Connect Then Conquer: Wise-Sync and Sea-Level Bolster ADITS' Growth

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When you're an overworked MSP ploughing through piles of paperwork (and most likely, the last of your coffee supply), sure, building your own integration sounds like a great idea! The reality, however, is nothing but one big drainer - time, money, energy, caffeine...you name it. 

For Australia-based Managed Service Provider, ADITS, that reality was nothing but "a long, tedious process," one that only hindered their company growth. ADITS aspired to scale but "there was no way" that would happen without having strategic alignment throughout their business.

ADITS were facing the wraith of manual entry: Human errors, incomplete financial reporting, and insufficient data departmentalization. At this stressful time, they managed 500 endpoints, with just three staff members. They simply didn't have the capacity and so, they searched for an integrated solution that would put an end to expending resources, a tool that ultimately, "just worked."

Today, almost ten years since finding that solution, ADITS is a rapidly growing and scalable provider managing 7,200+ devices, with a team of 45+ staff members, and a completely automated invoice lifecycle. Irrespective of their 14.4x endpoint growth, ADITS retains the same finance team, all without having to hire a single person more.

From beginning in 2006 as a one-man Managed Service Provider (MSP) in regional Australia, to becoming a now internationally recognised IT MSP with an ever-growing team, ADITS has surely walked the long and rocky road to reconciliation - 

Ashley Darwen, Managing Director, recalls ADITS' situation before implementing Wise-Sync (and later Wise-Pay) as involving a "very manual and tedious process." At the time, ADITS did all of their invoicing in ConnectWise [Manage] and used the desktop accounting package MYOB. This "full manual process" didn't facilitate the interconnectivity needed between platforms, which instead, caused ADITS' team to work even harder to get their numbers to match.  

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With three technical staff members, including one full-time employee in finance administration, whose role was to solely focus on invoicing, ADITS still couldn't trust the numbers. "We had to check multiple times that the files we imported were correct, and even then, we still weren't 100% sure about what ConnectWise said and what MYOB said," says Ashley. 

Why Cloud Accounting Became Crucial 

As ADITS began to expand with multiple offices, it fast became pivotal to make the move from desktop to cloud accounting, in order "to ensure [we] could access the right data in multiple locations." And so, ADITS implemented cloud accounting package Xero, a decision Ashley regards as an even greater imperative today, with "no choice" but to facilitate flexible working. 

"The reason for the move from MYOB to Xero was that it was cloud-based, which MYOB wasn't back then, and the reporting features in Xero are much better. We had opened another office, we had multiple offices, and it's just too hard when you have on-premise software.

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After implementing Xero, ADITS still "weren't confident" that the data from ConnectWise into Xero was correct, which led a determined Ashley to attend an IT Nation Evolve conference where he met CEO-Founder Paul MacNeill. Paul shared why Wise-Sync started and how the solution works, when Ashley fast figured "it was a no-brainer for [us] to jump onboard." 

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Wise-Sync's an integral part of our business, and if it doesn't work - the business cannot work...

...because it joins our two most important platforms together to do the sync. 

For an IT company, the two biggest platforms we have, are ConnectWise Manage, our PSA tool, and our financial package; these are the two big things in our business, but the only way that they can talk to each other, is through Wise-Sync. 

Ashley Darwen
Managing Director, ADITS

Bridging the Information Gap

With Wise-Sync, ADITS' team maintain the utmost confidence in the numbers, with the up-to-date financials they can use to both empower their business and inform their customers. Ashley shares, their team was "a lot happier" after implementing Wise-Sync; a feeling one would naturally expect for any employee no longer having to double check the numbers (or work overtime). 

Fast track to almost a decade later since becoming a Wise-Sync customer, and just over a year since implementing Wise-Pay, ADITS has grown from just three to now 45+ staff members. Despite experiencing immense client growth, they have only one full-time employee in their finance team to perform these financial ADHOC duties that the automated solution stack of Wise-Sync, Wise-Pay, ConnectWise Manage, and Xero, has otherwise streamlined.

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"We've scaled with the same amount of finance people." ADITS' finance team comprises 2.5 employees "but they actually do HR and procurement as well," says Ashley. Now, these otherwise time-consuming and menial tasks, only account for an incredibly small part of their finance team's responsibilities.
 

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We always wanted a single place where customers could go and view all of their data from us to them. The problem was, it had to be useful information. The fact that now, Wise-Sync's able to pull in all of the information we need, it's become a central spot for all of our key data. 

And the Wise-Sync team - one thing I will say, and this is so unusual for businesses in IT, is that every team member at Wise-Sync is knowledgeable about the product, and they're all passionate about the product, so that's a huge credit to Paul and the culture within your organisation. 


From the customer's perspective, the ease of Wise-Pay (we've added a 'Pay Now' button on our email template), with scheduled payments, automatic payments, and so on, is providing all of these options that just make it easier for customers to pay - 

We're still quite new to Wise-Pay but I think in the long-term, it'll be a game-changer in the debtor space...not just from our side, but I think from the customer's side as well; it's a feature that ConnectWise [Manage] doesn't have, so to be able to have a partner like Wise-Pay to do it, that's just a bigger better for us. More recently, the integration into the ConnectWise portal with Wise-Pay, will be very beneficial and it'll make customers' lives easier as well. 

