- Company: Dataprise
- Year Founded: 1995
- Headquartered: Rockville, Maryland
- Geographic Market: Nationwide but predominantly focused in the mid-Atlantic region
- Top Growth Indicator: Revenue
- YoY % Of Growth: 40% in 2020
- CEO And Founder: David Eisner, founder, and Stephen Lewis, current CEO
Ben Minehart, the director of strategic initiatives, and John Raos, senior vice president of operations, contributed to this article.
2020 Threw Everyone A Few Curveballs. How Has Your Go-To-Market Strategy Changed As A Result Of The Current Business Environment?
John: It’s allowed us an opportunity to evaluate the competition, the broader market, and our own portfolio and adjust our solutions to meet the new challenges our customers are experiencing with the sudden transition to a remote workforce. For us, the difficulty of 2020 gave us an opportunity to listen to our clients and tailor solutions to create all-inclusive managed user solutions and data protection services. It also forced us to repackage our cybersecurity options to increase our flexibility for our customers.
What Technology Trends Are You Most Excited About In 2021?
Ben: I expect to see continued, expanded, and permanent work-from-home strategies for both us and our customers. I think the past 12 months have accelerated a shifted mindset that was inevitable for most businesses.
Automation is also a big trend. It can be used in so many ways, but for us, it involves automating repeatable support tasks and using AI. I think that’s pretty cutting edge, and we’d love to see what kinds of automation products are coming to market in 2021.
Finally, and this is just a general technology upgrade, I think 5G is going on trend, especially for mobile users (smartphones), for backup, and for solutions for branch offices, retail, and restaurants. It will be pretty cool to see what kinds of possibilities 5G open up.
What Is The Secret To Your Success?
John: We focus on building partnerships with strategic CIOs who recognize that cyber and key IT infrastructure must be integrated and holistic but know that it is difficult for them to do in-house. This has to be a collaboration between cyber, networking, and the service desk both in the tools and the team providing that service. That’s the greatest defense against emerging threats — all of these are integrated with real-time tools and support we have at Dataprise. Our solutions help CIOs recognize that addressing these challenges will provide tremendous ROI, so they can focus their priorities.
What Are The Top Three Metrics You Use To Measure Your Business And Why? Have They Changed Over The Years?
Ben: Client Satisfaction: We have an integrated survey system, and that’s the best way that we can get front-line feedback. We use the outcome of those surveys to drive our strategy and adjust our operations. It’s all about driving adherence to complete the surveys and then actually using what’s in the surveys.
Client Retention: Bringing on a new customer costs time and money. (Those two are the same.) So being able to continue customer relationships that already exist increases the profitability of that relationship over time.
John: The Degree To Which All Of Our Clients Use All Of Our Services: With the challenges of 2020, we realized that customers that contracted us for multiple integrated services gained the greatest benefit as they transitioned to a remote workforce. It allowed all of our clients to focus on their own internal business challenges while Dataprise ensured that the technical transformation to a remote workforce and the support of these workforces were seamless.
What Is The Top Lesson You Had To Learn That Allowed You To Kick-Start Your Business Growth? Is There A Leadership Style You Were Influenced By?
Ben: Kick-starting business growth is driven by a strong and unified culture. With my tenure at Dataprise, I came to know of a certain culture, but in the early-to-mid part of 2020, we had a new CEO who really brought a paradigm shift that, 6–8 months ago, felt like this tremendous change that was so far out of reach. To see how that culture has shifted compared to then and where we are now has really positioned us in a place where we’re very excited for 2021.
John: While the tools of our trade are technology-based, in the end, we have to retain the best employees, and that, ultimately, has been the key to our growth. Our values nurture our culture, which embraces new ideas and promotes innovation.
As an example, we use discovery tools and advanced analytics within our organization, but our largest successes were opportunities identified by multiple employees at various levels in the organization. No one leads an organization alone. The higher you go in an organization, the more you must rely on the data and skill sets of the team. A philosophy of employee empowerment is embedded in the DNA of everyone in Dataprise, and that has been a significant contributor to our success.
Ben: To add to that, you hire people who you know you can trust, and that trust feeds empowerment, and the empowerment feeds trust. When you have that as a whole, you’re going to be more productive because you can steer the ship as one big team.
Were There Any Partners Or Businesses That Helped You Along The Way And, If So, What Role Did They Play?
John: We’ve made tremendous investments in support and automation tools, and our most effective partners have allowed us to improve efficiencies while improving our quality. Kaseya is a perfect example of this type of partner.
We have partnered with Kaseya for 11 years, and that relationship has flourished. They have advanced their solutions and met the needs of our MSP market. Our initial drive to partner with Kaseya was to meet the needs of effective management, but that scope has expanded to improving the customer experience through advanced market management, relevant and critical data access, and performance tuning automation.
Do You Have Any Specific Advice Or Words Of Wisdom That You Would Give Other MSPs Looking To Grow?
Ben: Actively listen to what your customers need, but don’t try too hard to be a Swiss army knife too quickly. Focus on certain areas of practice that you know you can do, bring value, and focus on doing those well. As you grow, you can focus on expanding or partnering with other MSPs to fill the gaps.
John: We don’t live in the same world that we did just a few years ago. Data breaches increased by 11% since 2018, and 43% of those breaches happened to small- to medium-size companies. The cost was about $3.8 million per event, yet the average time to identify what was happening took 208 days in 2020. Everything an MSP must do now has to start and end with security. MSPs that want to increase revenue and innovation need to ensure they do this, and the best way to do so is to partner with businesses like Dataprise.