vCIO AllStars 9/17 - Small Projects


Chat Log


00:04:47 Dan Seafoot: FindTime is a cool addin if you're looking for an interactive booking poll
00:05:24 Derek Gabriel: I second the usefulness of find time
00:05:38 Nadeem Azhar: cortana works well I think MS bought that to find/book time
00:05:56 Derek Gabriel: yes that is a fun service too
00:07:39 Jennifer Berry: lol, me too Craig
00:09:32 Nadeem Azhar: have a seprate queue for those project tickets
00:10:01 brandi: Do you have a few examples of those small "other" projects that come up?
00:10:38 Odin Fuhrman: sorry i'm late what's the topic?
00:11:01 Derek Gabriel: wow that is considerate, I would have turned it up faster :D
00:12:06 Rob Danser: lol
00:12:25 Thomas Paine: 1990 wants their SSID back
00:12:36 Joe Giltner: Odin, "How to handle small things that come out of alignment and strategic meetings that are small, but billable."
00:13:27 Thomas Paine: That ALWAYS saves them money
00:13:30 Odin Fuhrman: @Joe Thank you!
00:14:54 Thomas Paine: $600 a year for the on prom licence vs. $60 a month for cloud
00:15:35 Mike Rigel: Last time I had to support QB in the cloud, it was not as feature rich as the on prem version...
00:16:36 Joel Osera: If a tech has to do it, it will cost you. If our automated system can perform the update then it is covered under the agreement.
00:16:54 Brooke Smith: YES @Joel --- that's been a life saver for me....
00:17:15 Dan Seafoot: We support what is current - and bill for what is new. I guess that means we cover firmware updates and software patches.
00:17:33 Joel Osera: I like that wording
00:18:48 Erin O.: I came in a little late. Can someone give me the cliffnotes version of the current conversation?
00:18:50 Jared Belcher: If we are spending less than about an hour to update or implement something we generally just do it free - because it takes at least that much time from accounting, vCIO, Account manager or whatever to convince them, bill them, and collect from them the hourly rate. Over an hour we do it as T&M.
00:19:26 Derek Gabriel: think of it from the client's point of view, you are giving them kind of shitty service if every day there's cliffs to what is included and isn't … also, where I sit both examples given, are things that could - and probably should be - automated, and non-issues.
00:20:08 Derek Gabriel: craig go beat up your centralized services BC they can automate that SSID shit easily in a number of ways lol
00:20:14 Kristen: We us "new" and "upgrade" or "enhancement" and keep it in out customers heads that that stuff is out of scope
00:21:32 Jennifer Berry: previously, I've seen it done where anything was a project if it was expected to take more than about 4 hours of time, or if it required significant planning/coordination to complete
00:21:42 Erin O.: I'm gathering that everyone is talking about what's included vs. not included?
00:21:57 Derek Gabriel: more or less Erin, lol -
00:22:01 Derek Gabriel: the "gray area"
00:23:37 Jennifer Berry: Sounds like we need a poll - who charges for smaller tasks like WiFi password updates, QuickBooks upgrades, etc and who doesn't?
00:24:06 Joel Osera: We've gotten to the point where a MAC (Move, Add or Change) is given a 1-hour free and then billed T&M after that first hour. That's worked out pretty well for us.
00:24:32 Jennifer Berry: ^I was going to add that in too, who charges for new user setups/new computer setups
00:24:52 Jared Belcher: We charge for new computer setups
00:25:04 brandi: we do as well
00:25:12 Jennifer Berry: For those not aware, I am fairly new to Attentus and my previous MSP didn't charge for new users, but would charge a standard 1 hour of labor for new computers, new user/new computers are charged as Joel mentioned above
00:25:14 Neil Murray: New computers, yes. New users, no.
00:25:32 Erin O.: password updates? never. That should be included. QB upgrades - if we are talking Desktop version 2.0 to 2.1, included. If we are talking Desktop 2018 to 2019, project. we also use the MAC piece to define. this is not a conversation that I have with our clients anymore since implementing the strategic roadmap.
