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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Backup to the Future Part VI: How (and When) to Switch Your Current BDR Vendor

Posted April 26, 2017by Joseph Tavano

How (and When) to Switch Your Current BDR Vendor

Let’s face it: switching the technology you use every day—especially if it’s a core service your business provides, like BDR—is no simple undertaking. After all the blog posts, eBooks, and discussions with account managers, in the end MSPs are responsible for migrating to a new platform, updating their endpoints, training their staff, talking with clients and much more. It takes time. It takes effort. And, if it’s not the right decision, it can cost the business profits in the short and long term.

There’s a reason why “ripping and replacing” is discussed in hushed whispers; no one looks forward to it, really, and a lot is at stake. When you decide to replace your BDR vendor, you need to be absolutely sure it’s the right move, and you need to have a well-defined plan in place to roll it out efficiently to minimize adverse impacts on your clients and the business.

The 3 Strategies for Switching 

Typically, strategies to switch BDR platforms generally takes three different forms:

1. Partial

MSPs begin to onboard a few existing or new client sites onto a new platform while retaining the old systems. This doesn’t cure the legacy issues with the old system, but it’s a good way to take on a new platform on a trial basis, to familiarize the technical staff, and to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a new platform.

2. Rolling

This is another conservative approach that slowly converts existing or new client sites in a methodical process over a longer timeline. While this may work for many MSPs, the negative issues experienced with the older, insufficient platform will persist for longer than the next option.

3. Full

Using this method, a strategically implemented plan is enacted to switch over all client sites in a relatively short amount of time. This method requires more planning before the execution, and a large effort in tactical execution. However, the benefits of the new BDR platform are far more immediate, and the MSP can realize greater margins and lower costs far more quickly.

How Do You Know When It's Time to Rip and Replace?

Your staff is spending too much time managing your current BDR platform.

This should be clear. Your highly skilled technical staff should not have to spend large amounts of time managing backups when, given their expertise and experience, you can put them to use on higher-value projects.

You’re unable to bring on new clients and grow your business due to difficulties with your platform.

How would it affect your business to take on a new, large client? Are you confident your business could scale to meet their demands quickly? How many new techs would you need to hire and train? How much would the ramp-up in staffing and training cost before you realized the highest margin on the new business?

The margins on BDR have decreased over time because the TCO has increased.

There is a lot more to the price of a BDR solution than the price from your vendor. For example, if you are contracted into lengthy monthly terms, which are inflexible against the demands of your business, you could see deltas in the total cost of ownership of the solution. If the total cost of ownership (labor costs, cost of platform, soft costs involved in routine service delivery, issue resolution, etc.) has increased over time and your profit margins have subsequently decreased, it’s time to look for a better way.

The platform you use is no longer as competitive with other solutions in the marketplace.

You know how quickly technology changes, and you know how quickly this industry can shift. If your solution is based on older technology, you could easily lose the competitive advantage against local competitors and risk missing new clients and losing existing ones.

If you’re experiencing one or more of these scenarios, your current BDR platform is likely doing as much or more harm than good, preventing you from achieving greater margins and costing your business more money than it should just to run daily. Therefore, it’s a good time to seriously consider making the switch to a new platform.

The Continuum Difference

Fortunately, Continuum BDR, with its seamless integration with the Continuum NOC, is perfectly situated to alleviate these issues and then some. Continuum makes it as easy as possible to make the switch to Continuum BDR, and uses a combination of a hands-on partnerships with account managers to make sure your transition is seamless. Also, utilizing the power of the NOC to help your handle many of the technical details that often make the “rip and replace” process more difficult.

Major decisions such as these can be difficult. It can be easy to understand the benefits of making the switch, but making it a reality can be much more difficult. It takes careful planning, research and a meticulous execution to get it right. However, successful MSPs all seem to share these qualities in stride; all that is needed is the will to get it done.

Is it time for you to switch BDR platforms? Click here to sign up for a demo of Continuum BDR and see for yourself how powerful the platform is.

“Backup to the Future” is a blog series that explores the state of the backup and disaster recovery as a service today—and the challenges that come with offering it—and looks forward to the ongoing new paradigms that are dramatically transforming the sector into tomorrow. In our previous posts, we’ve covered a range of topics, including how to manage the total cost of ownership of BDR, to finding a path to better BDR storage. Check back next Wednesday for another post to learn how to achieve long-term success with your BDR solution!

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Joseph Tavano is Senior Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, with more than 14 years of experience in content creation, content marketing, event marketing, marketing communications, demand generation and editorial across a range of industries. He is the author of several eBooks, blog posts, thought-leadership articles and other marketing and product collateral that enable Continuum partners and IT service providers in the channel to make their businesses stronger and grow their profits. In 2016, he launched the Continuum Podcast Network, which publishes multiple shows every week and reaches tens of thousands of IT professionals every year. A native of Boston, he holds bachelors in English and History from Suffolk University and resides in Salem, Massachusetts.

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