Note to MSPs: You are also a “Business Consultant”, not just a Technical Consultant


Jay Fitzgerald

“The people you do business with are also (about) people and processes,” said Zorus sales director Chris Keith.

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Chris Keith, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Zorus

Zorus’ senior sales executive said that as customers adapt to changing technology, workplace and security challenges, MSPs and other channel players need to think of themselves as “business consultants” in general, not just technology consultants.

Partners still have to present themselves first because it Brings the expertise and capabilities of technical clients.

But he said the business environment has changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the rise of remote work and a corresponding leap in workload, safety and other challenges facing customers, he said.

Therefore, channel players need to listen and explore customer concerns on a variety of business issues, not just technical ones, in order to provide customers with the best solutions. Specifically, they must focus more on the “people and process aspects” of the business, Keith said.

“You’re definitely a business consultant — and definitely the next-gen MSP,” Keith told a room of mostly channel players. “That’s how you want to position yourself.”

He compared the dual-role strategy to how the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell view their business. The NFL is a sports business. But it’s also a major entertainment business, Keith said.

“All this (tech) stuff definitely makes sense,” he said of channel partner priorities. “But when you’re talking to business owners or people who aren’t very skilled, there’s only so much you can cut in.”

Keith added: “The people you do business with are[about]people and processes also. “

CIOs are also increasingly focused on people and process issues, he added.

“(Technology) will always be the core competency of your go-to-market strategy and business model,” he said. “However, from a business expansion and frankly a profit center perspective, we see the biggest areas of opportunity will be in the technical or software implementation of business processes and initiatives.”

He mentioned Zorus’ web filtering and employee engagement products as possible solutions to customer people and process issues.

For example, employee engagement software can help companies track the workload and time of remote workers, Keith said.

“We won’t be looking over someone’s shoulder 24/7, but we’ll be able to see if they come to work, when they come to work, how long they’ve worked on different projects and make sure they’re absolutely following Do what they say,” he said.

Following his XChange demo, Keith told CRN that Zorus will soon announce its intention to consolidate its web filtering and employee engagement products onto a single platform.

Leonard Ozoemena, owner of Washington, D.C.-based MSP Compass Solutions LLP, said he agreed with Keith that due to the changing market landscape, channel partners need to increasingly see themselves as “business advisors” rather than just Technical advisor only.

“We often push our perspectives and solutions to customers,” Ozoemena said. “But to solve a problem, you need to listen to them and try to understand them. Let them talk before you say ‘this is a solution.’

He added: “It could be any type of problem they face. Just listen to them.”

    Get to know Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald is Senior Editor for CRN Cybersecurity. Jay has previously freelanced at The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Boston Magazine, Banker & Tradesman,, Working Knowledge at Harvard Business School, National Bureau of Economic Research and other entities. He can be reached at

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