If you stay too small, you can’t serve big customers. But if you get too big, you get bloated. The best place to be is in the middle.
That’s the strategy driving growth for O’Brien Technologies, a 10-person MSP based out of Bakersfield, California. Their regional competitors include two or three large MSPs and a big number of one- or two-person-sized competitors. But the middle is wide open—and for Shannon O’Brien, the company’s founder, the middle is the sweet spot for attracting the kind of customers he really wants. Today, O’Brien has 100 business customers and services 150 schools.
But it’s not easy being a 10-person MSP.
O’Brien faces pressures from both ends: he needs economies of scale like his large competitors, but still needs to keep his margins up; at the same time, he needs personalized, high-touch service like his smaller competitors, but also needs to manage many more moving parts.
Can an MSP thrive in the middle ground?
O’Brien Technologies is a full service IT provider
Headquarters: Bakersfield, California
Intermedia’s customer since: 2014
Have you ever wondered how Southwest Airlines keeps its prices so low as compared to much larger airlines? The answer is standardization and efficiency. For example, they only fly one kind of aircraft, which means they can make their entire employee base more efficient. (This video explains more.)
The same principle is at work at O’Brien Technologies. O’Brien’s strategy requires the company to be extremely efficient, which means they don’t operate like the typical MSP. “I’ve seen some MSPs with racks full of servers. They have to come up with $50,000, $100,000, or $200,000 just to even get started—and then they have to replace equipment a few years in. You have to have a LOT of customers on that system just to be able to break even,” says O’Brien.
Instead, O’Brien Technologies stays efficient by standardizing all of their services—both hardware and software. “We approach it like we’re managing one large business instead of a bunch of smaller businesses. We use Cisco® products across the board for our routers and switches. We use Dell® servers across the board. And we turn customers to Intermedia at every opportunity.”
“Intermedia helps us to be far more efficient in our operations. They help with centralization, ease of billing, and lowering the time we spend administering systems,” says O’Brien.
Here are a few ways that Intermedia helps O’Brien Technologies run their business at scale:
We started using Intermedia’s services for Exchange email first, and now we’re using some of everything—Cloud PBX, Intermedia AppID® and SIP Trunking. Every type of service you guys have, we’re using in some fashion for our customers.Shannon O’Brien,
company’s founder, O’Brien Technologies
Extend rich, reliable calling features that let you sound like a big business—and operate like one. With Cloud PBX from Intermedia, you can preserve capital and slash operational costs. And experience high levels of reliability and complementary migration.Read the Full Product Details
SIP Trunking routes your phone calls over the Internet, instead of through the phone company's lines. You can use it with most business VoIP phones or even older analog or digital phones. With SIP Trunking from Intermedia, you can lower your phone bills and improve reliability without changing your existing numbers or buying a new phone system.Read the Full Product Details
Intermedia’s Email Archiving helps keep your email securely archived and easily accessible using HostPilot, our central control panel. It helps provide the preservation, protection and restoration features that your business needs to help safeguard intellectual property, facilitate compliance, and speed eDiscovery.Read the Full Product Details
SecuriSync offers simple, secure, cloud-based backup and folder and file sharing. And SecuriSync boosts mobility by keeping files and folders backed up and accessible through Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry—or through a web browser.Read the Full Product Details
O’Brien is able to stay efficient thanks to Intermedia. “I feel fortunate that we came across Intermedia when we did,” says O’Brien. “It was right when we started growing rapidly and adding more employees and tons of customers. Once we learned how Intermedia lets you do everything you can do on an on-premises system and more—and with more flexibility and uptime—we realized it was an excellent solution.
“I’ve been administering Exchange systems since my first year in IT, so to find something as solid as your system, is just perfect.”
Today, O’Brien’s Intermedia deployments go far beyond email. “We started using Intermedia’s services for Exchange email first, and now we’re using some of everything—Cloud PBX, Intermedia AppID® and SIP Trunking. Every type of service you guys have, we’re using in some fashion for our customers.”
Intermedia is O’Brien’s go-to-choice for standardizing multiple services across many different customers. It’s one of the key reasons they’re succeeding as a mid-sized MSP. Their approach to staying efficient is a lesson for all MSPs that want to grow their customer base. When asked what advice he’d have for other MSPs, O’Brien simply said, “I have yet to work with another company that takes care of us like Intermedia does.”
Intermedia AppID is either a trademark or registered trademark of Intermedia.net, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Cisco is a registered trademark of Cisco and/or its affiliates. Dell is a trademark of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Rackspace is either a registered trademark Rackspace US, Inc. in the United State and/or other countries. We are not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Rackspace and/or its affiliates.
I wanted a product that my team can set up and then forget about except for regular adding or moving of users.
Chief Technology Officer and Partner, Midnight Blue Technology Services