IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Turning Customers into Partners

With a co-managed IT services offering, Simplex-IT extends its tools and processes to internal IT departments for a win-win partnership. By Bob Coppedge

CO-MANAGED IT SERVICES, or CoMITS as my company calls it, is a true partnership between us and a company’s internal IT department. The idea is to extend a subset of our systems, tools, methodologies, and processes to an organization’s IT staff, which is typically one to three people at the prospects we target, and work with them as a team. We’ve had a great deal of success with this model, which represents about 50% of our new business in the last two years.

Small or solo IT departments are often completely overwhelmed. They don’t have tools and processes in place. They don’t have time to implement monitoring or ticketing systems. They don’t have time for documentation or to learn new technology. They haven’t updated their infrastructure.

Quite often, they turn to what we call “the seagull method.” They bring in a vendor who will squawk, make a lot of noise, scatter a lot of droppings, and then fly away, leaving the IT person holding the bag. The CoMITS model, in contrast, empowers IT people by providing the tools and methods they need to manage their company’s infrastructure.

If you’re considering CoMITS, however, start with introspection: Would this be an easy extension of what you’re already doing? If you’ve got a good profit margin built into your traditional managed services and you use the same rigors here, it should be just as profitable. On the other hand, if you have to invent a whole new practice, it just won’t work because your profit margins will be offset by getting tools and processes in place.

Almost all the tools we use as MSPs can be extended to work with this CoMITS model. Take the ConnectWise Manage PSA system, for example, which has an add-on called StreamlineIT. Autotask has Taskfire. They’re essentially licenses for that internal IT person to handle all the ticketing, documentation, and time reporting. You allow access to the management portal for just that customer’s resources and charge a recurring monthly fee just as you would your managed customers.

3 Flavors

Simplex-IT offers three flavors of CoMITS. With full CoMITS, we charge a monthly fee for all of a co-managed customer’s IT needs, including firewalls, backups, anti-virus, cybersecurity training, and more. They’re responsible for maintaining everything with the tools we’ve provided. If the internal IT person chooses to escalate a ticket to us, we take care of it and that’s a billable service on top of the MRR.

With the second option, internal IT folks are responsible for the servers and infrastructure, and Simplex-IT manages the end users and desktops. The third options is we handle the servers and infrastructure and the customer manages the desktops and users.

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