IT’S TIME TO KILL THE MYTH that an MSP can be an expert in every technology and every solution a customer requires. Instead of being reluctant to tell a customer that we are partnering with another provider who has skills we don’t, or worrying a competitor will steal our business, we need to switch the focus to: How can we provide the best possible solution for the customer?
For TeamLogic IT North Palm Beach, integrating partners who are our local competitors for our client engagements is how everybody wins. The client receives the necessary expertise, and we all grow our businesses. I use Microsoft as my model. In the early days, Microsoft owned the entire customer engagement, but today works with competitors like Red Hat and Oracle and allows the purchase of other vendors’ products on the Azure marketplace.
I gained deep experience with Microsoft and the enterprise market as head of sales for Geminis Computer, my family’s business in Argentina that services companies like General Motors and is the biggest Microsoft partner in the country. Geminis Computer’s foray to the U.S. market started by mainly implementing Microsoft infrastructure. Then when Office 365 rolled out it became the favorite partner in security.
Together with my husband, in 2021 we decided to move our family here and buy a TeamLogic IT franchise. The SMB space was new to me, and the U.S. market does things differently than Argentina. I wanted the guidance TeamLogic IT provides to navigate everything from taxes to sales and marketing to customer engagement and networking.
We learned quickly that businesses here network and engage heavily with their communities, so we got involved with the local chambers of commerce and I joined a group called Executive Women of the Palm Beach Foundation. In addition, I’ve been on the board of the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners for five years, and president of the Argentina chapter for 10, so when I told peers about my move to Florida, they started making connections for me.
Working with other IT solutions providers is something we have experience with. Within the TeamLogic IT franchise, we can tap into shared talent across the country. Conversely, my peers have been able to leverage our expertise in selling to and configuring larger customers as well as our deep knowledge of Azure, cybersecurity, and Modern Workspace. We can also take advantage of collaborating with Geminis’ 60 consultants.
Partnering with peers outside an MSP’s market is certainly nothing new, of course, but working with local competitors can take some convincing on the part of both the other MSPs and customers. When I began reaching out to peers in the North Palm Beach area about working together, the owner of one of our biggest competitor’s was suspicious that we would try to poach their customers. To prove this model could work, I offered to integrate them with some of our current customers that needed their particular skill set. It was a win-win for both of us, and we now have a non-compete agreement when we share customers.
Partnering also eliminates the need to hire expensive specialists. For instance, we have a lot of experience with Microsoft Intune and endpoint management, a hard-to-find skill we can bring to the table for our partners.
On the customer side, whenever we say we are going to work with other local providers who are specialists in Red Hat or Cisco, for example, the surprised response is often, “Aren’t you competitors?” And we say, “We are working together to bring you the best solution.”
Of course, the margins are lower whenever you share revenue, but we believe MSPs should switch the focus on that too. There are certain opportunities we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of without a partner with the right skills. For those times, I believe it's better to have half of something than everything of nothing. Together, we can deliver what the customer truly needs, and the entire ecosystem grows.
Photo: Jason Nuttle