It was a surprise when Josh Fristoe, cofounder of Kosh Solutions, mentioned that not only was Kosh on Channel Futures list of top 501 global managed services providers, but we were #1 in New Mexico!
Kosh typically makes the 501 list, but the #1 Managed IT Service Provider in New Mexico is very special!
The Channel Futures rankings are a bit different because they are based on the financial statements of the companies. (See here they rank the companies.)
To apply for this award, each company submits financial docs that are certified by both the finance officer and the CEO. There's a long list of questions that dissect the numbers of the business. This allows Channel Futures to look beyond overall revenue or employee count and get down to the fundamentals of each business.
We're proud to have won #1 Managed IT Service Provider in New Mexico and #7 in the Mountain West States. We provide:
I sat down with Kosh's CEO, Travis Alsup, to ask him about this win and see if we can unpack some of the efforts that pushed Kosh to #1.
What initiatives at Kosh do you think have had the most impact on receiving this award?
About eight years ago, we began changing the relationship between Kosh and our customers. The goal was to move away from the highly transactional "break-fix" model to a model of ongoing long-term relationships. Now, we view each of our customers as partnerships meant to endure and be mutually beneficial year after year.
In the 15+ years we've been in business, technology has significantly changed - that's part of the fun. Over the years, we've been able to keep our customers up to date and provide outstanding customer service. In part, this position of agility and strength comes from the move to working exclusively with customers that have service contracts.
What metrics have you been watching to guide the overall direction of the company?
I watch quite a few metrics, but the three that seem to have been the biggest needle movers are:
Ticket response times
Customer Satisfaction Scores
These items naturally lead from one to the next. By retaining employees longer, Kosh sees stability in service and a consistent increase in efficiency. With long-term employees that continue to improve themselves and learn more about every customer, the time it takes to resolve tickets goes down. By fixing customer tickets faster and more efficiently, customer satisfaction increases. Happy customers tend to give us good referrals to other companies in their circle of influence. Referrals have been the main component contributing to Kosh's growth.
What business opportunity is most important to you going forward?
One of the main needs that we have identified in our community is cyber security. The security space is a hotbed and will continue to drive demand in both the software and service space with all customers.
As a managed IT service provider, we're at the front lines of the cyber security battles. Not only do we protect ourselves but we're looking out for our customers. We have some amazing technicians with solid security experience. Just about every week there's something new to figure out and defend against. There's a lot you can do on the technical side to defend against cyber-attacks, but it's the human element that usually lets the cybercriminals gain access. Helping our customers train staff is just one of the security areas Kosh focuses on. We also offer free Employee Assessments and Dark Web Scans for non-customers as a way to help our community fight back against cybercrime.
How long does it usually take to see the results of your internal initiatives?
There're many pieces that have to fit together for the initiatives to come to fruition. To go from concept to operations can sometimes take many months depending on the complexity and scale.
What's the biggest internal change over the past 5 years Kosh made that has led to the best results?
Focusing our product offering and services to better align with our customers' needs. It's taken years to tighten up our offerings and not be distracted by shiny objects elsewhere. For example, we used to have a Point of Sale division. We were servicing many hotels and restaurants but at some point we realized we can't be a good fit for every business. We divested the Point of Sale business unit to focus and better serve our fully managed IT customers. We've become really good at what we do! I'm sure it's no surprise that as we trimmed out products and services we saw growth. Tuning our products and services is an ongoing effort that continues to pay off for Kosh and our customers.
What's the biggest external change in the past 5 years that Kosh has had to adapt to?
The massive shift to work from home. This goes for Kosh, our customers, and even our partner vendors - at this point, every company has at least some of its workforce working away from an office. Internally, we had to identify roles that can work remotely and those that can't. We also had to put a few parameters around eligibility for work from home. In general, working from home is a perk that can be enjoyed by Kosh staff as is appropriate for the position, location, and team. With that said, we like to have everyone that works at Kosh have certain days where they are in the office. The face-to-face time fosters a better connection than if the only interactions are through a screen. Another hurdle around work from home is the fact that training a new employee from afar doesn't seem to go as well as when they are in the office sitting next to a mentor.
There're always variables and exceptions, and we try and work with those as they come up. At Kosh one of our core values is the "cul-de-sac," which means we take care of each other. I take that to heart and make a lot of decisions through that lens.
At the end of the day there doesn't seem to be a one size fits all answer, so it's important to work through all considerations with each individual.
Congratulations and thank you for sharing!
If you want to learn more about our IT work in New Mexico, visit the about us page and this article talking about our work with the City of Albuquerque's IT. Also, here are some good free cyber security resources to be aware of.