New kid on the block Electric is disrupting the MSP market and taking clients from traditional MSPs by challenging the status quo and offering a human assisted AI chat service powered by Slack. They have raised over $34 million in Series A & B venture capital and are hell bent on re-inventing how IT support is delivered. But for traditional MSPs, don’t worry, fellow start-up and IT Support disrupter Invarosoft™ will help you fight that battle.
Who is Electric?
Electric is founded by serial entrepreneur Ryan Denehy and he told Crunchbase News that “businesses are buying and using more tech than they ever have before, but IT support hasn’t changed in twenty years.”
“There are over 100,000 independent IT consultancies” in the US, he said, “and they’re serving a market of about one million small businesses that don’t have full-time IT staff.”
The article goes on to say “Denehy characterized the IT status quo as expensive, slow, and reactive, and he strives to provide the opposite: a fast, proactive support experience that’s affordable for small businesses.”
“Currently, and likely for some time into the future, Electric’s platform, which Denehy described as “AI-driven” is also assisted by humans. For now, Electric is “focused on automating the most repetitive and most common tasks.” Denehy added that “about 50 percent of support tickets aren’t about fixing broken things, but doing stuff like setting up an email address, turning on a firewall, or connecting to an enterprise platform.”
So what does this all mean for your MSP?
Well let’s look at the statistics 80% of MSPs manage 2500 devices and below. Electric already has 10,000 devices under management across 300 clients, as per Crunchbase, so they’re going ok. But if there are conservatively 20,000 MSPs managing 1000 devices on average that’s 20,000,000 users, so they haven’t made a dent … yet.
Although that’s still 300 customers of MSPs that have shifted over to their services. Most MSPs only have around 25-50 customers so that’s going to hurt.
What could you do with $34 million in funding? A lot. A hell of a lot.
Most MSPs can’t imagine what it’s like to have $1 million in the bank let alone 34 times that.
What this means is that Electric is going to invest heavily in software development AND sales. They will be out there speaking to your customers about how your approach is ‘old school’ and that a modern IT experience is now representative of the Slack App powered by human powered AI.
They’re venture funded, they are under pressure to scale fast, so their sales team are going to be focusing 100% of their time on calling your clients, convincing them of this new approach and taking your hard earned clients and money away.
Their marketing team is going to be spending up big to communicate their messages and pull prospect clients towards them. So your clients will see on-line or print advertising and decide to call them.
Why will your clients be attracted to this marketing?
Because your MSP hasn’t changed your approach in years! It’s not innovative anymore. People like shiny new things.
And it’s going to work more often than not because they are positioning their business and services as a Purple Cow, they are differentiating themselves.
The point being there is real risk for your MSP over the next few years if you don’t fight back.
How to fight back?
So how do you fight back?
Well that’s where Invarosoft comes to the rescue.
We built a ‘one pane of glass’ desktop and mobile App (ITSupportPanel™) to replace email support and it helped us differentiate and grow my MSP organically to over $7 million in revenue and 5000 end users. In 2017 we launched Invarosoft to put this IP in the hands of ‘all’ MSPs. We now have 100’s of MSP partners and over 125,000 licenses sold and a ‘patent pending’.
We believe ITSupportPanel gives you an instant solution to compete against Electric.
Electric is saying to customers that email is ridiculous as a support method. They are saying use Slack and we’ll chat real time.
Now you may not have the staff to do chat since Electric’s service is not pure AI it’s ‘human assisted’, but, with ITSupportPanel you’re giving them, in our MSP view, a better overall customer experience.
Here’s why we believe ITSupportPanel gives you the edge over Electric’s Slack approach:
- Branding. It’s fully branded (per client if you want), Slack is not.
- Chat is painful. Seriously can you chat faster than you can talk? That’s a fundamental pain and the backside for busy professionals even with AI involved.
- Chat option (if you want). If you really want to do chat, create a button on the App which launches your chat App, easy.
- Customization per client. You can’t customize the Slack App per customer like you can with ITSupportPanel to make your services stickier.
- Push notifications. Slack can’t send a branded push notification to the device. Think about on-boarding with ITSupportPanel you can send a welcome push notification and then link it to your branded cartoon ‘how to use our services video’. See here https://www.invarosoft.com/video.
- Custom forms. You can’t have custom forms for things like new user requests in Slack.
- API for PSAs. It doesn’t API with your ticketing system.
- News feeds. You can’t have news feeds.
- Approvals. You can’t set approvals so the client has control over the IT function.
- Command Line. You can’t setup Apps that launch command line scripts.
- Desktop & Mobile. Our App works seamlessly on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
- Slack is additional purchase. You have to convince your clients to buy a product to work with you.
- Self Service. We are launching ‘self service’ soon so you can assign documents and pop up notifications to ticket types and clients. Imagine when they go to log a ticket and it says ‘hey before you log the ticket have you tried rebooting OR try these 3 steps’. So it’s better to stop the ticket that waste the clients time in with a robot chatting. Imbedded Self Service is the key to productivity and fighting Electric.
- AI Chat Bot. This is on our roadmap anyway, so eventually you’ll be able to do a similar sort of thing as Electric, but remember their AI will be very basic with humans doing much of the work.
The point being with ITSupportPanel you’ve got a genuine solution to fight the likes of Electric head on.
Do you want to be disrupted and lose clients?
Seriously what are you going to do now you know there is a start-up MSP with $34 million in the bank hungry to steal your hard earned clients?
Will Electric Succeed?
Yes, if MSPs don’t fight back and change their approach.
We believe Electric’s value proposition suits smaller businesses under 20 seats. Businesses larger than that need a consultative approach, they’re looking for a partner and a trusted adviser to help them navigate the world of technology, not just a chat bot.
However, how many clients do you have under 20 seats?
Mmmm, might be time to pause and think about what you’re going to do. Doing nothing won’t work, I can promise you that.
The Secret They Know That You Don’t
What they understand is IT support is all about Customer Experience (CX). You can’t get away being a great technical person or relying on this, it’s ‘how’ you provide your service that counts. Electric know this and they’re taking advantage of a different approach.
To help you understand further, here is my article about why CX is the new MSP battleground. At the end you can watch our video about The 5 Mistakes MSPs Make around Customer Experience (CX).
You don’t need $34 million to compete. You just need to invest a tiny tiny fraction of that in something like ITSupportPanel to send these guys a message – anything you can do I can do better!