IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Putting the ‘Co’ into Managed Services

Offering co-managed services scales easily with your current model but requires developing a true partnership with internal IT personnel. By Colleen Frye
Reader ROI: 
CO-MANAGED IT involves extending MSP systems, tools, and processes to an internal IT department.
CHALLENGES can include ensuring that internal IT follows procedures and documents all the required ticketing information.
GAINING THE TRUST of both internal IT and ownership is key to building a good working partnership.

IF YOU’RE ONLY PITCHING managed services to businesses that want to outsource their IT department, or don’t have any IT staff, you’re missing a recurring revenue opportunity: co-managed IT. With this model, an MSP extends its systems, tools, methodologies, and processes to an internal IT department to manage some or all of its support and infrastructure.

"We're going to give you a ticketing system. We're going to give you documentation [and] procedures, all using the tools that we know and love, and we're going to let you then use those tools," explains Bob Coppedge, CEO of Stowe, Ohio-based Simplex-IT, and author of The MSP’s Survival Guide to Co-Managed IT Services.

Chris Coluccio

It’s a partnership between the MSP and internal IT. “We’re really offering up the best practices and knowledge that we have [gained] over the years of how to manage a help desk and how to use these tools and get them up and running very quickly,” says Chris Coluccio, CEO of Techworks Consulting, an MSP in Bohemia, N.Y.

Almost all the tools MSPs use today can be extended for a co-managed model, Coppedge says. For example, the ConnectWise Manage PSA system has an add-on called StreamlineIT and Datto’s Autotask PSA has Taskfire. These licenses allow a client’s internal IT staff to handle ticketing, documentation, and time reporting, plus have secure access to a management portal.

Delivering co-managed IT services does not differ much from what MSPs already do, Coluccio says. Using StreamlineIT, Techworks gives clients their own service desk and their own logins. “There's a lot that goes into setting it up properly, getting your dashboard set up right, getting them their KPIs and metrics that they need for their organization, getting them access to the systems and the security,” Coluccio notes. “Once you've set it up, it's not much different.”

And if your traditional MSP model is profitable, your co-managed one should be too, Coppedge says. In fact, Coluccio stresses, “Some of our most profitable clients are in that model.”

About the Author

Colleen Frye's picture

Colleen Frye is ChannelPro's managing editor.

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