I recently interviewed David Malcom, VP of managed services at Computer Services, Inc. (CSI)
, a $213 million managed services provider that focuses exclusively on the financial services market and reported record revenues during its most recent quarterly financials announcement. Although this giant service provider has been in business since 1965, it's foray into IT managed services didn't happen until 2011, after it acquired HEIT, a 100-employee managed services company.
Despite generating new revenue streams from managed services immediately following its acquisition, CSI did not have the same immediate success selling cloud services
. To get a better handle on the issue, the MSP began incorporating cloud-related topics into its compliance discussions. “Our customers regularly seek our advice when they’re preparing for external audits, and they want to ensure they’re taking the necessary preparation steps,” says Malcom. “Financial institutions that are prepared for these exams save themselves a lot of time, headaches, and unwelcome surprises, which makes this a popular topic among our clients.”
A few questions CSI asks its customers during these discussions include these two: “Are you looking at cloud services for your business, and if so which areas are you exploring? What due diligence measures have you performed to ensure you’re handling your data appropriately?”
CSI uses this opportunity to educate clients about different kinds of cloud services — such as public, private, and hybrid — and it helps clients think through the pitfalls of making the wrong cloud choices. “If, for instance, a customer is already using another vendor’s cloud service, we’ll ask them where the data is stored,” says Malcom. “If it turns out to be outside the United States, that’s a red flag we want to help them resolve right away. It may lead to a potential violation of federal regulations that could be costly and time-consuming to resolve.”
Throughout the consultation process, CSI contrasts public cloud and overseas cloud services with its U.S.- based private cloud offering, which has been specifically designed to protect sensitive financial data.
“Educating customers about the cloud has gone a long way in getting them to entrust us with their cloud initiatives,” says Malcom.
There are a couple of key takeaways MSPs can learn from CSI's experience. First, consider the fact that this company has focused exclusively on the financial services market since 1965. It knows banking regulations and processes inside and out and is able to generate an immediate rapport with decision makers in this industry. That said, its rapport alone doesn't sell cloud services -- it has to engage clients on this topic, uncover cloud objections and misconceptions, and overcome them with the truth. If business executives and IT decision makers at banks and credit unions need to be educated about the cloud, how much more do business owners and IT decision makers from other small to midsize companies need to be educated?
For additional insights into CSI's cloud services success, be sure to check out: Take Financial Services To The Cloud