How PC Portal operationalized its business with ConnectWise Manage
PC Portal is a growing IT Managed Services business based in Wisconsin. Discover how CEO and founder Joel Hynes used ConnectWise Manage® and ConnectWise Sell® to increase operational efficiency and accomplish what all executives aspire to: working on the business, not in the business.
"I look at ConnectWise as an extension of what we do. It’s another arrow in our quiver. It's really the building block for what we use to run our business to make our customers effective and safe and secure at the same time."
“ConnectWise has given me the opportunity to grow sales and develop a marketing strategy. Being in a small organization, I wear a lot of hats, and one of those hats is the sales side. ConnectWise has given us the capacity to make my job more efficient so I can spend more time doing [sales] engagements. It’s enabled more automation to a degree, and it’s made my job easier.”
Joel Hynes launched PC Portal, a Wisconsin-based IT Managed Services business, in 2004. For 12 years, it functioned as a side business. But in 2016, that all changed when Joel decided to pursue the business full time and grow it beyond its original staff of one.
Within the company’s first two years of full-time operation, PC Portal opened its first office in downtown Wausau. Joel hired his first technician, and together they worked to service and grow their existing customer base. By 2019, PC Portal had hired two operations employees and two additional technicians, driven by a goal of growing the organization while continuing to increase business efficiency.
At a high level, PC Portal develops tech stacks to help its customers meet three key objectives: collaborate better with their clients, stay secure, and be efficient. It didn’t take long for Joel to learn that delivering on this promise would require the use of Professional Services Automation (PSA) and Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) tools. The growing PC Portal needed a solution that could integrate into the entire organization, generating enough efficiency to enable C-level leadership like Joel to work on the business, rather than in it.
After a brief stint with a different vendor, PC Portal found the efficiency it was looking for through ConnectWise Manage® and ConnectWise Sell®—and the now three-year partnership has resulted in measurable operational efficiency and customer response time results.
Finding the right PSA tool
PC Portal learned the hard way that not every PCA or CPQ tool is built equally. The company’s initial vendor wasn’t delivering the results it had hoped for, so it turned to ConnectWise.
“I started hearing great information about what ConnectWise Manage could offer the organization,” Joel says. “We made the change about a year and a half ago, and we made sure to do it right. We went through the whole process, worked with vendors, and matured deployment to connect ConnectWise Manage to all of our operations. We built the solution around the organization, taking the time to understand how it integrates and how it works from management, technician, and customer perspectives—and how all of those use cases interconnect.”
The multi-month process of transitioning to a new PSA solution is notoriously difficult, often resulting in unwanted business disruption. For PC Portal, getting to the long-term efficiency gains the team sought was well worth a little short-term pain.
The company was also attempting a greater movement away from legacy tools and toward leading-edge, next-generation solutions, and ConnectWise Manage fit that profile. Soon after committing to the transition, PC Portal discovered significant differences between its old and new PSA tools.
“Using ConnectWise’s next-generation customer portal has given us the opportunity to be more efficient and understand how our customers interact with the tool,” Joel says. “Ninety-five percent or more of our customers use it, and because single-sign-on integrates with the ConnectWise Manage customer portal, we can receive tickets in a variety of different ways—through emails, phone calls, and text messages. It really is the central cog for how we work with our customers. It’s a great communication tool, and we use it every day. It’s integral to what we do.”
Measuring the results of the transition
Since implementing ConnectWise Manage, PC Portal has significantly improved its customer response times and technician-to-customer engagement, and received consistent positive feedback from customers. As the CEO, Joel has gained clear visibility into where everyone is at any given time and who is working on which tickets. He can check each ticket’s status and easily view employees’ time entries to see what’s been completed, by whom, and when. From a management standpoint, these insights have enabled the organization to maintain a flexible work-from-home policy, keeping work flowing and productivity high throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to ConnectWise Manage, PC Portal uses ConnectWise Sell, giving Joel—as head of sales—unmatched visibility into the company's sales processes.
“Operationally, ConnectWise Manage is great. From a sales perspective, ConnectWise Sell is phenomenal,” Joel says. “One of the biggest benefits is seeing what customers are doing and what they’ve reviewed. They can give me feedback directly through the platform and then electronically sign the document in the same place. Because it’s integrated with ConnectWise Manage, I don’t have to go through a third party. It ties in with our product catalog and implementation board and gives us a unified workflow and process. The more visibility the better, and ConnectWise Sell does a great job of that. The ease of use and how easily we can provide quotes back to our customers is fantastic.”
As the head of a 10-person company, Joel is personally thrilled to have a tool that takes a lot of the weight off his shoulders and allows him to focus on strategic tasks that fuel growth.
“ConnectWise has given me the opportunity to grow sales and develop a marketing strategy,” he says. “Being in a small organization, I wear a lot of hats, and one of those hats is the sales side. ConnectWise has given us the capacity to make my job more efficient so I can spend more time doing sales engagements. It’s enabled more automation to a degree, and it’s made my job easier.”
Learning and growing together
Since making the decision to switch to ConnectWise, PC Portal has not looked back.
"I look at ConnectWise as an extension of what we do,” Joel says. “It’s another arrow in our quiver. It's really the building block for what we use to run our business to make our customers effective and safe and secure at the same time."
In addition to the technological benefits, partnering with ConnectWise has given Joel an entryway into The IT Nation® community, helping him to engage with other executives who are focused on working on their business, not in their business. This community also allows him to communicate with the vendors that provide the services and software he needs to make that dream a reality.
As for what's next, PC Portal’s primary goal is to continue growing through sales and marketing. Joel knows that’s an objective shared by many fellow managed services leaders. His advice to them?
“Start small, and start simple,” Joel says. “You’ve got to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Know that it’s a process. Make lists and follow them. Prioritize and execute.”