It’s not everyday that a company would deny itself revenue, but that is just what Interlock IT has done.
Dubbing itself an “anti-MSP” company, the Mississauga-based solution provider employs a hands-off approach, one that sees the company implement a solution – often an Office 365 migration – then letting the client work directly with the vendor, while only providing secondary support.
In many ways, says Blaire Collins, it’s to make a statement.
According to the CEO of Interlock IT, the fact is that when it comes to the small business market, clients are being held back in technology by IT providers who want to go after the recurring dollars.
The result, he says, is instead of choosing the best solution for a small business, such as migrating from on-premise solutions to Office 365, a service provider will instead upgrade the company’s existing exchange server and capitalize on maintenance fees.
“I’m doing what I would do if I were a business owner,” Collins told CDN, referring to his business model, which amounts mostly to a one-time migration service. Rather than pay Interlock on a monthly basis for services that a small business may or may not need, the client pays the vendor directly.
“It’s not for personal profit – there’s no service provider billing on top,” Collins explains, admitting that the business model doesn’t lend itself to recurring revenue.
What it does, however, is save customers money. The Mississauga-based six-person company also keeps costs down by not having “high-commission sales people,” he says.
Granted, Collins says, he is not denying that there is a need for managed service providers, as well as those that bundle useful services onto a managed Office 365 deployment.
Yet, he says, much of his business comes from clients that have become aware that they are not being sold the best solution.
“Clients that we win are following the cloud trend and asking ‘Why do we need to keep servers running?'” Collins says. “Small to medium business who are not as tech savvy, they have to trust their partner. They can’t keep getting charged maintenance fees just for keeping a light on the server.”
For now, Collins admits, the business model is niche, even if he says the bad business practice is not.
In Canada especially, where small businesses are abundant, things need to change, he says.
“Once a business gets to the 100 seat size, they typically have some more IT expertise on staff, those are not being held up by the IT vendor,” he says. “But when a client is looking a cloud-solution, and they’re not getting the answers they should be from the IT vendor, it is a problem in the small business community. I fully expect the business model to grow.”