In today’s post, Paul Azad, the founder of ServiceTree talks about the software stack. And specifically, the main elements of our software stack that we use in an MSP.
The reason I want to cover this is that I get an opportunity to speak to a lot of MSPs on a really regular basis. And what I find fascinating is the reasoning behind some of the decisions an MSP makes, as to which software they use in their stack. Now, when it comes to an item, such as the RMM, or PSA, a lot of MSPs have got a really strong sense of what they’re using and why they’re using it. And it could be for a fundamental reason, for more superficial reasons, or maybe a discount that they received when they actually started to use the item.
Now, I am somebody that definitely likes to keep in touch with the industry. And, I do spend quite a bit of time on different forums, public and some private ones to sort of understand and be able to ensure that when I speak to customers and prospects and just a general industry, that I’m able to have a wide eye coming into it. I feel quite often people that get to share their knowledge with others, sometimes are very specific in what they distribute and what they know.
It comes because they’ve actually been very blink, or they’ve had their blinkers on as to what they actually come across. And therefore, what the way they see the world.
I remember reading somewhere a few years ago that somebody said that every human has blinkers on. And it’s really up to us to be aware when we got our blinkers on and to maybe open those blinkers so that we can actually see past our direct, straight line of vision.
Now, how does this sort of connect to PSAs? For those that don’t know, when we first launched ServiceTree, we originally launched it as a PSA. And we decided to pivot and make it into a plug-in for Connect Wise and only tasks because we kept hearing the same message over and over again. And that message was – well, we’re not going to change our PSA – Now you want to notice most of my podcasts, if not all of them, I really, very rarely talk about ServiceTree. And the reason for that is I’ve been an MSP for 20-odd years, and I have a lot more knowledge than just that specific software that we built. And it’s really interesting when I get to speak to MSPs that have been in this space for not as long as me, and maybe even those that have been around for longer. But you always get a very different perspective of how you do things and why you do them.
Why do so many MSPs don’t change their PSA?
Now, the gain to the PSA space, it’s something that’s really a hard one I suppose for me to understand and that could be just because of my personality type, but a lot of MSPs will not consider changing their PSA.
Now, I’m not gonna say which PSA is good, which one’s not good, or what’s right or wrong. That’s definitely not for this conversation. But what is for this conversation for this podcast is the reason that MSPs don’t change their PSA.
I spoke to a customer a few months ago and I was trying to understand because they were so connected to their PSA, and I won’t mention which one it is because, in all honesty, it’s irrelevant. And she would not consider changing it. And I’m like, why not? What was the reasoning? They had all these shortcomings in what they were doing and how they were doing it. And it really was affecting their bottom line. So for me, I thought, well, that’s a pretty obvious one. I mean, if the software application you’re using is going to be limiting what you can do, why would you not consider changing it? I went back and forth a few times in this conversation. And I remember saying to the lady – what’s keeping you with this? What is it? – Because it seems like you’ve got this really strong connection on changing, even though it’s not the right tool, or you don’t perceive it as the right tool – I said, and we kept talking for a bit and I said, which it might sound a bit strange – Am I sensing that the reason why you’re not going to change your PSA is because of all the time, the energy, the blood, sweat, and tears, the time, the money you’ve put in to set up the PSA the way it is. – And she didn’t answer straight away. And I recall very clearly, it was like it was just yesterday.
You don’t understand how much time we spent on this
It took her a few seconds, and she said – That’s exactly it – She said – You don’t understand how much time we spent, how many nights I went to bed thinking about it and crying about how painful it was to set it up and how it was just not working the way we needed it. And the word was need not want.
My response was – So, what you’re saying is that if you were to change your tool, what you’re really doing is you’re crystallizing that wasted time, that wasted money, going back to the blood, sweat, and tears that you spent on it. And she said – Yes, it sounds really stupid. But yes.
Now, the first I heard it, was like – Oh my gosh, is that real? – But the more I thought about it, the more I actually understood what she meant. It’s no different to, for example, if you buy a property, and you might have bought it at the wrong time and the market drops, until you actually sell the property, you actually haven’t crystallized that loss. The market might have dropped 10%. And yes, your property is worth 10% less than it was, maybe when you bought it, but it’s only worth 10% less if you sell it now. So you could keep that property, and then it comes out the other side, and the market increases again. And guess what that loss was never crystallized. And therefore it wasn’t, it was never a loss, it was again.
