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Up, Up, And Away With Co-Managed IT

Dec 22, 2020

Scale Your MSP With The Right Partners

The IT services channel is a diverse collection of technical support firms following a wide variety of business models. There are typically few similarities between MSP organizations, from the customers they support to the portfolio of services they deliver across the spectrum. By design, each provider builds an offering to match its local business community’s needs – or regional or national companies if the firm truly embraces the managed services concept. The options are infinite.

With different models and customer requirements, growth opportunities are just as diverse. Many MSPs are looking at various new ways to scale their businesses, from adding valuable services to their portfolio to increase wallet-share to building out their vertical knowledge and expertise. Co-managed IT is an option for virtually every channel partner.

A situational possibility

With the pandemic, a growing number of IT services companies recognize the opportunity to tap into larger markets, helping companies address service and support gaps in their time of need. The rush to remote work brought on by state and local business restrictions left many organizations, regardless of size, scrambling to get employees the tools needed to carry out their job responsibilities.

Even some enterprise companies found themselves with too few resources to effectively support that swift of a transformation to a distributed workforce. That situation presents a perfect opportunity for MSPs. IT services firms that can expertly design, procure, implement, and support remote work solutions are perfectly positioned to capitalize on all the current disruptions. Now is the time to help new companies navigate the new normal in their time of need.

Of course, MSPs must ensure their existing clients are well supported before taking on even more responsibilities, especially with all the unknowns of today’s business environment. Hiring to ensure your firm can support additional clients (without knowing if the services you currently provide will still be needed after the pandemic is over) can be a very risky proposition. Taking an ultra-conservative approach by committing only to support contracts that fit within your existing tech bandwidth could leave money on the table. Promising to deliver services beyond your current capabilities can negatively affect quality and customer satisfaction, if not client retention and MRR over the long-term.

Co-managed IT and scalability go hand-in-hand

Change is uncomfortable for many business owners. However, as MSPs know, being on the leading edge − not to be confused with the more costly and risky bleeding-edge − drives higher margins. Businesses rely on IT firms that can adapt to adversity and change and can assist leaders as they transition their operations.

Remote work is just one of those current requirements. In addition to supporting the SMB with all their core technical needs, MSPs can help those clients adopt more complex or scalable solutions with enterprise-level capabilities. You can partner with capable tech partners to deliver that support to save time and resources.

Inversely, MSPs can build out unique specializations and provide that expertise to larger organizations, including mid-market and enterprise-level companies with their own IT departments. Those businesses may require assistance monitoring and managing their new remote and hybrid workforces or have technical gaps in specific areas. Either way, as an MSP, you can come to their rescue.

Aim higher with new offerings

A co-managed IT offering can combine the in-house technical capabilities of your clients with the expertise of your MSP, as well as other third parties. This emerging hybrid approach allows your firm to maximize the use of each company’s resources and offload unfamiliar or burdensome activities that may negatively affect service delivery − and your bottom line. Co-managed IT lets MSPs maintain control, grow wallet-share with existing clients, gain a foothold in new businesses, and best leverage their assets.

What deliverables can you include in that portfolio?

Enterprise Accounting Applications

QuickBooks is a suitable solution for most small businesses, but at some point, companies may look for additional features as their sales and personnel demands increase. Most MSPs could and probably should question the value of supporting these solutions on their own. Significant investments may be required for training and support. Dealing with those typically less channel-friendly vendors and their personnel can also consume a lot of time for IT firms unfamiliar with these tools. However, selling and co-managing Microsoft Dynamics or Oracle’s NetSuite accounting software with an experienced third-party can strengthen the experience for your team (and your clients).

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

Similarly, as your customers scale their businesses and add new members to their sales and account management teams, they will need robust systems to handle information and track a substantial number of activities. CRM applications fill that role. Solutions range from Zendesk and Zoho to the more extensive (and enterprise-capable) offerings of Microsoft and Salesforce. MSPs can easily support any of these options with the right technical partner.

Business Intelligence

Information is a major asset for business leaders. The problem with collecting and storing data is that, as organizations grow, leveraging the sheer volume of information gets more complicated. Managers need tools that can crunch the appropriate numbers to highlight trends and issues, giving them the ability to analyze various aspects of the business to make more informed decisions. Commonly referred to as BI or big data solutions, MSPs can partner to deliver options from companies such as SAP, Zoho, IBM, and many other vendors.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Manufacturers, professional services businesses, and supply chain companies rely heavily on a variety of resources. As those organizations expand, managing a growing number of daily activities can be challenging. ERP applications help businesses optimize procurement, project management, risk management, compliance, and supply chain operations. MSPs can co-manage implementation and support for their clients who need greater planning, budgeting, and operational capabilities.

Other Valued Business Tools

What other services and solutions would your clients value that you might not want to support on your own? Payment processing is a good example. While that service is a growing need for the business community as we shift to online payments, creating a ripe market opportunity, some MSPs would prefer to avoid the related security compliance-related headaches. Delivering collections and payment processing capabilities through a program like REV (from ConnectBooster) can increase your firm’s MRR while addressing a major concern for your clients.

Co-managed IT is a win-win

Collaboration is a means of solving complex business challenges. Leveraging the collective resources of peers, vendors, and the internal IT teams of your larger clients can multiply bandwidth and available skill sets. Co-managed environments allow MSPs to focus more attention on their core responsibilities and capabilities and continue to provide a high level of support: no distractions and no unnecessary investments.

Create a strategic alignment that allows your team to meet the business community’s rising needs and take on larger clients. Co-management takes the burden off IT departments and expands everyone’s technical and support capabilities without breaking the budget.

Are you positioned to help IT departments accomplish their missions, whether dealing with issues during the pandemic or building new solutions for the future? A co-managed IT relationship may be the perfect answer to both scenarios.

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