00:25:34 Jared Belcher: Same here as Neil
00:25:54 Kristen: If it's a quick fix or change - we cover it and just tell the customer it's out of scope but we are taking are of it. It's not worth the time to do the proposal. We charge for new computer setups.
00:29:12 Dan Seafoot: good point Derek
00:32:45 Craig Anderson: me too.. I ate having that message and then feeling like i'm nickel an diming
00:33:17 Derek Gabriel: right price is the other side of the coin
00:33:50 Erin O.: agreed Derek. Having the right pricing really ensures all these small rando things are covered.
00:34:10 Jennifer Berry: OR, that they're not because the client is getting a "better price"
00:34:34 Jennifer Berry: So you can't have a low price and have everything included, you have to be OK for paying a bit more if you want all those things included
00:34:46 Derek Gabriel: I would be very happy to have my vCIOs be client advocates internally, so if that's part of your internal fight Craig, if you wonder if your leadership will be mad at you, I think they'll appreciate the feedback.
00:34:56 Dan Seafoot: Pre-Auhorized Limit on small cost fixes is an awesome process if it can be approved by the DM
00:35:12 Craig Anderson: oh trust me I speak up. they knew what they were getting when they hired me
00:35:13 Dan Seafoot: like preapproval on certain defined things.
00:35:25 Brooke Smith: I like Joel's direction "We've gotten to the point where a MAC (Move, Add or Change) is given a 1-hour free and then billed T&M after that first hour "
00:35:31 Neil Murray: Sorry .. didn't realize I wasn't muted.
00:35:51 Craig Anderson: currently in the process of rewriting our scopes because im not happy with how the edges are defined.. and input I gettoday is helping me decide what to putin there :)
00:36:18 Erin O.: we've been able to really send those price-conscious clients to standard service providers that bill in hour block times or whatever. Either they want the vCIO process or they don't. Either they pay for the things or they don't. Keeping it as simple as possible is the most profitable.
00:37:05 Derek Gabriel: Agree with Brooke & Joel - also if it can't be automated. I think the onus is on us to first try to automate everything we can, because - duplicatable and repeatable, so we win - but if automation isn't an option, and it's not an everyone kind of thing, then we'll charge - aka setting up a network in a new office, installing the cabling, rack and stack - that's a project. But configuring the network and making it work, we include that.
00:37:10 Jennifer Berry: I like that, I'm getting some pushback on some basic recommendations solely because of cost - like implementing MFA (our premium version, where we hand-hold all the users) and to me, it shouldn't even be a question, just do it
00:37:53 Erin O.: Craig - our scoping process is pretty advanced, I think - comparing it to other project manager type positions I've held before this. First, is the request. Then the vCIO and professional services team meet to discuss. the PM creates the scope. Then we have a holepoke with the other PM, the vCIO, and a tech from the service desk to make sure all areas are viewed from different perspectives. Then I quote and send for approval.
00:38:41 Craig Anderson: our project scoping process could use some work
00:39:33 Craig Anderson: we have a pre-ath spend, but its only authorized for revenue impacting events.. (server/network outage emergency on a weekend or something)
00:41:47 Derek Gabriel: I do full on strategy meetings for goals and roadmaps and ad-hoc or semi-regular business meetings
00:42:34 Erin O.: Our MSA specifies the hourly rate for reactive service items outside of scope, our project labor rate, and our after-hours/weekend reactive service rates. Then, they pay for what they use. we don't have anyone fight us on those billings that we send out monthly. aside from that, the rest is projects on the roadmap that the full exec team gets quarterly or semi-annual (depending on client size) updates on from me. I have found that keeping it top of mind has been very beneficial.
00:43:31 Craig Anderson: frankly I think a lot of my issue stems back to packaging/pricing/edges - we really should include more than we are - too lean.