The psychological connection to the PSA is powerful
The same thing with that. That really taught me something that, in all these years, I have never experienced. I was never able to understand how that psychological connection she had was very powerful. And it was really to the point of it being quite a big impact on their business. The amount of money and the time that the business owner spent trying to do things because their PSA didn’t, was really retirement tensive.
Now, that sort of conversation happened maybe between three and six months ago. But similar conversations have come up since. And I recall, it was only a few weeks ago, I was speaking to someone else in the industry and we’re talking about this exact same thing. And, the other person in the industry was saying to me that they were really fascinated by how people hate their PSA. But yet they will continue to use it. She said – I don’t get it. If you hate something so much, why would you continue using it? And it was funny because I just had this conversation 24 hours earlier with another organization in this space. And I recall saying something that when I recall saying this, and the first time I said it, I thought maybe it didn’t come across, right. But the second person that I said it to was female, and she took it as not being sexist.
And what I actually said was, it’s like adults that are married. When sometimes a guy’s married to their wife, They don’t want to leave their wife, they love their wife, but they just want a girlfriend that is better. They want a new person, a new girlfriend that does the other stuff that the wife doesn’t do. That maybe got a better UI, it’s quicker than their wife, It’s faster, etc. But they can’t leave their wife, because they’ve got so much invested in their wife, and generally with a wife going to be kids involved in other things like that. So they’re not ready to forklift their wife out of their life. And guess what? That’s exactly what happened with the PSA. And when you think about it, that’s very, very similar to the reasoning that most MSPs don’t change their PSA. Because it’s the same thing, they really want a new tool that does all this funky new stuff that maybe the existing one doesn’t do, but they’re not ready to forklift it out. And more so when you think of a smaller PSA, a smaller MSP.
Now, they’ve even got a different twist to the same thing. When it comes to a smaller MSP, they don’t like commitment, so they change their PSA every 12 months, they don’t want to be in a contract. And it’s always the PSA, that is the issue. It’s never them. It’s never that organization. They all expect the next PSA to be the silver bullet that fixes everything, it’s the best PSA, it does everything they want, it was cheaper, and is better. And the organization that has created this PSA, listens to all these stupid ideas. I can honestly say when we’re selling services, a PSA, we had a lot of small MSPs come like that they wanted some of the functionality that they wanted. I said – This is not functionality you need in your PSA, this is how you need your people to be working, not your PSA.
Back to the small MSP, it’s declined the wife. But the reason why, like those, they aren’t committed to their PSA, that aren’t committed to their girlfriend (never becomes a wife), they’re always looking for the next girlfriend that’s going to be better than always gonna look for the next thing that is better, they never accept what it is. And to be honest, a lot of the time it is them, not their girlfriend or wife, and the case with MSP a lot of times it is actually their business and how they run it. That’s a problem, not the PSA.
Every PSA out there is going to have good things and bad elements to it. But at the end of the day, the chances are that these tools are actually doing a lot better than a lot of the small MSPs believe they are because the small MSPs need to make those business decisions to make their business better. But unfortunately, they don’t and I see it quite often.
The importance of speaking to other MSPs and collaborating
I was speaking to an MSP about three days ago because he was looking at our tool. I spent 510 minutes talking to this guy, that was a really nice guy. And I said – Listen, our product is not right for you. You really need to make some business decisions – Because I was asking about his business and how he was doing what he was doing. I give this guy a lot of credit because he actually came out about 1520 minutes later and said – Listen, I’ve never thought of my business that way, I knew that I had some areas that I need to work on and improve. But no one had actually been that blunt about how you can do better – Even now, I don’t know how many staff he’s got, I don’t know how many endpoints he’s got, etc. But it was very evident, by the way, he was talking, as he wasn’t actually sure what he needed to do. He just knew he needed to change. Hence why I give him credit for that.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get a sense of what other MSPs are doing in this space. Therefore, I definitely think speaking to other MSPs and collaborating, either online forums or in person is a great way to open up your business knowledge.
As I mentioned before, I’ve had a business coach for many years. And the advantage of my business coach is he’s not an MSP. He’s never been an MSP. So he’s able to continuously give me outside insight into what we do and how we do it.