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"Wise-Sync's always reinventing things so it's all of those little things, that add up to make a good customer experience - that's an added benefit on top of all the other normal stuff that happens," says Ashley.

Along Came Sea-Level: "The Big Brother" Every MSP Needs

There's always room for progress, and one of the biggest mistakes a business can make, is staying complacent. We spoke to James Davis, ANZ Lead Coach and Managing Director of the recently Pax8-acquired Sea-Level Operations, on the importance of expert operational coaching of IT MSPs, and in turn, putting your best business foot forward. 

James heads Sea-Level in the Asia-Pacific region, where his Canberra office was recently acquired by distributor Pax8, who own Sea-Level US, thereby unlocking the unrivalled potential to enable and empower MSP partners with greater resources and outreach than ever before

Unlike an average consultant, James is a passionate coach (not a consultant), who formerly managed a MSP; he's seen it all, and he's lived through it all. James knows exactly what it takes to run a successful MSP, and how to strengthen your business from within; a specialised culmination of having the right tools, refined processes, and being part of a wider community where you genuinely feel supported. And of course, he'll be there every step of the way to help keep you accountable

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Some business owners are so used to feeling pain, purely because we’re self-taught; we don’t know any other way, we get so busy, and it just becomes normal - and the longer you do that, it becomes ingrained in your identity. And if you’re not doing that, it doesn’t feel like you’re working - 

The highest most valuable thing a TSP should be doing, is focusing on sales and client engagement; everything else should be process driven, and someone in power to run it - no matter what size you are. That doesn’t mean it’s fully automated, that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect utopia - it means the majority of things are getting done, and we’re managing by exception... and that doesn’t happen overnight.


Most MSP owners are now 45-55 looking at exiting their business in the next 5-10 years. If you’re not starting to change now, then nothing’s going to change -

Most TSPs aren’t good at sales. We’re leaving a lot of money on the table but not maximising our efforts; we don’t need to get rid of admin people - we can shift their role and responsibilities, even to sales administration, to drive a lot more consistent sales that will drive margin and make them billable as opposed to spending 30-50 hours per week dealing with low-level administration tasks that don’t need to be done.

Often helping clients to be able to shift their focus and hire an outsourced bookkeeper like Rosy Small Business Services who especially caters to MSPs, aligns to service leadership, and knows ConnectWise Manage, Autotask, Wise-Sync and Wise-Pay, creates a lot more value in the first place - and if you add to that, you’re getting a person who already knows your business, so you can create a sales process structure. And all of a sudden, we can sell all of these things that aren’t being done. 

My former action coach, half the time I was having to explain to them our business model, and what we do, and the tools we have… whereas you guys [Wise-Sync] already know it, and you’re telling us stuff we don’t even know in our own industry - and it makes a huge difference.

So, when we go through and talk about that process of utilizing a tool like Wise-Sync, and that process of realigning the accounts and GL mapping, what’s really important for owners, isn’t to fob it off - it’s when you go through the process of onboarding, you need to be involved in the process to do it, and treat the consulting engagement as a method of coaching - make it an important process to focus your time on, and listen and learn and ask questions as it’s being set up, and do the homework.

This is going to open up a whole world of thought that you never knew was there, and you’re going to be educated on what it all means - and that knowledge is incredibly powerful. The time to learn and implement it correctly is so valuable. I know we’re all busy, but these are the things that you need to invest your time in properly to do it right," says James.

For business owners like Ashley, having an MSP consultant only strengthens the scalability of ADITS; they have the right tools in place, but now they needed the right business processes - and that's exactly where Sea-Level comes in.

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Sea-Level encompasses the whole business. The first piece that ADITS is focussed on, is service delivery; to ensure we have the right skillset, processes, number of devices, staffing levels, ratios and endpoints. 

We've grown from one to near forty people, and over time, processes change and things change, and you have this managed chaos - 

You need to implement things to work, efficiencies are critical, and processes need to be in place. Having James (and Sea-Level) is to make sure all of our processes are best practice. And having someone who's already been through this process, consulting you on that - is so beneficial.


To find out more about how Sea-Level can help you, with MSP Operations Coaching, Value Creation Coaching, MSP Financial Coaching, Back Office Services, and more expert operational coaching services available, you can visit their website here


Altogether Now: A Final Word to the Wise...

If you're in the same boat that ADITS once was, whether that means contemplating building your own integration, or perhaps you've identified the need for an integration but are hesitant to embrace change at a cost unknown to you (our Wise-Sync team's always willing to provide a breakdown for you) - 

ADITS' Managing Director, Ashley Darwen, shares his final words from one business leader to another: 

ADITS + Sea-Level - Snippets (4)

There are two things: Definitely invest in the right tools to start with, and set everything up properly. And two, join a peer group - lots of MSPs don't talk to each other, especially those within the same region, and being a part of a peer group like Sea-Level or Evolve, helps you to realise all of your pain points, which are the same that everybody else has -

You're not alone, and it's not isolating, so you can learn from your mistakes, which again, are the same mistakes everyone beside you has made or is about to make, and you get to make contacts within the industry and use them as a sounding board -  

So, reach out and join a peer group or Sea-Level, because everybody's in the exact same boat."