00:43:36 Derek Gabriel: the strong relationships where trust has been built, definitely make out of scope easy - we will tell them our estimate on the roadmap, and it's almost always "ok, invoice us"
00:44:32 Derek Gabriel: there is strategic value in saying "we did NOT raise your rate this year" too
00:44:47 brandi: agreed
00:44:52 Jennifer Berry: I like that
00:45:25 Neil Murray: We were just discussing yesterday implementing an annual rate increase. Some clients are still at the same rate they were 5 years ago.
00:45:50 Neil Murray: We were discussing 2%. I'm impressed at 6% Erin. Have you seen objections to that amount?
00:46:24 Thomas Paine: Ontario Canada is at 4% inflation right now
00:46:25 Erin O.: Neil that was the case for us too, three years ago. My boss had guys at the same price for 7+ years and we were literally losing money on every ticket. I fired like five clients and four came back at our new pricing lol
00:46:46 Erin O.: I've had no objections on that so far, and I've done it to 20 clients this year.
00:46:55 Jaime Evanoff: we also have an annual 5% increase-never had push back once.
00:46:56 Derek Gabriel: Neil - we had some legacy customers with contracts that were expired and month to month, we didn't raise their rates at all for like 5 years before we renegotiated, and that is where we get some pushback. Our new model is a 3 year contract with annual uplift and that makes a renegotiation easier because it's not such a big increase after the 3rd year.
00:47:03 brandi: We've done it for 4 clients this past year as well
00:47:20 Jennifer Berry: Ours is 3% per year, my last job was 10%!
00:48:55 Erin O.: that is so true - changing the culture is a huge thing
00:49:43 Derek Gabriel: support desk is a bunch of prima donnas
00:51:23 Derek Gabriel: I love facial expressions when talking about service desk expectations :D
00:51:39 Derek Gabriel: Craig - bridge out!
00:51:45 Dan Seafoot: lol
00:51:59 Brooke Smith: Today was HELPFUL so don't worry about asking the question -- there is always someone else wondering the same thing!
00:52:23 Rob Danser: ^ this!
00:52:35 Derek Gabriel: 💯
00:54:36 Rob Danser:
00:54:48 Thomas Paine: Where did the hour go?
00:55:01 Derek Gabriel: YAY!
00:55:07 Craig Anderson: you scared me there.. "last time doing this call.... from this house"
00:55:07 Jennifer Berry: WOOT!
00:55:13 Dan Seafoot: Congrats on the new palce!
00:55:21 Robert Macalino: brig back the Shield
00:55:22 Jaime Evanoff: baby steps!
00:55:23 Jennifer Berry: LOL, Craig, I did that too
00:55:23 Erin O.: bahaha, same Craig
00:55:24 Thomas Paine: Make sure you have a ceiling fan in view
00:55:28 Derek Gabriel: we should start a pool on when he can go home for real...
00:55:39 Bill Taylor: Does anyone give read only access in myITprocess to other delivery areas outside of technology success process? For example, support might not need it day to day but the ability to peak into client's strategic roadmaps could be useful sometimes
00:56:04 Erin O.: nah, he needs his nerd stuff back in the background. I miss Captain America.
00:56:08 Erin O.: Bill, yes we do.
00:56:11 Jennifer Berry: Oooh, Bill that's a good idea
00:56:22 Brooke Smith: @bill we do NOT
00:56:34 Craig Anderson: honestly, I actually do find "vcio topics" sometimes limiting - I long to talk process, packaging, pricing, picanomics, and so on :)
00:57:29 Derek Gabriel: Yes, Craig, great topic
00:57:33 Erin O.: alright guys, I gotta jet. Have a wonderful weekend! Looking forward to our next meeting.
00:57:40 Brooke Smith: Great topic!!! Agreed - very helpful.
00:57:43 Derek Gabriel: Bye Erin
00:57:44 Jennifer Berry: THanks, Erin!
00:57:48 brandi: very helpful
00:58:14 Bill Taylor: Our team loved the topic when Rob told us too, Craig. It was good stuff.
00:58:27 Dan Seafoot: unnecessary to have your head expoode.

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