further, and develop new solutions to help our partners maintain a competitive advantage with cloud communications.”

About CoreDial

CoreDial is a leading provider of high-quality and scalable cloud communications, contact center, and video collaboration to more than 32,000 businesses. The company’s solutions are quickly and easily auto-provisioned through its CoreNexa™ platform, which seamlessly integrates with other essential business applications. For small- to medium-size businesses and larger enterprises, CoreDial offers comprehensive, cost-effective, and future-proof communications solutions customers demand. Backed by an industry-leading 99.999% SLA and supported locally by 850+ trained partners, CoreNexa is uniquely positioned to help businesses unleash the power of the modern workforce.