Solution Provider to the Solution Providers

By John Hazard  |  Posted 2005-10-31 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Red Square Solutions, a Pitsburgh-based Managed Service Provider is just of the MSPs to find efficiency in all-in-one business platforms like AutoTask.

In 2001 Red Square Systems, a network MSP (Managed Services Provider), in Pittsburgh, found its business booming and the array of systems established to manage the business straining to keep up to the task.

The company was using a collage of programs to record and produce their business processes – Microsoft Excel for forecasting, Microsoft Project to manage projects, Goldmine for sales generation, Salesforce.com for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Act and QuickBooks for financial records and a number of home grown applications to manage dispatching and call center operations.

Redundant information would be entered three, four and five times into several unconnected applications, sometimes producing different results and always a muddied picture of projects and contract status, said Jason Jacobetz, the company's vice president of marketing. Even billing required a review of at least five different programs.

The result was a staggering process, that shackled Red Square's potential, he said.

"We were flying blind," Jacobetz said. "We had no real insight into the client or the contract. We had no idea what problems we might have the opportunity to fix, or when a relationship had reached a point that we needed to do something more or ask them for more business, We missed a lot of good opportunities."

Pointer Click here to read further about business platforms for Managed Services Providers.

With missed opportunities on their mind, the company set out to find an all in one solution to monitor and manage contracts and settled on AutoTask, at the time, a first-year company, that had produced a single business operating platform to perform scheduling, CRM, time capture, project management, call center, as well as billing and reporting, all in one uniform program.

AutoTask "revolutionized" Red Square's operation, Jacobetz said.

"We saw immediately, the competitive advantage it gave us," he said. "We were able to look at a single screen and see in real time what was going on with a client. When they called, you could pull it up and have a pretty good idea why they were calling. If they needed service, you could quickly determine if the contract said it needed to be done immediately and then find the closest technician on the road… We found those missed opportunities, even hours we weren't billing for."

AutoTask is an efficiency tool, said Bob Godgart, one its co-creators and chief executive officer.

"A lot of the managed service providers operate on a monthly retainer fee. That charge is fixed, so your profit is anything you can squeeze out of that price, he said. "They need to make sure things get delivered on time and on budget. They need to ensure as little energy as possible goes out, but the customer is still satisfied customer. That's your profit."

AutoTask is one of several programs, including MaintenanceNet, now available offering the growing number of VARs switching to MSP all-in-one business platforms.

Among some of the business advantages Jacobetz said Red Square found with the AutoTask solution:

  • Automatic dispatching – as calls come in they are prioritized based on the request and terms of the contract, then sent by phone or text message, to technicians in the field. If they remain open, the call is resent to managers.

  • Automatic bill generation – The program marries work orders with terms of the contract to determine what is billable and sends a report to QuickBooks to produce a bill. Many companies find they fail to bill for an average of 15 percent of services not included in a contract, Godgart said.

  • Forecasting – "We are able to see business trends, where things are working and where they are not. We can even see when a client is more trouble than we're charging."

  • Client portal – Allows customers to log in and review their contract, make changes and submit tickets that are routed to the dispatching software. "It makes you look like a much bigger operation," Jacobetz said.
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