At SkyKick, our north star is enabling IT partners to build more successful cloud practices and accelerate their profitability. That’s why a just-released research whitepaper by AMI-Partners hit close to home. The study researched over 100 MSPs to find patterns in how some are achieving faster growth and profitability in the cloud than others. We found several of the report’s findings to be both rewarding and highly aligned with what we hear from partners. Particularly including that 95% of partners using SkyKick solutions report a material increase in profitability when compared to other tools.
At the core of the report’s findings was the accelerating trajectory of the SMB market moving to the cloud. AMI estimates that SMBs worldwide will spend nearly $40 billion on cloud-based email and productivity solutions – such as Office 365 – by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25%. AMI notes that these SMBs typically lack in-house tools and expertise, and thus turn to MSPs in planning and executing their journey to cloud solutions like Office 365. MSPs, in turn, are leveraging specialized solutions like SkyKick, BitTitan and others as the “engine” that adds automation-driven efficiency and effectiveness in the migration process.
Crawl, walk, run
Migrating email is typically the first step partners take to navigate SMB businesses to the cloud—making it a critical beachhead for deeper ongoing engagement. As such, a flawless migration with great customer satisfaction is of vital importance to MSPs. AMI evaluated what MSPs considered the most important factors when selecting from several migration toolkits, including the SkyKick Migration Suite.
Overall, partners want a tool that simplifies an otherwise technically complex exercise, helps reduce risk, and increases margins and profitability. The research identified several characteristics that contribute to the “best” tool, and thematically categorized them into 3 buckets:
Technical Completeness & Data Quality
MSPs told AMI that technical completeness and data quality was the most important characteristic of a cloud migration tool. We were interested to see how SkyKick performed in this area and were pleased to learn that 94% of partners said they were satisfied or very satisfied with SkyKick’s technical completeness. But more importantly, because AMI probed for the specific areas that successful partners look for within technical completeness, we learned what contributes to partner success.
It turns out that savvy partners look for a solution that is comprehensive in its scope of source environments, has class-leading data fidelity, and is the most effective in streamlining the migration process. SkyKick’s focus in each of these areas resulted in significant differences across all three areas when compared to other tools.
- Comprehensiveness: In addition to migrating email from the most common source servers, SkyKick has specialized in migrating local data and settings.
- Fidelity: We are so confident in our data fidelity that we don’t charge for a migration until cutover. That gives partner’s the opportunity to review the fidelity of the initial syncs before fully committing to the migration.
- Effectiveness: SkyKick’s automated syncs before, during, and after cutover ensure no data is lost or left behind. Even if an email is moved to a different folder minutes before cutover, that change is captured and replicated by our delta sync.
User Experience & Quality of Support
More than 50% of respondents cited ease of use as the key driver of their tool selection.
SkyKick partners reported satisfaction levels in this category of 80-90% (everything from ease and accuracy of project setup and planning to ease of monitoring and managing the project, to support via phone and email), while satisfaction with solutions from other vendors seldom rose above 50%.
We were pleased with the overall findings, but more interested in how we are improving our partners’ experience. Last year, in response to partner feedback, we completely redesigned our Migration Dashboard, around “visibility and control”. Attaining 88% satisfaction for Ease of Monitoring and Managing the Project affirmed both the value of this redesign and our commitment to continually improving our products based on partner input.
“SkyKick’s migration solution has provided a lot of benefits to us, such as substantial time and money savings, the ability to run multiple migrations simultaneously, and greater visibility into the migration process. These features have enabled us to provide superior quality migration experience to our customers.”
Project Automation & Efficiency
AMI noted that Project Automation & Efficiency was the category in which the differences between the top migration tools became most pronounced. In almost every category related to project automation and efficiency, SkyKick partners reported roughly 2x to 4x greater satisfaction than the nearest competitor. This is a validation of our comprehensive project automation approach, which includes:
- Pre-order placement email discovery from a single set of credentials
- Desktop readiness that ensures that each user’s pc and software is compatible with Office 365
- Office 365 provisioning of the tenant and mail objects
- Multiple automated data syncs
- Automated DNS options
- Outlook profile creation
Time is precious - and SkyKick saves time
While each category contributes to partner success, AMI found that proficiency across all three combined to deliver the most valuable asset - time. The research evaluated how often partners experience a material level of time savings, defined as 10 or more hours saved on a 30-seat migration. SkyKick partners experienced material time saving 2-4X more often than did partners using other vendors.
AMI also found that the most valuable aspect of the time savings was how it significantly increases the number of projects partners can manage. This is especially impactful in a high-demand environment where MSPs are often capacity constrained. Almost half of SkyKick partners reported that this additional capacity enabled them to undertake twice the number of projects (or more) compared to other solutions.
Underneath the time savings and resulting profitability was an especially interesting finding for SkyKick as we have invested in automating and simplifying Outlook setup and profile creation.
When initially asked by AMI to cite the most important automation feature for migration projects, only 19% of partners identified “Outlook setup, profile creation and local data migration.” However, after completing migrations, this percentage more than doubled, with nearly 40% calling this functionality the most time-saving feature of a solution.
Migrations are just the first step
Although migrations are often the key foot in the door to moving SMBs to the cloud, they are just a first step in creating an ongoing and trusted relationship with each customer.
AMI notes that the broader focus for savvy MSPs is always on building profitable cloud practices, fueled by recurring revenue services. In fact, AMI found some MSPs expressed that having strong, post-migration services strengthened differentiation on the migration itself. One MSP told AMI,
“We love the fact that vendors are going from just Office 365 migration services to providing ongoing services like backup. In addition to opening a recurring revenue stream, these help us close a lot of migration deals, as we are able to offer customers an immediate and long-term data protection in Office 365.”
At SkyKick, we take pride in being an early mover in helping MSPs layer on value-added services with SkyKick Cloud Backup. It provides an immediate recurring revenue stream while protecting customers against data loss.
AMI found partners prefer a backup solution that delivers the same attributes found to be most important with migration technology: high-quality technology, intuitive user experience, and automation. SkyKick continues to go the extra mile in Cloud Backup, with one partner telling AMI,
“SkyKick’s cloud backup solution is intuitive and easy to use. Implementation of other solutions we’ve previously used wasn’t as easy.”
AMI’s findings were both affirming and eye-opening. Yet while we’re proud of how partners view SkyKick, we’ll never stop working to do better, and the findings in this study will help us shape our roadmap to make partners even more successful. To see more about what partners told AMI, you can access its report here.