Making Co-Managed IT Work

BY IT GLUE | August 04, 2020

An increasing number of MSPs are finding themselves getting into the co-managed space. The economic rationale is fairly straightforward – the opportunity is growing. Consider this: technology is increasingly complex, good tech talent is hard to find, and businesses are becoming more and more dependent on technology. Put those three trends together and the demand for IT is increasing, and to the point where even larger SMBs – more on the medium end of that – are finding it difficult to handle everything in house. Enter the managed service provider.

So that’s why we’re seeing more MSPs get into co-managed environments. There’s a need in the marketplace for it. But a co-managed scenario is different from a straight managed services scenario. In a more traditional managed services scenario, the MSP does everything. The client doesn’t have anybody who is particularly technical on their team, so the MSP is rightfully wary of letting the client touch anything. This is why we created IT Glue Lite accounts back in the day – to provide information to such clients on a need to know basis but in a way where they can’t actually edit anything.

In a co-managed situation, of course, there’s at least one IT technician working for the client. A basic scenario would be that the client has 1.5 FTEs of tech work, so they hire the one person and then outsource the rest. That can take a lot of different looks, depending on individual client needs and the skill set of the person or people that comprise the client’s IT team.

Making co-managed work requires a high level of three Cs – cooperation, coordination and communication. Cooperation is pretty simple – neither the MSP nor the internal IT are engaging in any sort of turf battles. If you were once the sole provider and they hired internal IT, it’s honestly best to run with this and not undermine the internal employee. After all, the ethical approach to business is to do whatever is in your client’s best interest.

Coordination means setting up clear lines with respect to who does what, and ensuring that everybody is on the same page about when you, the MSP, is going to get called in. Have as much of this in writing, too, because it’s going to affect your billing. But the important thing is just knowing who is responsible for what, and by what means you’ll coordinate on any projects that might involve both you and the internal IT team.

There’s a million ways to communicate, but people often overlook the fact that these types of scenarios work best when everybody is using the same tools. Having a single source of truth makes things like coordination and communication much easier. So how do you get a single source of truth? The same way you do when it’s just the MSP – documentation.

Some MSPs prefer that their co-managed partners have seats of IT Glue and access to just their one organization. Others prefer to use MyGlue for this – it mostly depends if you expect the internal IT folks to update the documentation or not. When you’re using MyGlue to facilitate communication, you’re empowering the internal IT people to do their jobs more effectively, and lean on you less for routine tasks. If you make better margins on project work than help desk, you want the internal folks to handle the routine stuff.

Because every co-managed situation is different, there’s no one singular way to build out your single source of truth. But even if the internal IT team and the MSP are using different tools for things like monitoring or backup, chances are that those tools are going to integrate with IT Glue. As the industry standard for IT documentation, and the only one with enterprise grade security, getting everybody on the same page – or same pane of glass – is one of the easiest sells, because of how it improves communication and collaboration in co-managed environments.

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