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SMBTN Releases Autotask Template November 16, 2009

Posted by Jim Locke in Benefits, Finance, IT Business, Marketing, Tools.
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Just a little over a month after announcing that it would standardize on the Autotask platform, the SMB Technology Network has officially released its new template for the platform. This release is just a starting point for us. We are committed to making consistent improvements to this platform that integrate industry best practices and SMBTN partner offerings into a professional services automation platform that fits the needs of our membership. Currently, the SMBTN/Autotask Platform offers the following:

  • A customized Autotask Template for SMBTN Business Members
  • Integration with a variety of Managed Services platforms, including hosted Kaseya from Virtual Administrator, Level Platforms, N-able, Zenith Infotech and others.
  • Integration with SMBTN’s Virtual Assistant partner, TelAssistant.
  • Integration with SMBTN’s Outsourced helpdesk partner, Cloud Services Depot.
  • Integration with SMBTN VitalSigns Financial Dashboard by CoreConnex.
  • Integration with the latest release of the SMBTN Community Toolbar.

SMBTN also understands the importance of integrating its member’s websites and marketing functions into their back office operations. With this in mind, SMBTN has begun working with Pronto Marketing on Autotask forms integration which it hopes to have available for its members in the first quarter of 2010.

Finally, SMBTN will also host its own forum on the SMBTN Community for peer support, sharing best practices and gathering ideas about future improvements to its Autotask platform.

Pricing for the SMBTN/Autotask platform starts at just $99 per month for a single user (through the end of the year) and includes Autotask Pro with the SMBTN template, Outlook integration, Client Access Portal, Quickbooks integration, Corelytics Lite Financial Dashbaord and the SMBTN Community Toolbar. For more information, visit the SMBTN Community or contact SMBTN Member Services.

CoreConnex Announces Partnership with Service Leadership September 15, 2009

Posted by Jim Locke in IT Business, Partners.
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Corelytics Financial DashboardLast Fall, we were very proud to announce our affiliation with CoreConnex and their excellent Corelytics Financial Dashboard. Frank Coker and I really seem to see eye-to-eye on the importance of financial benchmarking for IT service companies. Today, CoreConnex made a great product even better by announcing a new alliance with Service Leadership, Inc. (See full press release: CoreConnex, Inc. and Service Leadership, Inc. Announce a New Partnership).

Combining the Corelytics™ Financial Dashboard by Coreconnex with the Service Leadership Index™ significantly streamlines and extends the depth of solutions offered by both companies, providing a one-of-a-kind, best-in-class solution for the owners and executives of IT Solutions companies to maximize their profit and value.
 
Subscribing companies can update their data monthly with a single click and then see how they are progressing toward S-L Index™ best in class benchmarks for their business model and against the goals they set for their business, enabling them to monitor and manage their financial performance on a continual basis.

We look forward to working with CoreConnex and Service Leadership on a revised version of our SMBTN VitalSigns program and hope to be able to offer even more meaningful financial information to our members.

What is the Value of Your Company? January 19, 2009

Posted by Frank Coker in Finance, IT Business.
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There is a big difference between bringing value to your customers and building value for the owners. Having a valuable company starts with bringing value to customers, but there are more steps required to translate this into value for the owners.

There are over 100,000 small technology services and solutions businesses and probably half of these have little or no value from an equity or market-value point of view. These low value companies are hard to sell and generally result in very little cash for the owner if they had an emergency situation and needed to exit.

A large part of value in a service business is derived from the revenue stream. If the revenue stream is fairly steady, usually because of monthly service agreements, there is more predictability and therefore more value.

Unpredictable revenue, usually from break-fix work and from short-term hourly projects, is less dependable and has much less value. Even when revenues are on a clear growth path, if they are “lumpy,” the buyer is going to place a lower value on the company. The other reason a lumpy revenue pattern has a lower value is that a company without long term service agreements is going to be spending much more on sales than a company with long-term monthly agreements. Here is an example of a company with a strong growth trend but with big revenue swings – and a very low market value.

 cci-24month-revenue-graph1

Predictable revenues from contracts increase the value of your IT service company.

The challenge is that most technology companies are owned by technology experts and enthusiasts. Most are simply not aware of what they could and should do to build equity value in their business. It’s not hard to do, but if you haven’t learned about the fine points of building business value, it is unlikely to happen by accident. Unfortunately, most accountants and attorneys don’t know how to do this, so this information can be pretty hard to find.

I am very excited about a new offering that will be provided by SMBTN that is aimed at helping tech company owners get a better handle on financial planning and building business value. You will be hearing more about this in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, here are a couple of blog articles you might want to check out:

More information coming soon….