Learning from our international telecom MSPs and partners

April 29, 2021

One of the things I enjoy most about Datagate Telecom Billing, is that we are an international business, with an international team and international partners, serving an international group of MSP clients. With an ecosystem like we have at Datagate, we’ve learned, and continue to learn so much about how the MSP Telecom business operates around the world.

The MSP industry itself is strong on networking, learning and sharing experiences & knowhow. This is evident in the online forum Reddit and in the great selection of well-attended MSP industry conferences, such as IT Nation, DattoCon, ConnectIT, Channel Partners, ITExpo, Canadian Channel Partners and the list goes on.

At Datagate, we’ve established a series of monthly webinars called “Talking VoIP with Datagate” where we talk with selected partners and clients about their experiences, offerings and business in general. This month we’re talking with Allegiant Technology about telecom offerings to the MSP community, and next month we’ll be talking with Eric Hernaez, the founder and former president of SkySwitch, who recently joined Datagate’s board of directors and is now the CEO of a new technology business called RabbitRun.

Our observations – what is common to all and specific to some MSP geographies

Here is some of what Datagate has observed about the MSP Telecom industry in the countries we operate in, which are the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

  1. Worldwide, the demand for MSP services appears to be at an all-time high. Most MSPs serve businesses, and the Covid-19 pandemic has increased business reliance on IT and communication systems. The main challenge for most MSPs appears to be keeping up with demand.
  2. More and more businesses are preferring to buy their telecom systems and services from their IT provider. Increasingly, IT and telecommunications are becoming one and the same.
  3. In the United States, telecom tax and regulatory compliance is a big topic and major concern for MSPs who sell telecom services. This is why Datagate has invested so heavily in this area, supporting the best telecom tax engines and partnering with the best telecom tax & compliance service providers. Tax and regulatory compliance is not a major concern for MSPs outside of the United States, however.
  4. MSPs who provide IT and Telecom services commonly use a PSA (Professional Service Automation) system, such as ConnectWise Manage, Datto AutoTask, Kaseya BMS and others. They typically want to process and be able to see both their IT and their telecom business in the same PSA environment. This is actually why Datagate is so successful, because our strategy is to enable telecom billing for these PSA’s.
  5. Inside the United States, the most popular accounting system for MSPs is QuickBooks by a big margin. In second place would be Xero.
  6. Outside the United States (particularly Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand), MSPs more commonly use Xero for their accounting system, by a big margin.
  7. Globally, most MSPs resell UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) or VoIP telecom services provided by a wholesale provider. Wholesale providers can either be “White Label” (where MSPs sell the service to their customers on their own invoice and take responsibility for the tax and regulatory compliance), or have an Agency or Referral model (where the MSP effectively outsources the billing, tax and compliance to the provider). Examples of White Label wholesale providers are SkySwitch (US & Canada), OITVoIP (US), Gamma (UK), Access4 (AU) and Spark Wholesale (NZ). Examples of Agency wholesale providers are Allegiant Technology (US), MedTel Communications (US) and WaveFly (US).
  8. Microsoft Teams is a very strong driver of business for MSPs and the ability of Teams to act as a softphone for making telephone calls through a Cloud PBX is the most popular product offering around for MSPs around the world. The interesting thing about Teams is that it further unifies the worlds of IT and communications – so much so that we’ve added the ability to bill Teams calling to the Datagate telecom billing engine. Microsoft Teams is introducing a lot of MSPs to the world of telecom. TeamMate Technology in the US are doing great things enabling telecom providers to support Teams, as are TeleSmart (NZ & AU) with their Teams calling offer to MSPs. Teams calling is now a “must have” and most of Datagate’s telecom partners are offering this.

It’s a great time to be part of the MSP world, and we look forward to continuing our learning process, especially through Datagate’s “Talking VoIP with Datagate” monthly webinar series. I hope you’ll join us.

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