Fully-Managed vs. Co-managed IT: Why Flexibility Should be Key When Working with an MSP
The way we do business has completely transformed from five years ago. Your business is now heavily reliant on technology to operate efficiently, stay competitive, and serve your customers well.
As an IT leader, that means you have a mountain of expectations on your shoulders. You need to somehow accelerate digital transformation while dealing with a tight talent market, rising ransomware attacks, and keeping your teams connected no matter where they work from (among other things).
Many business leaders decide that working with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is the solution their business needs. But the traditional MSP model is not the solution that some businesses actually need. While we all hate to hear “it depends,” it really does depend on your situation, or it should! Sometimes, you have certain skills and capabilities in-house, but not others. The “all-or-nothing" approach doesn’t fit every business.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can get the full benefit and value from your Managed IT partner, and why flexibility SHOULD be key when working with an MSP.
Managed IT Services vs Co-managed IT Services
It's not a matter of choosing between a good option or a bad option when it comes to fully-managed IT or co-managed IT, it all depends on what your business needs. Here’s a quick comparison of the two offerings:
Managed IT: The biggest benefit to fully Managed IT services is that it gives organizations that don’t have an internal IT department, or ones that have limited IT resources, a way to outsource key tasks or responsibilities to a partner. This has proven to be very cost efficient and allowed organizations to scale their businesses without needing to invest time into hiring, onboarding, and training employees. A fully managed IT partner will provide the foundational IT your company needs. Things like M365 licensing, security monitoring and maintenance, desktop support, and more.
Co-Managed IT: With co-managed IT services, the MSP acts more as an extension of your in-house team, where you can leverage their large team of experts to bridge any gaps in knowledge, resources, or capacity. Think of it more like an “ala carte” menu. It can include general hardware and software maintenance, beefing up your cybersecurity measures, data backup and recovery, or even just helping you build a modern workplace so you can serve your customers better. At the end of the day, you’re working with a “bench” of experts that handle the ongoing IT support tasks that you don’t want to manage in-house.
Why Flexibility is Key When Working with an MSP
At InsITe, we are dedicated to improving lives through technology because technology is more meaningful and impactful when it improves business, improves lives, and creates new successes. The only way to do that is by starting with an understanding of your business and your approach so that we can work with you in the most effective way. An MSP that offers a cookie-cutter solution does not take the time to understand your challenges.
Over the years, we’ve learned that there are eight key benefits to working with a flexible MSP:
Ideally, an MSP tailors their services to your business needs instead of long-term contracts with a generic list of IT services.
If you can find an MSP that offers it, look for flexible month-to-month plans that provide just the right level of support for your business without unnecessary extra services you don’t need. These contracts mean you also have the ability to slow things down if you don’t need additional support. Another great benefit to month-to-month contracts is that you’ll know the MSP will put their best effort to earn your business every month. And as your needs evolve along the way — your IT support can scale with you.
Avoiding the employee carousel
Since the pandemic, there’s been a high demand for IT specialists. The problem is, they are highly unlikely to stay at a company beyond a year or two. According to a study by Gartner, less than a third of IT workers had a high intent to stay with their employers.
With a flexible MSP, you can expand (or retract) your team on demand. MSPs have whole teams that specialize in different areas of IT, instead of just a single person. This can help you avoid costly employee turnover and gives you the confidence that you always have the team you need.
Cybersecurity and Compliance Expertise
With the rise of cyber threats and data breaches, having a strong IT security strategy is crucial for every business — big and small. MSPs not only help set up preventative measures, firewalls, anti-virus software, and data encryption to help businesses stay protected — they also work to establish effective backup and recovery strategies as well.
MSPs also provide the expertise and resources needed to help you meet compliance requirements so you can stay up to date with regulations, protect sensitive data, maintain trust, and avoid potential penalties. Depending on your industry, this can be crucial to business success. And the security threats continue to evlove and grow every day. Depending on your in-house capabilities; this can be a real challenge to keep up with!
IT Hardware Purchasing and Management
MSPs have relationships with vendors and can help source any hardware or software at an affordable price. This is especially true of Microsoft Gold Partners. Purchasing your technology products through an MSP allows them to manage the whole process — saving you and your team all the hassle, minimizing downtime, and ensuring you have the best product for your needs.
Managing a Modern Workplace
Hybrid work may be the new normal. But it has made it increasingly difficult for your IT department to manage. Partnering with an MSP can help you build a modern workplace that is focused on three things: collaboration, automation, and productivity. This includes cloud-based productivity tools like Microsoft 365 or collaboration technologies like Microsoft Teams to empower your mobile workforce, wherever they are.
A flexible MSP will have a team that is focused on understanding and improving your business processes with automation.
Whatever business you’re in, productivity and efficiency are key drivers of success, and downtime is the enemy. An MSP will allow you to outsource time-consuming and technical work, freeing you up to work on higher-priority tasks. And with your MSP consistently monitoring and maintaining potential issues before they occur, it means you are ready to react if something does arise.
In-house teams are often understaffed and overworked. According to Spiceworks Ziff Davis, 72% of technology professionals say the shift to remote work increased their workload. They had to quickly pivot and learn how best to support a new “work model” that came with increased security risks, and companies had to invest thousands of dollars for that training. If your in-house department is feeling stretched thin, how can you expect them to help the rest of the company work more efficiently?
Scaling your company takes a lot of planning, investment, and execution, which MSPs are perfectly positioned to do. They can customize solutions based on your business needs and therefore can easily help you scale up or down as the business grows or changes.
Maintain control over the IT strategy
One of the main benefits of outsoucing some or all of your IT needs is that the MSP is there to support your IT team and your IT strategy. They should be there to work with your team and not takeover. This means you are able to maintain control of the strategies you created to help you scale, and your MSP is there to support you with the execution of this plan.
Is Your MSP Really Flexible?
In today's fast-paced business environment, agility is key. An MSP that is flexible can quickly respond to changes in technology or business needs, providing businesses with the support they need to stay competitive.
Start by asking your current MSP how flexible they are with their services. Do they offer month-to-month pricing? Do they have an experienced IT team with a range of specialties to support you as your business grows? What is their process for checking in with you to ensure that you are up-to-date on the latest in technology and that you aren’t heading in a new direction since your last conversation?
If the only constant is change, it makes sense that your business and technology would also need to change constantly. One size does not fit all when it comes to creating and executing upon a strategic technology plan that supports your foundational and current needs, and also is architected in a way that allows for quick and efficient growth.
At InsITe, we deliver proactive strategies and responsive support so you can better serve your employees and customers, stay ahead of your competition, and raise the bar as a leader in your industry. We believe the most effective technology roadmaps turn “technology cost” into “technology investment” by balancing both Foundational and Innovative investments. Our goal is to create a balanced plan that optimizes your investment over time. Interested in a different way? Let’s chat.
ABOUT INSITE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS:
InsITe helps businesses and manufacturing companies get the most out of current and emerging technologies with a customized IT approach to maximize growth, efficiency, insights, and productivity. InsITe is not a typical IT company selling products for short-term, short-sighted fixes. We invest in long-term solutions for a company’s growth by taking the time to learn its products, process, and business goals before bringing tech into the conversation. In this way, we become much like our Clients’ very own internal IT department with familiar faces who understand the business.
If you have any questions about this post please leave a comment. We read and respond to all comments. Or better yet, give us a call and ask to talk directly to our Founder and CEO Mike Schipper 616-383-9000.