Managed Services: Testing the Waters Before Diving In
For some businesses, managed services is an all-or-nothing proposition from the start. Instead, Real Time Consultants moved to a hybrid model before jumping into the MSP pool.
By John Iaccarino
TO HEAR SOME people tell it, managed services is an all-or-nothing proposition. You’re either in it or you’re not. I respectfully beg to differ.
Take my company, Mahwah, N.J.-based Real Time Consultants Inc., for example. It took its time before becoming an MSP. We were aware of all the excitement surrounding managed services, and we liked the sound of delivering proactive maintenance and earning recurring revenue. But we were also pretty happy with our existing business model.
For years, we’d been selling our customers blocks of time that they could exchange for services as needed. They liked that arrangement a lot, because they wound up paying us only when they needed our help with something. And we liked it too, because it helped us build a thriving IT practice. So rather than make a wholesale switch to managed services, we decided to create a sort of hybrid model instead.
We still sell our clients blocks of time, but for a modest monthly fee we now also provide them with round-the-clock server and PC monitoring. Instead of forcing our customers to do business with us in a totally new way, we simply layered extra value on top of what we were doing for them before.
So far, that approach has benefited everyone. For us, adding managed services to our existing offerings made becoming an MSP easier. We didn’t have to worry about getting the pricing on our new offerings exactly right, because we weren’t betting our whole business on them. Similarly, our account managers didn’t have to learn an entirely new sales philosophy, and our technical team didn’t have to master a totally new set of job responsibilities.