Partner Spotlight: Advantage

One of Advantage’s customers, an early adopter of Office 365, was adamant they didn’t need backup. They were wrong.

One Friday night a team member accidentally deleted the Accounts Department’s entire 50,000-file SharePoint library.

“We had never seen anything like this situation,” said Christo van Zyl, Advantage’s Managed Services Director. “Although we could recover the data from the recycle bin, it had to be done file by file. Moving entire folders was not possible and Microsoft only allowed us to see 300 files at a time. One of the engineers got started, and after working at it for three hours estimated that it would take six days to recover all the files. We tried escalating to Microsoft, only to find out that Microsoft couldn’t drag the entire folder out of the recycle bin, either.”

It was then that someone realized there was another option. Fortunately Advantage was using SkyKick Cloud Backup to back up their customer’s SharePoint files (although not their Exchange files).

“We decided to go for the Cloud Backup restore,” said Christo.  “It only took minutes to bring the whole folder back down to SharePoint. This saved the day and resulted in a very happy Financial Director, who had been extremely concerned about getting his data back. The next day they asked us to start doing SkyKick backups of their email as well.”

Advantage is a highly experienced MSP with a unique specialty

For nearly 20 years, UK-based Advantage has been providing IT consulting and support services to small- and medium-sized businesses. Advantage is a Microsoft Gold Partner, with numerous competencies from Dynamics to Azure. What sets them apart from other managed services providers in their area is their level of expertise in both Dynamics and IT.

Advantage finds that much of their business comes from companies that are already running Dynamics, but are frustrated their “IT partner” doesn’t want to handle the “IT” part and take care of the server on which Dynamics runs. Most clients outsource their full IT to the firm. Advantage provides 24/7 monitoring of all services (from firewalls and switches on up), ensures data security, and provides a 24/7 user help desk as well.

Cloud solutions like Office 365 have propelled Advantage’s business

“About six years ago Microsoft’s Dynamics team approached us and asked us to embrace Azure,” said Christo. “We were one of the ‘chosen partners’ back then. This really did a lot for our business. Many customers came to us when their previous on-premise software solution was approaching end of life, or when an upgrade was required. The first thing we asked them was if we could move their system to a fully managed solution in Azure.”

The response from customers was overwhelmingly positive. So many customers said “yes” that Advantage quickly surpassed the annual Azure spend level they had initially been afraid to commit to.

Advantage was also one of the first to offer Office 365, and a similar situation happened there. “We realized that people preferred the new subscription model to the old CAPEX [capital expenditure] model,” said Christo. “Now we’re selling about as much Office 365 as we do Dynamics 365.”

Advantage’s financials tell the story of the difference that the cloud, and its subscription model, has made for the firm’s success. Six years ago they predominantly had support contracts for both sides of the business, and annual perpetual licenses for software solutions, now Advantage’s revenue split has changed.

“The subscription market, especially Office 365 and Azure, has allowed our business to grow and added a lot to our bottom line,” said Christo. “Today 95% of our customers have adopted Office 365. In fact, from a revenue perspective, cloud services now comprise 54% of our business.”

Office 365 and SkyKick Cloud Backup go hand-in-hand

There is common misconception that cloud services such as Office 365 do not need backup protection for the underlying productivity data that flow through it. But this simply isn’t the case, as Advantage warns their customers and works to clear up the confusion around the role of data protection solutions like cloud backup.

“We come across many prospects that have not been advised by their current MSP that Microsoft does not back their Office 365 data up,” said Christo. “We explain there are retention policies for SharePoint and email, but that’s it. Then we tell them that at Advantage we offer a backup product that will allow us to actually restore their files if anything goes wrong.”

The initial decision to sell an Office 365 backup solution was an easy one.

“Having a backup is critical,” said Christo. “No business should take the risk of not having an email or SharePoint backed up. That’s why we now include it in every migration or new customer contract. If a customer does not want to purchase backup, we make them sign a separate document stating that they are opting out.”

Selecting SkyKick’s Cloud Backup was also an easy decision for Advantage.

“We looked at others and trialed a few,” said Christo. “During the trials, SkyKick was the only reliable one. It just seemed to run without having any issues at all, and required almost no intervention from our team—which is important, because when we take on a new partner we want to be sure their system won’t be a burden for us. Now the days of spending time rectifying backups is gone.”

In pitching SkyKick Cloud Backup to its clients, Advantage points out that the service provides a full backup of Office 365, helps automate common data protection tasks, offers great value, and provides peace of mind that they will always be able to recover their files when needed.

SkyKick Cloud Backup is a customer-centric recurring revenue engine for Advantage

With a majority of its revenue now coming from cloud services, recurring revenue is vitally important for Advantage—and the firm appreciates the way that SkyKick Cloud Backup provides an additional recurring revenue stream that has very low support overhead.

Knowing that customers can purchase their Office 365 subscriptions directly from Microsoft, Advantage positions their add-on services, such as Cloud Backup and 24/7 monitoring, as examples of how customers will receive better support if they choose to work with a local MSP such as Advantage.

Conclusion

As Advantage saw first-hand when their client accidentally deleted over 50,000 files, putting Cloud Backup in place can turn your MSP into a “superhero.” Cloud Backup makes it easy for you to give your clients the peace of mind that their mission-critical, irreplaceable data can be restored in minutes if and when something goes wrong.

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