Many small service providers fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people, casting the net wide and taking on all jobs that come their way. But a growing number are finding success in embracing a niche that helps them stand out from the crowd.
Gold Coast IT Support (GCITS) is one of those companies. Historically spending a lot of time doing general IT support for a diverse range of clients, with a lot of reactive problem resolution, it has spent the past couple of years moving to a more targeted business model with a primary focus on security.
GCITS offer IT managed services, protected devices, strategy and process automation with a strong focus on security and compliance.
Elliot Munro, partner at GCITS, describes the company’s previous business model as the ability to wear many hats without really finding its speciality.
“Looking back, we didn’t have a strong overall vision of how to differentiate and drive our business,” he says. “There was a lot of disillusionment.
“We originally felt our strongest suit was automation, productivity and business intelligence but ended up writing a few security scripts for customers out of sheer necessity. When we started running these scripts a clear opportunity arose.”
The team quickly discovered dozens of breaches within existing client accounts. The detection and remediation of these breaches highlighted a concerning reality of modern business, that companies are being breached regularly and are often unaware that it’s even happened.
Now GCITS pairs Microsoft 365 Business, Azure Active Directory Premium, Microsoft Cloud App Security and Dropbox Advanced with its existing managed services and security tooling.
GCITS understood the need to strengthen its credibility in making security-focused managed services the core aspect of its business. However, there’s a big difference between deciding on a direction and getting there. GCITS needed support and tapped longstanding partner Ingram Micro – the world’s largest distributor of computer and technology products – for guidance.
The Ingram Micro team worked with GCITS to understand its business ambition and go after the market opportunity through the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) program.
“The investment in EOS, coupled with technical guidance as well as sales and marketing support, helped GCITS make this new business model a reality,” Meenakshi Kakar, Ingram Micro’s cloud business manager, says.
Follow the leader
The EOS program provided the GCITS team with a mentor and business coach to guide them through the process of projecting growth plans, addressing issues and truly defining the new business identity.
The ability to provide feedback around specific technical projects, as well as help identify and pursue next-step growth opportunities, gave the GCITS team a clear sense of purpose.
“The EOS program helped us put together the different pieces of the puzzle, define a vision for our company and unite the team around it,” Elliot says.
“The Ingram Micro team worked with us during this transformation, providing access to technical Microsoft 365 training, sales support and expertise in building a digital marketing campaign.”
The shift to cloud-based services with a strong security focus has had a hugely positive impact on the GCITS business. Managed services has gone from 30 per cent of revenue in 2017 to almost 50 per cent so far this year. Ad-hoc work has dropped from 35 per cent of revenue to just eight per cent.
This provides much better visibility of cash flow and frees the team up for more strategic work. Where they would previously be managing more than 150 open support tickets, now they typically have less than 10 on the board by Friday afternoon.
“We’ve fully streamlined the business around this single product offering and are in a position to refuse work outside of that,” Elliot says. “It’s been a lot of hard work but it’s put us in a great position and we’re excited about the continued growth of our business.”