AZURE, CISCO, INTERNET OF THINGS—building out offerings around these technologies and other emerging markets requires a level of expertise that goes beyond traditional managed services, and an investment in time and resources that is not practical for small MSPs like MiradorIT. By partnering with experts, however, we’ve been able to break into new technology, expand our portfolio, gain customers and prospects, and fuel consistent growth of 30-40% year over year.
MiradorIT has a clear vision of our business and how we serve customers. To create a win-win relationship, our partners must have a similar mission and values. Here’s what we look for in a partner:
- They have a high-quality product or a service that we need.
- They share our customer-first philosophy and offer white-glove service.
- There is synergy between the business leaders.
- There is a level of trust that enables us to share financial information such as project costs and margins.
In the IoT space, for instance, some projects require construction skills and tools that are beyond our wheelhouse, along with construction licensing in certain states. At the same time, the IP-based devices need to be programmed, secured on the network, and in many cases integrated with Active Directory—traditional IT skills that we bring to the table.
In addition to upselling into our existing customer base, we have both gained net-new customers. For MiradorIT, the ability to offer IoT solutions has increased the size of our projects too, from an average of $10,000 to $15,000 to $40,000 to $50,000.
Another opportunistic partnership is with a local copier company in Concord, N.H. In the past, when customers asked us for printer recommendations we’d send them links to products from Staples or Best Buy, but now we are able to ensure they get high-quality multifunction printers through a local company that provides excellent customer service. And we’ve both grown our prospect and customer base by sharing referrals.
Working with ASCII Group Peers
Our membership in The ASCII Group has also opened doors to some important partnerships. For example, one of MiradorIT’s vertical focuses is law enforcement, and some of the larger organizations have Cisco equipment. Since we did not have the resources and skill level to support a Cisco environment, we never competed for these larger customers until we partnered with South Carolina-based Columbia Communications. With Columbia’s advanced network engineering and support, we now confidently sell into Cisco environments.
Another key partnership is with ASCII member Net Sciences in Albuquerque, N.M., which has enabled us to move into advanced cybersecurity by offering high-availability SonicWall deployments.
Our newest foray, Microsoft Azure-based services, is through a partnership with Noverus Innovations, based in Roseville, Calif. While MiradorIT has been migrating customers to Microsoft 365 for email and SharePoint, we know that is just scratching the surface of cloud capabilities, and in particular Azure. We had an opportunity with a customer who wanted to put servers in the cloud, so we engaged with Noverus to train our staff on some Azure basics and have continued the partnership to help with architecting prospective projects.
With traditional IT services becoming increasingly commoditized, the ability to move into emerging markets like Azure and IoT is critical. If your approach is to do so through partners, choose them wisely and start small. And sever ties at the first sign of any customer dissatisfaction, because your business is at stake.
Thanks to our careful cultivation of strategic partnerships, MiradorIT has not only grown the business but positioned itself for success in the future as well.
Photography: Kevin Harkins